JOURNALISTS should always strive to deliver the news accurately and responsibly despite the accelerated pace of social media, ABS-CBN senior correspondent Willard Cheng said during the launch of the first UST National Campus Journalism Awards (UNCJA) last March 21.

“As we demand responsibility and accountability from our leaders in our writings, we should exact the same high or even higher standard of responsibility from ourselves, whether in journalism contests like this one, or when we find ourselves as colleagues in the real world later on,” Cheng said in his message before an audience of campus journalists from different student publications in Metro Manila. “This is how we keep ourselves relevant and credible in the public that we serve.”

Cheng, the keynote speaker during the UNCJA launch at the Varsitarian office, also reminded student journalists of the grave duty associated with their jobs. “Journalism is powerful and we should be careful with this power by exercising it responsibly,” said Cheng, a former editor of The Guidon of Ateneo de Manila.

The UNCJA was established through the efforts of retired Washington-based labor lawyer Julio Macaranas Jr., a two-time editor in chief of the Varsitarian. The awards are also dedicated to the memory of Macaranas' late mother, Mercedes, who taught him how to write.

Macaranas said the establishment of the annual awards were also his way of giving back to the University and the Varsitarian. “The extended time that I served in the Varsitarian during my entire four years in the Faculty of Civil Law has left an indelible imprint in my mind,” he said in his speech.

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Macaranas said his experience in UST's official student publication helped him a lot in his higher studies in Princeton University in New Jersey and Columbia University in New York. “They are quite aware that one who had served as editor in chief has various attributes to do well in an Ivy League School,” he said.

UNCJA is open to all college and university student publications, print or online. It honors outstanding works in journalism in three categories: “Best In-Depth News,” “Best Feature,” and “Best Editorial.”

The Best In-Depth News should be a comprehensive report on any issue of utmost importance to students; the Best Feature celebrates outstanding profiles about a person, group or institution within the participating publication’s school or community, or an interesting event; and the Best Editorial reflects the depth of a paper’s knowledge and understanding of a topic or issue and how it affects readers.

“To get one of the awards, you have to really write well, do research, and give it an appropriate perspective and a very nice subject,” Macaranas said.

Entries will be evaluated by a five-person panel composed of professional journalists. The panel can opt not to choose a winner if the entries fail to meet its standards.

The winner for each category will receive P10,000 in cash, a trophy, and a medal.

Deadline of submission of entries is on Oct. 23, 2015. The winners will be announced during Inkblots, the annual national campus journalism conference organized by the Varsitarian since 1999. Bianca Kristin A. Taray

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