VETERAN media practitioners urged aspiring journalists to help preserve freedoms fought for and won by those who came ahead of them, at the opening of the 19th Inkblots, the UST National Campus Journalism Fellowship, last Dec. 9.
“There is so much freedom now yet it is being taken for granted and abused. Why are so many people now willing to surrender some of these freedoms?” broadcast journalist Ed Lingao said in his keynote speech that kicked off the first day of the three-day conference organized by the Varsitarian.
Amid threats to these freedoms, the former Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism multimedia director said people should fight to keep them.
“People died so that you can enjoy these freedoms… Do not surrender the public space to those who refuse to use their brains or their hearts,” he told more than 200 Inkblots “fellows” at the Benavides Auditorium of UST Junior High.
Lingao advised campus journalists to read the news regularly and not to make the mistake of writing uninformed opinions.
“Now more than ever, we need good journalism—to flush out fake news, to clear and clarify the issues,” he said.
‘No story worth dying for’
Jim Gomez, Associated Press (AP) Manila chief correspondent, said journalists should have common sense and a strong mind when covering war and conflict. But no story is worth dying for, he said.
“If you will not use common sense, delikado. While your coverages may earn you awards, no story is still worth dying for,” Gomez said.
Aaron Favila, a Manila-based photographer of the AP, echoed Gomez’s sentiments, saying photojournalists should always have an exit plan when covering conflict-stricken areas.
Former Philippine Daily Inquirer art and design director Lynett Villariba talked about the evolution of newspaper layouting through the years in the last session of the first day of the fellowship.
“News is dynamic. You don’t know that you are going to get the same news tomorrow…when you lay it out so well, verify it as authentic and give it the context it deserves,” Villariba said.