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Why We Should Not Let Press Conferences Dictate Our Identity

When I was young, I was mesmerized by the "talking" box called television. Every 6:30 in the evening, I always sit in front of our 14" TV and tune in to the newscast of TV Patrol. It has gone a lot of changes through the years. We have seen the changes in its logo, sound bed, name, and even hosts. This show has defined not just my childhood, but also my identity.
Who would have thought that a seven-year-old child will be hooked up to just watching to an hour and a half newcast of people standing and talking? I do not really know. These people have molded the person that I am now. Their news broadcasts and tone is soothing to my ears. Their postures just pleasing to my eyes. Maybe I am just crazy when I was a child?

This is the reason why I was really excited when my English teacher in high school approached me and asked if I could be one of our school's sports writer for the upcoming Area Schools Press Conference (SPC) that year. I consider myself nerdy, not sporty. I was having a lot of time understanding the dynamics of sports writing at that time. In fact, it was also tough because there were a limited number of Filipino sports articles on the internet during that time. My teacher saw my struggles. He transferred me to the radio broadcasting team, and the rest is just history.

We were the pioneers of radio broadcasting in our school. When we joined (I don't know is it is just some sort of beginners' luck), we were the champions in the competition's area level. When we stepped up and joined the division level, we ranked 2nd place considering the number of schools that participated. For the neophyte media person in me, I just felt so ecstatic. Who would have thought that I, a frustrated sports writer and the youngest in the radio broadcasting group, would be successful in my first year of trying?

After three more years of continuously trying, I was always stuck in the division level. I never had the chance to compete in the most coveted National SPC where the best campus journalists all over the country meet and try to be the leaders in their respective fields. After I lost in my final year, I promised myself that I will take mass communication for me to hone my craft. I just want to know more than what I know. I wish to be better not only in broadcasting but also in writing.

After my college graduation, I was able to work as a teacher in a university, and I was pleased to share all my knowledge to staffers of the student's publication. They are just so excited to learn some new stuff, just like me when I was young. They drive me to continue what I was doing. I never felt this satisfaction before. It really feels good to transfer my knowledge to my students.

The Farm staffers and I

It was very unfortunate that I was not able to join the higher level of this competition, but I will not be ashamed. I believe that this competition should not dictate the type of campus journalist that we are. What matters most are the things that we will do after the competition. Did we use our writings to influence our readers? Did we use our broadcasts to change their behaviors? Did we use our campus papers in leading them towards the right path? Were we able to share knowledge with those who badly need them?

Sometimes, I feel so little when my college classmates before share that they reached the National SPC and won. Was I really that bad in writing before? Then I realized that I will not let this defeat define who I am. I will share my knowledge with my alma mater so that they will not experience what I experienced. Thankfully, my efforts were not put to waste. I was able to produce a national qualifier in Photojournalism and Editorial Writing a few years back. As a campus journalist, no medal or recognition was able to equate the feelings that I had when I stepped with my kids in the podium.

Regional SPC in Bayawan (December 2014)

I know that a lot of campus journalists will be reading this blog post (thank you, by the way). I just want to say this: we should not let defeat define us as a writer. These competitions do not define our identity. If one is a national winner, then good. Congratulations. But please, we should not think that we will always be on top because we just won. To be honest (and sorry to burst the bubble), our high school achievements will not really matter in our job applications. This does not mean that we should stop writing. We should always continue writing. Let's keep writing until hands could not write anymore. This is just the only way to improve our crafts.

The National SPC is fast approaching, and I just want to say good luck, and God bless to all campus journalists and school paper advisers who will be competing next week in Dumaguete City. I hope they will be able to remember that true essence of the competition. Aja!


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