Three years since its last participation of the College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) in 2010, Airwatch, the official College publication of Indiana Aerospace University (IAU), deliberately renewed membership to the oldest and widest alliance of student publications across the country and in the Asia- Pacific.
Two delegates represented IAU: Cherissa Latoja, Editor-in-chief for Publication of Airwatch,and Kathrin Angela Baguio, deputy Editor-in-chief of Insights, the revived Basic Education Publication, during the 73rd National Student Press Convention (NSPC) from April 12 to 16 at the University of San Carlos, Talamban Campus Theater.
With the theme, “Rock the Vote: The Campus Press and Active Youth Participation in the 2013 Elections,’” more than 170 campus journalists from more than 60 publications nationwide attended the CEGP annual press conference.
CEGP President Pauline Gidget Estella described what is to be expected from the NSPC during its orientation on April 12. ‘This convention should serve as a venue for campus journalists to know what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, and how it is done,’said Estella, also the incumbent Editor-in- chief of Philippine Collegian (University of the Philippines- Diliman) in her welcome message.
Young Minds at Work
From April 12 to 15, the delegates participated in fora and discussions facilitated by renowned veteran writers and field professionals. The upcoming 2013 Senatorial Elections, the media and campus journalism, among other issues in Philippine society were discussed. Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) Maria Lourdes Mangahas and BAYAN Public Information Officer Arnold Padilla gave lectures on the role of media in the upcoming midterm polls.
During their “basic masses integration” activity on April 13, student journalists visited urban communities in Pajo and Bangkal in Lapu-Lapu and fishing villages in Talisay to discuss socio-political issues. The delegates also attended lectures and workshops on literature and arts with Palanca awardees Jun Cruz Reyes and Mark Angeles, fliptop artist BLKD and liberal band member Plagpul.
Catalysts for Change
Incumbent Bayan Muna party-list representative and senatorial bet Teddy Casiño encouraged the CEGP delegates to continue playing their historical role as an alternative press to report on crucial issues not published in mainstream dailies nor aired on television networks. ‘It is the role of student journalists to serve as alternative sources of information to the public and catalysts for change,’ the former CEGP president said.
Youth sectoral Kabataan Partylist also challenged the student journalists to be more than advocates for clean and fair elections and should also provide a deeper analysis on the personalities and events of this year’s elections. In a solidarity message, Kabataan stressed that “the challenge of the youth today is to continue its social responsibility in correcting the ills of our present society and eventually changing the dominating system of exploitation and injustice.”
To write is already to choose
As college editors and student journalists, each was given the unique opportunity to shape opinion, elevate public discourse, and influence change not only in their respective campuses but more also throughout the nation. The annual NSPC has become a tool to help student journalists to further hone up their skills and sense of responsibility and consciousness in ushering lasting social reforms. CEGP, in its 81 years as a national center for the advancement of campus press freedom ‘chooses to protect the rights of the common people’ through the principles of critical thinking and pro-people journalism.
Cherissa Latoja, BS AVT III