The last 10 weeks of semestral break gave 28 journalism and communication arts students from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) and University of the Philippines Baguio (UP-Baguio) experiences they will hardly forget.
It was a time well spent in rigorous journalism training at The Manila Times College (TMTC) paired with intensive fieldwork and news writing for The Manila Times.
At first, most of the students simply wanted to complete 200 hours of internship as part of a course requirement. But as weeks went by, several of them enjoyed mingling with journalists in the news beats and doing the work of a professional.
In their course assessment, the students learned the techniques in basic news and feature writing to prepare them for a job in the news media once they finish their course.
The students hurdled an extensive on-the-job training course with combined lectures, workshop activities, and coverage of different news beats. Their stories were published in The Manila Times, the country’s oldest newspaper.
The students will be honored on Monday in simple graduation rites at the TMTC training room. They will be awarded Certificates of Completion and membership to the Society of Philippine Journalists (SPJ), an exclusive organization of ethical, effective, energetic, and empowered writers.
Dante “Klink” Ang 2nd, president, chief executive officer and executive editor of The Manila Times, will deliver an inspirational message to the aspiring journalists.
“We call this course Journalism Plus because it is not just an OJT course in journalism, a course in writing and reporting, and a course in the proper use of language, but it is also a kind of retreat, a refresher course in self-discipline, resourcefulness, ethics, and citizenship,” explained Dr. Isagani R. Cruz, TMTC president.
The Journalism Plus program offers a unique combination of schoolwork and actual coverage of news beats. It is also intended to provide them an opportunity to gain real-life work experience, and to prepare them for a career in journalism.
It is an internship program designed to nurture the writing skills of aspiring journalists and to inculcate in them the values of self-discipline, improve their self-confidence, and hone their journalistic skills through various exercises, both written and spoken.
“About a decade ago, we set out on a mission to establish an educational institution that would provide aspiring journalists hands-on training to complement their academic undertakings. A few years later, The Manila Times College operated under the vision to produce competent journalists who subscribe not only to the highest professional standards but also to the loftiest ethical practice. The program marks the extension of that vision,” said Dr. Dante A. Ang, chairman emeritus of The Manila Times.
Professionals with long experiences in their own fields spent time sharing principles, techniques, and tips to the interns. Tita C. Valderama, TMTC’s OJT coordinator, gave the students refresher lectures on grammar, news writing, cultivating news sources, and journalism ethics, editing and proofreading, and interviewing techniques.
The Manila Times Sports editor Perry Mallari shared tips on sports writing, while TV5 senior news manager Vicky Robles gave a comprehensive lecture on covering, reporting, and editing for the broadcast media.
Freelance writer Ibarra C. Mateo delved on how news features differ from in comparison with writing straight news and literary pieces while photographer Melyn Acosta-Santacera taught basic photojournalism rules and techniques.
Private lawyer Siddharta S. Peñaredondo 3rd reminded the students about the rights and responsibilities of journalists, as he talked about the pitfalls of libel and plagiarism, and how to avoid getting sued.
Here are some of the encouraging feedbacks from the students:
“Before starting this internship, I wanted to improve my communication, writing and socializing skills. After the internship, I realized that I have really improved.”
— Karen Bernadette C. Wang
“I experienced real journalism work during this OJT Plus program. By real journalism work I mean that it is a journalist’s own effort to find his stories and data and not depend on what the news desk offers. I was also refreshed on all the basic styles and techniques in writing. I also gained sufficient knowledge to better my skills. This OJT program has broadened not only my knowledge but also my character as a journalist and made me more prepared if I decide to pursue this field. It gave me a network of connections in different government agencies and informants. Although there are some lapses, I would rate the program as good because it has shown me how journalism in the real world is done and it has prepared me to be a real watchdog of the truth.”
— John Paul P. Domingo