The Iron Maiden

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Thursday, January 16, 2014


I HAVE had my share of really good ones and...

Some are downright lazy. The others are just downright ghastly.


The other local publications, I believe, feel bad turning down interns. I feel bad especially since internship is a requisite to these students’ long desired “graduation” into the bigger world.

But how do you expect editors to feel or decide when an applicant submits an essay, and after correcting it, is chock-full with red ink?

Not good.

Sometimes I could not help but think English as a subject, and writing for that matter, has become second fiddle to the technical or production side of the profession. When asked, my interns said they took up the basics of news and features writing in sophomore year.

The basics of writing and developing individual styles have to be instilled in our students again and again and again. I do not understand how these students take up Mass Communications and not have a good command of the language yet expecting to be taken in by an English publication.

Then there are interns who have their hands full, taking up on-the-job trainings in print, TV and radio all at the same time. Which medium suffers?

Print, of course. Because for some reason, print seems to be the most unglamorous of the three.

What I keep instilling in these students is a deeper appreciation of newspapering. This is not a job for the lazy. Nor is it a job for the one who seeks fame, wanting to be a household name. No offense meant for the “news readers” (commonly known as your “news anchors”) but without solid writing, well… you don’t really have something to build your career on, do you?

And what I keep telling these students is that I am not an English teacher. I could teach English if my life depended on it, but no, it is not my job to teach interns this.

On the other hand, there are interns who come here and are ready.

My (yes, I consider them mine) 2012 summer interns from the Mariano Marcos State University and Colegio de Dagupan came here ready. By ready I mean they had the writing chops, the perseverance to look for stories and the willingness to sit by the editor, taking in the lessons we had to impart.

This was repeated last year, same schools, where I found two budding cartoonists as well.

Our reporter JM Agreda was my intern. The lad, right from the very beginning, had the promise of becoming a respectable journalist.

Mark Victor Pasagoy, our new sports reporter, was my summer intern last year. Again, it was clear from the very beginning he had promise and it only had to take guidance to push him to excel and finished his internship in no time at all.

Both, I must say, are graduates of the University of the Cordilleras.

Roderick Osis, our managing editor, had his former intern in mind when we were scouting for a reporter to take over his sports beat.

His intern did not follow through and Mark was the second person I had in mind.

See, it’s not all that bad really. But it could get better.

I suggest for the advisers to meet with the editor of their intended publication and talk about what the paper needs. Different folks, different strokes.

Some interns may thrive in Sun.Star but won’t in others and vice versa.

And then discuss the requirements for these interns to satisfactorily fulfill their end of the bargain.

Let’s help our students. Let’s help our schools and let’s help the newspapering industry in the city.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 17, 2014.


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