They may not be planning careers in mass media—at least not everyone is—but 55 high school students in Metro Manila willingly gave up a Friday to learn more about how professional journalists do what they do.
The students, who have taken over the helm of their respective campus papers for school year 2013-14, participated in a daylong workshop jointly organized by the National Capital Region Secondary Editors Guild (NCRSEG) and Inquirer in Education.
It was actually the second journalism workshop jointly undertaken by the NCRSEG and the Inquirer, with the support of the marketing team (take a bow, Chito San Mateo, Mai Reyes, Lendy Rabago and Adrian Gervacio).
As guild adviser Ayla B. Urrea explained, the workshop aimed to strengthen the writing and editing skills of the new editors in chief, expose them to actual broadsheet production and enhance their leadership qualities as they manage their editorial staff composed of fellow students.
Much of the day was given to lectures on feature writing, copyreading and headline writing and photography.
An on-the-spot feature writing contest was conducted in both English and Filipino, the languages used by campus papers.
The winners in English were John Poliquit, Western Bicutan National High School, Taguig City; Maxine Liezelle Villava, Makati High School, Makati City; and Kenneth Adrian R. Areniego, Taguig Science High School, Taguig City. The winners in Filipino were Michelle Managbanag, Rizal High School, Pasig City; Krislyn Laranang, Parañaque National High School, Parañaque City; and Anne A. Obello, Tala High School, Caloocan City.
For the copyreading and headline writing session, participants were also given exercises in both English and Filipino to see how well they could spot both factual and grammatical errors.
The students turned out to be more knowledgeable than some professionals, confidently stating, for instance, that Wales was the place and whales were ocean-dwelling mammals.
Award-winning shots by Edwin Bacasmas, Inquirer photo section OIC, elicited oohs and aahs.
The students ended their day with a quick tour of the Inquirer printing plant courtesy of corporate affairs associate Bianca Kasilag. They got to see how the next day’s news is printed and prepared for distribution to subscribers throughout the country.
The willingness and eagerness of the students to learn more about journalism showed that these campus journalists took their new responsibilities seriously and were committed to doing the best they could.
Following the successful session with the students, NCR school paper advisers are planning their own seminar-workshop with the Inquirer team to hone their skills in guiding their young wards, particularly in producing school papers with good and accurate reporting as well as appealing layout.
Of course, winning at the annual National Schools Press Conference is not too far a goal.
PHOTOS BY EUGENE ARANETA