Crossroads: Student journalists and their dreams

WRITTEN BY: EDITORS ON OCTOBER 7, 2012 ONE COMMENT By MARY LOU MARIGZA I like to thank my lucky stars for the opportunity I had last Sunday (September 30) of going to Santol, La Union and meeting student journalists of La Union and Ilocos Sur. These are budding campus penholders (or should I say computer pounders?) who are wielding an instrument mightier than a sword, shaping campus debate and bringing honor to their schools and families. The College Editors Guild Region 1 holds a yearly Ammoyo for these campus journalists honing them in the skills and techniques of the trade. Many of our present crop of media practitioners came from such young idealists and some of our leaders came from that great tradition of excellence, grit, perseverance and playful tumbling of words and paragraphs and images. My own interest in this trade comes from that tradition from my high school and college newspapers where I participated with gusto. And sharing to the students how we had to use the then modern minipress – the mimeographing machine (ano po ang mimeograph? Generation gap talaga!) for college press releases and protest letters. And that experience was before and after the declaration of Martial Law. The CEGP is keeping the ink running for reminding our students of those dark years of our history that should never be repeated – ever again. The classroom discussion I handled was on Editorial writing. The group was a mix of high school and college writers. Some in that group started as elementary writers, quite articulate and have the passion for writing. Good, because in this age we need more articulate young people who know what they want and are willing to study and refine their passion for writing. The high school students showed they had the preparation although a bit shy compared with the college ones. They were bilingual but sadly their schools do not have Iloko sections or Iloko papers not even in the literary section. Baka mabalin met nga iproyekto ti CEGP a maaddaan ti panid nga Iloko dagiti campus papers. Sayang met no awan ti tumaud a baro a Bukaneg ken Laconsay gapu ta napaidaman dagiti ubbing ti panagsanay iti lengguahe ni inada. After showing a few samples of opinion pages, the students prepared an editorial on the K12 and how it affects them. The exercise also called for them to put a title to their opinion piece. After which they participated in critiquing each other’s writing. Some wrote in Pilipino, some wrote in English. After the critiquing they asked some questions and I in turn asked some questions. Surprise revelation: Our young people hardly read the newspapers anymore. SAD. Our young people seldom have time to watch local news on TV but would have time to play computer games and FB (not a surprise) since their load in school prevents them from having more time for something else. (Aside: That is why I am so against many assignments especially for elementary and high school. Elementary especially. Childhood should have childhood activities not slaving over all-subjects assignments. I studied because I loved reading not because I was forced to read because of an assignment. I hardly have space in my room because of books, even my bed is made of books. Maybe, if only maybe our educational system were not so mangled and irrelevant to character formation we could have that discipline of study again. But then we are again imposing K12 on our children. Anya ngay ngarud ti maadal dan? I am fortunate that my nieces love to read, our books are dog eared and have been read and reread. Most times now I borrow their books because I hardly have time to go to a bookstore. The reading circle goes on and on if we cultivate the love for books and reading.) One student said he would only go to the library to read the newspaper if he has an assignment about the news. Otherwise, they would not read one. I failed to ask what and how many newspapers their school subscribe to. In this age of YouTube, our students are bombarded with visual and audio stimulation. We need to make our presentations relevant and make them excited to pick up pen (or computer) and write. We have had many student interns at NORDIS but only a few have continued to become journalists. Media work is difficult – deadlines, deadlines, writer’s block, no story to write or rather should-I-write this news about this trapo making promises or not fulfilling promises, thatsortofthing. Ta narigat nga agpayso a mairusok ti samsampitawen dagitoy a trapo no kua. Di narigrigat pay nga isurat, di met? I was also glad that in the classroom discussion, two Engineering students were there. Who knows we would have engineer journalists one of these days from Ilocos. Some schools also sent their advisers with the students (hopefully not as censors but as fellow students with their students). The place where they held Ammoyo 2012 was a paradise of trees and flowers, they even have a swimming pool and fish ponds. Again my thanks to CEGP Ilocos for the invitation. I gained a new perspective, saw how some of the youth respond to hot issues, inspired that many young people are taking up writing even if it is not their course, hopeful that we would have a new crop of writers who love their craft. Welcome to the club. Mabuhay kayo. #


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