The scholastic media community welcomes the resumption of the National Schools Press Conference of the Department of Education following a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus.
The 2023 NSPC will be hosted by Region 10 in Cagayan de Oro City on July 17-21. This year’s NSPC theme is “From Campus Journalism to Real-World Journalism: Shaping Minds from Schools to Societies.”
Information on the 2023 NSPC is contained in a DepEd memorandum issued on April 20.
The NSPC has served as a breeding ground not only of future journalists but also of government and civic leaders.
I have had a number of opportunities to become part of the NSPC as a speaker and judge in copyediting and headline writing as well as photojournalism in conferences held in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
I also had the chance to train NSPC-bound contestants not only from Negros Occidental and Western Visayas but also from a number of other regions throughout the country.
The annual event holds competitions among regional winners – both in secondary and elementary levels in English and Filipino categories.
The events include individual writing and skills and group contests, which cover four competitions – radio news scriptwriting and broadcasting, collaborative desktop publishing, online publishing and television scriptwriting and broadcasting.
Nine individual events are lined up – news, feature, editorial, column, sports and science and technology writing – as well as copyreading and headline writing, editorial cartooning and photojournalism.
NSPC also recognizes outstanding publications and school paper advisers.
It is an honor for campus journalists to compete in the NSPC but, like in the Palarong Pambansa, they first have to hurdle the local (district and divisional) and regional qualifying competitions.
This year, only the top regional winner in each individual and group contest will advance to the NSPC, unlike in past stagings when seven qualifiers advanced to the national contest.
I am also glad to still be of help in the Division of Negros Occidental Press Conference scheduled on May 20 and 27.
Through the years, I have assisted in managing the local qualifying contests, a privilege I have enjoyed along with that of the Philippine Information Agency, where I was part of the team that pioneered the now more than four-decade-old regional campus journalism program.
Where did this passionate media interest come from? I’d say from exposure to newspaper reading in grade school days to my experiences as high school and university publication editor.
When I was interviewed for a journalism graduate fellowship grant in my youthful years, I was asked by the panel two important questions: why I wanted to earn a masteral degree and whether I would return from my training abroad.
Answering the first question, I shared with the panel my frustration in pursuing journalism education in college as there was no institution in the region then that offered journalism studies.
I convinced them that I would return to help build a strong journalism program for young people in the region and that includes continuing journalism education for editors and school paper advisers. I did fulfill those ‘promises’ by handling journalism courses in six universities in Negros and Iloilo and persistently helping in local, regional and national school-based journalism programs.
The NSPC and its lower-level gatherings as well as the PIA information, communication and writing programs, in addition to my actual newsroom editing and reporting functions through the years, have been a great and indelible part of my professional “journeylism”.
This journey has offered a great sense of fulfillment and satisfaction as it has provided invaluable opportunities in information dissemination and helped shaped readers’ perspective in issues affecting their lives.
The sense of fulfilment is heightened by what a school paper adviser, who searched for me in the DSPC crowd to tell me: “Thank you for helping us through the years. You always make us learn and re-learn journalism.”
Indeed, the school paper’s role in one’s professional and community life, especially in the context of this year’s NSPC theme, cannot be overemphasized.
I should know. I started from there, too.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. (Philippians 4:8) – NWI