”Journalists are reminded that in the word ‘newspaper,’ ‘news’ is more important than paper.” – Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Alexandra Prieto-Romualdez.

WHILE distributing the 14th and final issue of the previous Varsitarian staff, some students expressed dismay over our return to newsprint (the paper used by dailies). Some readers regarded it as counter-progressive and a cutback of what we are supposed to give them.

The Varsitarian did not endure its eight decades of existence on shiny sheets. In fact, its 81 volumes were mostly in newsprint. The glossy paper was only used in 2008-2009––the 80th anniversary of one of the oldest campus papers in the country. A commemorative backdrop on the masthead was also introduced to give a new look to the then 80-year-old campus paper, but it was not intended to be permanent.

The publication year 2009-2010, where I served as news reporter, continued the same set-up. But it was not an easy decision for the previous editorial board (EB) to stay glossy. Heated discussions ensued during the paper’s mid-year planning becasue the EB wanted to return to newsprint and remove the commemorative backdrop. Perhaps focusing on the frequency of issues to be released, the EB managed to come out with 15 issues last year and set aside the decision of whether or not to return to newsprint.

So why did we return to newsprint and the “old” look?

The Varsitarian, the 82-year-old official student publication of UST, far older than some of the leading broadsheets in the country––started as newsprint, albeit there were occasions that it was printed on other kinds of paper. It became the most respected Catholic campus paper not because of its shimmering look. It spawned literary giants, intellectual heavyweights and high-caliber journalists.

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Visual trip down history lane

While texts and some photos may appear better in the glossy pages (although veteran newsmen and editors swear that colored photos appear better on newsprint), we don’t want to make the physical makeup as your sole basis in reading the campus paper, unless we want to breed a shallow and “dense” readership.

We want you to get hold of every issue because of its content––the stories we research, the issues we do legwork on, and campus scenes we capture.

We don’t want to be the best campus paper under the guise of a shiny paper and high-resolution photos. We want to the best campus paper by how you, our readers, come up with intelligent and informed judgement based on the stories we write.

Try perusing the Varsitarian from cover to cover and you will find out that we are more than just a printed matter.

We reserve the glossy pages for our other publications like the Tomasino (formerly Breaktime) magazine that is set to come out next month. Our Montage, the literary magazine, is set to be released in the latter part of the publication year. The book “400 Greatest Thomasians” will be produced next year as UST turns 400.

The Varsitarian has also improved its website (www.varsitarian.net) by providing breaking news, photo galleries and past issues that can be downloaded from its archives.

We have also decided to maintain a fortnightly (twice a month) frequency––except on months when major exams are scheduled––to chronicle and give you the latest happenings inside and outside of the University.

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Dire need for contextual Bible-reading

Some call it suicide but we call it justice. The justice of generating a campus-based newspaper with content that is “new” and timely to the readers. Our extra-editorial endeavors are also in place––the Fiction Workshop in September, Inkblots: National Campus Journalism Fellowship in October, Ustetika literary awards in November, and Pautakan intercollegiate quiz contest in February.

Now, think again. Are we really reducing the service to our readers, especially the students?

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