Learning from top-class

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

IT GIVES me the jitters upon learning that I was short-listed for a newsgathering training: sensible national journalism experience is close to grabbing.

That means, my three-year stint in local TV programs in Bacolod will be tested. This time, I can say it’s “the real thing.”

From script writing to voicing, I know I will learn from the best, and probably with the strictest. One thing is certain among the many uncertainties in my heart—I will learn it the hard way, an experience of a lifetime.


And so came the day, from our old family condo unit in the outskirts of Pasay, to the long bus rides passing the metropolitan heat, I was brushed by the heavy smoke-belching machines toward Quezon City.

I know where I was heading, my life’s dream, and to my left, so close and within reach, it’s the towering ABS-CBN building.

“Saan po kayo?” the usual greetings of gatekeepers to not so familiar faces. I flashed my ID and tapped the magnetic strip to access. Bernadette Sembrano, fresh from her morning show was humming towards me.

While waiting for my turn, I was seated behind Doris Bigornia. Oh, how I wish to get a shameless shot of myself beside a top-class!

I was seated for 10 minutes. And it was a good show: Atom Araullo getting his desk assignments; Pinky Webb finishing her news briefs; a wave from fellow Negrense Alvin Elchico; Ging Reyes meeting desk officers; Korina Sanchez dropping by before her location shoot; Kabayan Noli de Casto hurrying to catch his radio slot; Gus Abelgas checking scripts on what else, but crime gores; and entertainment reporters Ginger Conejero, Marie Lozano and Gretchen Fullido doing their daily grind of the showbiz controversies.

“You will be paired with our ace reporter,” a top rank executive divulged. “Thank you for the opportunity,” I quickly replied.

“You will be trained first hard. Whatever we do here, you will do also. You will comeback in Bacolod as a better journalist or wherever you will be after,” he said further.

These words affirmed my belief that taking risks is part of life. I may have left a guaranteed, laid back, and charming life in the province, but sooner I’ll be back, better and brighter.

“Here he is, the famous Doland Castro…”

It came as a surprise. I thought my pair would be a newbie or “fresh hires” from the provincial stations. Fortunately, it’s Doland---hardcore police reporter, “exclusive story” hunter,” a significant face that made national news TV his playground.

Daily, our routine included Camp Karingal, press conferences and case presentations in Krame, and rounds in all police stations in Quezon City, Navotas, Valenzuela, and Malabon. Significantly, a day would always be complemented with light moments in the newly opened “Dolandos,” his panciteria in Valenzuela and afternoon buko delights in Quezon Memorial Circle.

I can’t hold and think back. In Bacolod, I and my cameraman are a two-man team—driver, reporter, writer, tech man and cameraman rolled in one.

This time, it’s a complete package. A patrol car complete with all you need: sets of microphones, high-end cameras, location players, technical assistants, expert cameramen among many supports.

Not to note, an OB Van follows for possible live feed. In short, “this is how things should be done.”

In other days, we find ourselves in boring cases of petty crimes not earning a spot in the newscast. But mostly, Doland’s expertise in digging up for primetime worthy block would lead us to exclusive reports of rape cases, murder, incest, high-rated crimes and human interest stories. We struggle to get it first and air it first. In media, “Whoever airs it first is KING.”

Doland, the man I used to imitate as a young child while watching then “Junior Patrol,” is now a close friend, apart from being a champion mentor. He made me realized that while media is also show business with all its glitz, it is not however, glamorous.

We check on the dead bodies of victims, we sleep over crime scenes and eat wherever our feet land on. It is where golden stories are found—the poor and the oppressed and the drama that translates to ratings.

The contract was as swift as a 30-second commercial plug. But as in TV, every second of quality program or information delivered is eternal. What strikes the heart stays in the heart.

Armed with an increased passion for worthwhile storytelling and technical TV writing skill, I found myself back in Bacolod, excited of what life has planned for me. Good or otherwise, it’s always like a TV show, when a program ends, we wait for the succeeding show to begin. Now, turn the TV on! (Adrian Bobe)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 18, 2014.


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