As a student journalist, I have had to contend with many a stubborn school source, and push my way through walls to get at the story. I may not have served under the publication’s “harder” sections, and even took a lighter if sarcastic note of things while serving my first stint with the editorial board, but that does not mean I did not have to put up with the most unreasonable people who would refuse an interview even for benign articles.

Their reason, I would know from colleagues and subordinates later (for certainly, my sources did not tell me), was that they feared that a Varsitarian reporter meant a dirt-seeking student journalist whose aim is to bring someone down. Worse, editors, my self included, trying to go around stumbling blocks to get the information required, if not heckling the source directly, has had the effect of driving sources into holes, where they would just wait until the reporter stops or the paper has to come out, whichever is sooner. The mention of the Varsitarian in phone or letter requests for an appointment, I dare say, raised many a source’s guard.

Now that I’m leaving, I should apologize. Because there will be no apologies.

Some people topside have said more often than not that we are abusing our privilege, just out to find dirt on everyone. On the other hand, students have more often than not called us biased toward the administration, never giving space for student activities or hearing student complaints.

The Varsitarian has recorded University life since 1928, and had for members the best people in today’s media. One wonders why it is shown such disdain at home. The publication has always done its best to be impartial, guided by the best mentors and counseled by illustrious and ever-critical alumni. Administration members should not treat it like the plague; it is better for all concerned (this school chiefly) if there is cooperation among parties, not guardedness and sanctimony, as when a source refuses to speak and then asks us to apologize afterward for faults not our doing. Some officials, sadly, have yet to learn that what we do is a service.

READ
Odyssey to the self

Meanwhile, being the “official student publication” does not mean we uphold student complaints without caution. And complaints for not giving space to student activities sting. But again, no apologies. We just had to forego a local college’s beauty pageant or quiz bee for an MOA signing on student exchanges between this and a foreign school, say. But as often as we can, we address or report complaints, but only by those brave enough not to remain anonymous, because, as a colleague once said, it is difficult and even dangerous to fight shadows, or fight for them.

The bottom line is, we have only tried through the years to practice the tenets of responsible, fair, and discerning journalism, albeit only on the campus level. That is nothing to apologize for. We have faith in our mentors and training. This school gave them.

***

Some necessaries.

While this column might have shifted in perspective the second time around, taking on a more serious tone, the part where it must pay homage the writer has not forgotten.

Having grown up with drivers and maids, this writer’s gratitude first extends to those most people take for granted but who were company in our work one way or another: the non-academic personnel, guards, and janitors. Bear with the organization, ladies and gentlemen, and continue to do excellent work.

To the administration, students, teaching faculty, and priests, peace. But watch out for the next batch. They’re good.

To colleagues and teachers in this publication, especially during the hard times, my salute and loyalty.

READ
Winners, losers

***

This is where I take, from the fork, a path that leads away from the organization I served for close to five years. There will be no more putting the paper to bed at four in the morning. There will be no more nursing a hypertensive heart after meetings as well as editing a barrage of articles on deadlines. As this insignificant fool rambles on, may his heart sing, for a change.

***

I’m done. Let the bridge now burn.

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