It’s that time of the year again, campus reporters and advisers converging on UST for what has arguably become an institution—Inkblots, the annual national campus journalism seminar.

It’s now on its 10th year and judging by the sheer number of participants this year, Inkblots is definitely here to stay.

So why do they keep coming?

Bhenjar Toor, publications adviser of the Quarterly Edition of the Creative Middle School in Las Piñas City, has been a fixture at Inkblots since it was founded in 1999. The 2003 Journalism alumnus is a former president of the UST Journalism Society.

“I was in third year when we were encouraged to attend [Inkblots],” Toor told the Varsitarian. “To show support, we in the Journalism Society assisted in the event.”

However, he did not pursue a journalism career after graduation. Toor took a different turn by teaching Journalism and English subjects in high school instead.

But this Thomasian educator is also a shepherd of sorts who always brings along his “flock” of students to Inkblots every year.

“I see to it that I bring my students to Inkblots because I believe in the Thomasian principles of journalism,” Toor said. “I want them to be exposed (to lessons such as) how journalism is done [for them to] be responsible writers.”

Maria Cequeña, publications adviser of Flambeau of Siena College of Taytay, heard of Inkblots from a colleague seven years ago. She was only joining the company of high school students attending the seminar then until she started bringing along some of her college students.

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Cequeña said that this is already her fourth time to attend Inkblots.

“Inkblots invites professional writers and well-known journalists as speakers credible enough [to deliver lectures],” she said.


Avenue for learning

What comes after the three-day seminar?

Toor organizes his own “Inkblots” in his school, convinced that his wards would learn more and more effectively with continuing practical education.

Cequeña’s gauge for success is on how much her publication improves each time she and her students show up at Inkblots.

“As an adviser, I get to learn the tips on how to write news and feature stories although I’m not a journalism graduate,” she said. “The student editors and I were able to apply the techniques that we learned through editing.”

Jimmy Donton of the Western Philippine University, Palawan agreed. Having attended Inkblots for the second time, the publications adviser of The Tentacles said that the lectures were able to improve the staff’s quality of writing.

“Inkblots was able to give inspiration to the writers,” he said.

Donton added that listening to the veteran writers allowed them to discover new trends in journalism that were not included in the old books about writing.

“We attended this year’s Inkblots to refresh what we know about writing and campus journalism,” he said. By listening to the lecture of Volt Contreras, Donton said he was surprised to learn that elements in feature writing could also be infused into news.

It took 10 years for Inkblots to evolve into the fellowship it is today. But for Toor, it is still very much the same since he first set foot into the seminar.

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“The speakers and the principles regarding journalism basically did not change,” he said. “But though it is so, they were able to give different answers and approaches every year so the perspectives and paradigms change.”

True enough, these fellows have made it a yearly tradition to attend Inkblots. For Toor, the seminar gives the campus journalists an opportunity to go back to basics even if modern trends in writing unfold.

“One school year will not be complete without going to Inkblots,” he said. “It’s one way of rejuvenating your passion for writing.” Sarah Jane P. Pauyo with reports from Joseinne Jowin Ignacio

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