IN real life, tests come before the lessons, which, at times, are painful. In real life, there are no retakes, no remedial exams.
Eros S. Atalia, a young contemporary writer and professor, shared these words of wisdom with graduates of The Manila Times College (TMTC) during commencement exercises at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) on Saturday afternoon, to warn them of the new chapter in their life as future journalists.
Twenty-two students hurdled TMTC’s Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (AB Journalism) course, 12 of whom comprise the first batch of graduates under the Dual-Degree program with partner colleges and universities, including Baliuag University, Emilio Aguinaldo College and National College of Science and Technology.
Atalia, who is known for injecting humor into his literary works to challenge readers to reflect deeper on the meaning of ordinary situations, reminded the students to keep the lessons they learned in school and to further hone their skills to become good journalists.
“Congratulations dahil kabilang na kayo sa mga magbibigay ng impormasyon at huhubog ng pagpapapasya ng bayan, at kritikal at analitikal na maipaliwanag ang mga pangyayari sa ating panahon gaya ng bakit magkakahiwalay na ang One Direction. Talaga bang may Forever [Congratulations because you are now among those who will give information and shape the people’s decisions, and critically and analytically explain what is happening in our time like why One Direction lost one of its members. Is there really Forever]?” he said, referring to the London-based English-Irish pop boy band that recently held a concert in Manila, and a popular local telenovela.
“Wala kang karapatang magsulat kung ang grammar ay hindi mo master [You have no right to write if you have not mastered grammar],” said Atalia who holds a Bachelor of Secondary Education, major in Filipino from the Philippine Normal University (1996) and a Master of Arts in Language and Literature from the De La Salle University (2008).
Turning serious, Atalia added that they graduates should be able to explain in a critical and analytical way “kung bakit limang dekada nang sinasabi ng mg kapitalista na may-ari ng mga korporasyon ng langis na limang dekada na silang nalulugi pero hanggang ngayon hindi pa rin sila nagsasara [Why have multinational oil companies been claiming for five decades that they have been losing money yet they have not closed shop].”
“Kayo rin ang posibleng tumulong sa ating kababayan na sa sobrang hirap at pagod sa pang-araw-araw na itinakda ng bathala ng kagutuman ay hindi [maintindihan]o matulungan silang umunawa kung ang kinabukasan kung ang RP ba na Republic of the Philippines ay magiging PRC o Philippine Republic of China o possible bang si Bimby na ang susunod na President ng Pilipinas [You can help our countrymen who because hardship and exhaustion decreed by the god of hunger cannot understand or be helped in understanding if RP that is the Republic of the Philippines will become PRC or Philippine Republic of China or is it possible that Bimby will be the next President of the Philippines],” the 40-year-old award-winning writer told the students to further emphasize his message about the role they would soon assume as professional journalists.
Bimby is a son of Kris Aquino, a sister of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
Atalia reminded how dangerous the journalism profession has become: “Lingunin ninyo ang mga kaeskwela ninyo sa kaliwa, sa kanan, sa harap at sa likod kasi ayon sa mga pag-aaral, isa raw ang Pilipinas sa pinakamaraming kaso ng pagpatay sa mga journalists [Studies say the Philippines is one of the countries with the most number of cases involving slain journalists].”
Founded in 2003, TMTC offers a bachelor’s degree in journalism, and is one of the few programs in the country to offer dual-degree diploma to students from partner schools who take up Journalism in the college during the summer as a second course to their current course in their home school.
TMTC President Isagani R. Cruz, a known writer and educator, said the graduates were ready to take on the job of professional journalists after having undergone the dualized training curriculum of TMTC.
“You have worked side by side with veteran journalists of The Manila Times. In many cases, you have worked independently, filing stories the way professional journalists do. You have had first-hand and hands-on experience of the life of professional journalists. We look forward to seeing your bylines in newspaper reports, reading your names on television show credits, hearing your voices on radio shows,” he added.
Dante A. Ang Sr., chairman of TMTC and The Manila Times, recalled: “Twelve years ago, The Manila Times College was founded on the idea that Journalism and Mass Communication can be effectively taught using a modern curriculum that would promote a more hands-on approach in preparing students for the challenging profession of serving our countrymen.”
“The graduation of the 9th batch of The Manila Times College, the first batch to have finished our Dual-Degree Program, and our interns under the Journalism Plus program is the fruition of our dreams and our aspirations,” he said.
TMTC is a subsidiary of The Manila Times, the oldest existing English-language newspaper in the Philippines. The Manila Times is the first media institution in the country to fully support a full-fledged three-year baccalaureate program.
“We have assigned you to special and regular beats to give you first-hand experience of the challenging but rewarding search for newsworthy stories, shaping your writing to succumb to journalistic standards. In addition to fully exposing you to the different forms of journalism whether in the classroom, in the news desk, or in the field, I am confident that this batch of graduates could bring forward a significant change in the industry, and surely in public policy,” Ang said in his message to the graduates.
TMTC also offers a year-round internship program called Journalism Plus, an eight to 10-week course offered to journalism students from other colleges and universities for their on-the-job training (OJT) requirements.
It offers, too, a Foreign Exchange Student Program to students from partner universities across Asia and Europe. Under the program, the students from the partner universities are allowed to take up their 3rd year and 4th year at TMTC.
All subjects taken within the duration of their stay in the college will be credited. This is also applicable to students of TMTC who wish to continue their studies abroad specifically with the partner universities.