PAGADIAN CITY, Philippines – Over 5,100 young journalists from all over the country gathered on Sunday, January 22, in Pagadian City to reject the spread of fake news at the opening of the National Schools Press Conference 2017 or #NSPC2017.
Reciting the longer version of “The Journalist Creed,” the NSPC delegates who came from the country’s 18 regions agreed to be “trustees for the public” and to “write only what he holds in his heart to be true.”
It is the first time for the city to host what is dubbed as the “Olympics of Campus Journalism.”
Delegates, together with their coaches and parents, started to arrive in the city as early as January 19, quickly energizing the already bustling city.
This year’s theme is focused on strengthening freedom of information through campus journalism, paralleling the Duterte administration’s early policy on opening information.
The Department of Education organizes the annual press conference to promote campus journalism as mandated by Republic Act 7079 or the Campus Journalism Act of 1991.
Nervous yet proud
Nina Tumarao, an elementary student from Zamboanga City, is one of the many first-timers at NSPC. She’s competing in the Editorial Cartoon contest and she’s nervous. “I still can’t believe I’m an NSPC qualifier. I started from nothing,” she said.
Tumarao is up against stiff competition. The best of the best from each region are here and all are focused on winning the top prizes and bringing home the honor to their region and schools. (READ: ’Sulat girl’: Isang batang Igorot na lalahok sa #NSPC2017)
But Tumarao is confident. “I really believe in myself. Even if I don’t win, I know I did my best. I will make you all proud,” she said.
At the opening ceremony, speaker after speaker extolled the almost 7,000 delegates, school paper advisers, and supporters gathered at the Megayon Stage to follow the truth and do right. (READ: Ang laban ng isang school paper adviser)
Zamboanga del Sur 2nd district Representative Aurora Cerilles challenged the journalists to be “torch bearers to shed light on issues that affect their communities.”
Keynote speaker and PCIJ Executive Director Malou Mangahas said good journalism requires one to “compare, contrast, comprehend, correlate, and critique.”
She reminded those gathered that journalists are held to a “higher standard.” (WATCH: Marites Vitug’s message to all campus journalists)
In the next few days, contestants will put their skills and talents to the test as they compete against each other in several contests ranging from news writing to TV broadcasting. Most teams have spent months practicing and honing their craft.
Some regions come more prepared than others, having better access to experienced coaches and the latest technology. But this has not dampened the hopes of less-equipped regions in getting the top prize as best region overall.
“It may be really hard getting in to NSPC,” said Tumarao.
But she added: “If your passion is to really write, draw, and tell what’s happening, you have a good chance of winning this competition.” – Rappler.com
MovePH, Rappler’s civic engagement arm, in partnership with DepED, will provide full coverage of the NSPC 2017 via the Rappler X platform and on social media.
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