By Ramon Jorge Sarabosing
NSPC stands for National Secondary Press Conference. It is a gathering (and competition)of high-school and elementary student journalists from all over the country. It is hold annually and run by the Department of Education (DepEd).
I was asked to join the select group of judges from Manila and Mindanao. Without hesitation I joined the Caraga region and Cagayan de Oro based group to Pagadian city, Zamboanga del Sur.
With me were Omar Arellano (editorial cartooning), Richard Apristo (radio broadcasting),Jack Alingasa, Jr. ( photojournalism), Tess superioridad Baluyos (Science and Technology writing) Orwin Austria (news writing)and Victor Oriencia (photojornalism). I was assigned feature writing.
Flashback: A week before, I told the feature writer-delegates of the region that it was my dream a long time ago to join the conference when I was the literary editor of the high-school paper then.
But I never made it, maybe because our adviser didn’t think I was good enough. But here I am now,not competing, but judging. I guess because I never stop reading and writing and loving my job.
The conference began with broadcast journalist Malou Mangahas as keynote speaker. (Maria Ressa was a guest too). Then followed with the day-long contest proper. We (judges) got to work late afternoon till evening.
From feature writing I was transferred to news writing with me were two journalists from Manila. We “plowed” a hundred news story, 54 in English and another 54 in Filipino.
Whose “old” eyes would not hurt? I ended up wishing I was a competitor.(But too late of course.)
The news story was about what Malou said in her speech. While resting my eyes now and then, i had fun assessing the young reporters attack on Malou’s talk.
It would take two days after when the results will be known so the delegates of 5,000 content themselves with interaction, lectures and tours.
We (judges who chose to stay behind) explored the city’s interesting sights or bond with new-found colleagues. One curios sidelight was the crowd of supporters,friends and parents milling at the gate of the venue as a show of support to the competing delegates.
“Mura’g Bar exam nu?” (like the Bar exam) One observer noted.
A delegate told me she’s both excited and nervous “but mostly excited because I think I am prepared, having read the newspapers the whole time prior to this.”
The lectures of Jack Alingasa, Jr , a veteran photojournalism instructor/consultant ,on “Governance and environment-Tourism unified program: transcending campus to community journalism” and Almer M Alfonso, MD, on” Environment advocacy as campus journalism sustainability program” were ground-breaking and inspiring.
The young audience and teacher-advisers with their warm response, clearly relished the topics.
The conference, not just for me who once aspired to be part of it but for all was worth the trip-and much more.
Photos Omar Arellano