FORMER press undersecretary Alice Colet-Villadolid stressed the importance of accurate reporting and ethical conduct in relation to the Philippine Journalists’ Code of Ethics during the second Jose Villa Panganiban (JVP) Professorial Chair for Journalism lecture last Feb. 3 at the UST Central Library conference hall.

“Thomasians are especially involved (here) because we follow St. Thomas’ teaching in searching for the truth. (And if) you do not know the truth, then don’t work as a journalist,” Villadolid told the audience, mostly A.B. Journalism seniors.

In addition, the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters (now Arts and Letters) alumna emphasized the Code’s 11 fundamental “journalistic” characteristics: accuracy, confidentiality, fairness, privacy, integrity, intellectual honesty, tolerance, justice, decency, conscience, and decorum.

The 11 characteristics, Villadolid said, must be observed by both campus and professional journalists at all times to avoid “disaster.”

A former Varsitarian columnist on campus affairs, Villadolid also recounted her experiences with Panganiban, her professor in college, whom she described as a “very formal and professional man who goes to their class in ‘Americana’ attire despite the hot weather.”

Villadolid was chosen to deliver the lecture in recognition of her journalistic achievements and her advocacy of ethics in print journalism through both practice and teaching.

At one time or another, Villadolid was a reporter/correspondent for the New York Times, Newsweek International, Asiaweek, Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Manila Bulletin. At present, she teaches News Development and the Craft of Writing at the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication.

The professorial chair concluded the Varsitarian’s 77th anniversary celebration. Established in 1999 by the publication, the JVP lecture is named after Panganiban, who is considered the founder of the Varsitarian, and became a leading writer, lexicographer, linguist, and director of the National Language Institute.

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