24 October 2013, 5:45 p.m. – STRIVE to make journalism relevant in the social media era.

This was the challenge posed by speakers to more than 300 campus journalists at the 15th edition of Inkblots, the UST National Campus Journalism Fellowship sponsored by the Varsitarian.

In his lecture on online journalism, Manila Bulletin technology editor Art Samaniego said newspapers should serve as analysts of news delivered by social media, even amid competition between the two platforms in breaking news. “Traditional newspapers might be in trouble, but news as a commodity is not going anywhere,” he said. “The newspaper could still be relevant if we redefine our role from bringer of news to explainer of news.”

Online journalism is not merely tweeting and blogging, as it is also anchored on core journalistic activities such as truth-telling and attribution to sources, Samaniego said. “If you want to be an online journalist, you have to learn the basics [of journalism] … Online journalists require specialized skills: core journalism and technical knowledge,” he said.

“It doesn’t make you less of a human being if you attribute [to] someone in your news [story],” Samaniego added.

Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist John Nery said journalists should not play safe, explaining that the idea of objectivity referred to method, not the person. “All opinion should be based on a layer of verified facts,” he said. “You can be as opinionated as you can possibly be, but be fair.”

Palanca awardee and UST Arts and Letters professor Eros Atalia lectured on Filipino journalism, while Aaron Favila of the Associated Press shared his expertise in photojournalism. A panel discussion on Catholic journalism and media ethics was conducted by Radyo Veritas commentator Fr. Nick Lalog, Radyo Veritas operations consultant Bro. Clifford Sorita, and lawyer and Philippine Star columnist Jose Sison.

Staying relevant while embracing the digital age

The three-day conference was capped by a dinner and mini-concert during the Fellowship Night held at Plaza Mayor. Former MYX VJ Joyce Pring, Thomasian Idol 2012 Julia Mella, and bands Paraluman and Cueshe performed for the fellows.

Winners of Inkblots’ news writing and cartooning contests were also awarded with certificates and special prizes. Hazel Buctayon of St. Mary’s University of Nueva Vizcaya bagged the first place in news writing, while Celso Crisostomo, Jr. of UST and Jermaund Ivan Junio of St. Louis University of Baguio finished second and third, respectively.

Myles Bayabas of UST received the first prize in the cartooning contest, while Shiela Sandoval of St. Louis University came in second. Abi Dango of Miriam College and Josua Benjamin Dacanay of Adamson University shared the third spot. Winners were chosen by Kikomachine Komix author Manix Abrera. Gena Myrtle P. Terre


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