20th Inkblots highlights relevance of campus press

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Manila-based Thomson Reuters correspondent and 2018 Pulitzer Prize awardee for international reporting Manuel Mogato delivers the keynote address in the 20th Inkblots at the Benavides auditorium. (Photo by Jazmin D. Tabuena/The Varsitarian)

TOP MEDIA practitioners stressed the importance of campus journalism in honing journalists amid threats to the press freedom at the opening of the 20th Inkblots, the annual UST national campus journalism fellowship on Dec. 4.

Manuel Mogato, Manila-based Thomson Reuters correspondent and 2018 Pulitzer Prize awardee for international reporting, cited tremendous developments in the field of journalism, but said the challenges faced by campus journalists remain the same.

“Journalism is at its purest in the campuses. Journalism is practiced in the school papers without vested interests and influence. Please protect, preserve and promote campus journalism,” Mogato said in his keynote address which kicked off the first day of the three-day conference organized by the Varsitarian, the 90-year-old official student publication of the University of Santo Tomas.

KikoMachine Komix creator Manix Abrera urged Inkblots fellows to be observant of their environment to find the “perfect balance” between form and content in telling stories through their craft.

“Kapag natutuhan mo na ang basics, huwag tumigil sa pag-explore ng mga panibagong styles at techniques,” Abrera said. “Stories are all around you, nasa sa iyo kung paano mo siya ikukwento.”

Philippine Star news reporter Alexis Romero discussed the importance of learning the basics of news writing as a way to counter the problems that media face.

“To learn the basics is a way for us to maintain our relevance in the production of information,” Romero said.

 “The purpose of journalism is to inform the public to help them make informed decisions,” he said.

Lawyer and former Varsitarian managing editor Teodoro Lorenzo Fernandez emphasized the importance of editorial independence in school publications, citing the Campus Journalism Act of 1991 that protects the freedom of press at the campus level.

“Student publications, [in] so far as our law is concerned, should be independent or free from external control. Campus paper management is a shared responsibility among the staffers, the editorial board and the advisers” said Fernandez.

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