THE PPI SCHOLASTIC PRESS ASSOCIATION
Under the auspices of the Freedom Forum Library, the Philippine Press Institute conducted from 1995 to 2000 journalism forums for mass communication and journalism students, one per semester. For whole morning of Saturday, a senior reporter or editor was invited to share his/her experience, insight and expertise as a practicing journalist. It was then called Newsmakers’ Forum and was later on labeled as Journalists’ Forum. Past lecturers include Sheila Coronel, Ricky Lo, Jarius Bondoc, Joy delos Reyes and Ellen Tordesillas. Held at the PPI Office in Intramuros, the lecturette by the guest was usually followed by a freewheeling discussion or interaction between the students and the invited journalist.
Also known as Students’ Forum, it stopped when the Freedom Forum based in Virginia, USA cut a portion of its budget. The absence of the Forum was sorely missed by the schools which frequently sent representatives as part of their class activity. Advisers usually required their students to attend. In fact, queries from other parts of the regions also reached PPI as to how campus publications could become part of the PPI membership. This clearly showed that there is a clamor or demand for training programs from media institutions for students taking up communication courses; and that journalism schools are interested in seminar-workshops to hone their students’ skills, further their knowledge, and prepare them for their future journalism careers. “There are lessons learned out of the four walls of the classroom…and theories can be reinforced further,” said one practicing journalist.
In 2002, the effort of engaging future journalists was discussed and eventually revived as an Outreach Program of both the PPI and the PPC. The aim of teaching journalism and inspiring aspirants has since then carried progressed. It was not limited to schools in Metro Manila. In fact, it became a parallel or attached activity to a particular training program of the Institute when it went to the provinces to conduct its seminars and workshops. The content has been expanded to include ethics, right of reply and media accountability. media critic and veteran editor Vergel Santos, PPI executive director Jose Pavia, Professor Gary Mariano and publisher Isagani Yambot served as resource persons. Places reached were cities of Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Nueva Ecija, Baguio, Gen. Santos and Bacolod. A host school becomes the venue of the seminar and takes charge of inviting other schools at no cost or charge.
What is the Scholastic Press Alliance?
It is a venue for students of journalism, academe and the practicing journalists to share knowledge and expertise on the media industry. (It is in the same token that the Columbia University has its own Scholastic Press Association. It grades or rates campus papers and in so doing recognizes excellence.)
A program under the Philippine Press Institute, the alliance will also have its own membership fees and dues, training programs, awards and citations of best campus publications that will form part of the annual awarding ceremonies of the PPI. It is a separate associate membership component of the Institute per se.
The goal is to engage campus journalists to showcase a high level of achievement and to develop programs that would enrich the skill of young aspiring journalists and campus writers.
Publishers, editors and senior reporters from PPI-member publications will serve as resource persons. Member-schools or member-publications will be free to attend a seminar or a workshop.
What are the objectives of SPA
1. To enhance the skills and widen their knowledge on the media and newsroom innovations.
2. To improve the quality of campus publications
3. To engage campus writers in discussions relating to the media industry
Who can join the organization
All campus publications in secondary and tertiary education can be part of the alliance. Members of the editorial team or staff of member-school papers can be automatically nominated by their advisers to be representatives of a particular training program, forum or any activity that will be conducted by the PPI for the alliance.
Activities of the SPA
3. SPA Media Awards
4. Mentoring/sisterhood pacts with community papers
5. On-the-Job training or hands-on practice
PPI- member publications, regional trustees, local point-persons and scholastic members can propose a training program or activity that the PPI or the proponent can implement.
Membership Dues and Application
In the initial discussion attended by eight schools in Mindanao conducted by the Davao City-based Mindanao Times, the school representatives agreed a one-time membership fee of P2,000.00 for both private and public secondary and tertiary levels, including state-run academic institutions; and an annual fee of P1,000 for public and state-run schools and P2,000.00 for private schools. Upon entry, these schools pay P3,000.00 and P4,000.00, respectively.
A school can have a number of publications as members (a university paper, a college paper and a department paper). Each will have a separate application and payment. An applicant is required to send an application letter (signed by the adviser, department head or dean) to the PPI and copies of issues of the previous year. The PPI Secretariat endorses the application to the regional trustees from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao who will compose the screening committee.
The regional trustee for his part can also campaign for membership and endorse to the PPI prospective members from his region. A regular PPI-member publication can also recommend schools and their publications to be members of the scholastic alliance.
A member is required to send 10 copies of issues regularly to PPI for monitoring, documentation and advisory as soon as a particular issue is published (monthly, quarterly, etc.)
Funding and Collaborative Efforts
Training programs will not be solely organized by the Philippine Press Institute. A member-publication can, as a prerogative, conduct its own activity and engage resource persons from the PPI, provided that it also invites other member-publications. The selection of the venue is up to the host school or host publication. If it decides to conduct its own activity, the host school or its counterpart can solicit sponsorship from well-meaning donors to give assistance to help defray costs of meals/snacks and rental of venue and facilities.
The PPI, in its effort to also professionalize campus publications, will undertake fundraiser to generate funds to be able to organize activities. Regular PPI members can be tapped to propose and implement programs for the scholastic members. As it did in the past, a scholastic activity can be a parallel component to any PPI regular training program in the regions. Local community papers which are members of the PPI can be tapped as resource persons. This is one way of maximizing resources and bringing the program for the students closer to the scholastic members.