JOURNALISM students bagged top prizes in the two-day Philippine Journalism Research Conference (PJRC) 2021, where young journalists were urged to assert their truth-telling and verification duties amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fourth-year journalism student Carlito Topacio was the Chit Estella Student Journalism Award recipient in the academic research category for his paper, “Covering Ground Zero: How the Philippine Media portrayed China’s Role in the Covid-19 Pandemic.” 

The award, named after veteran journalist Chit Estella-Simbulan, a journalism educator and VERA Files editor and trustee who died in a car crash in 2011, was given to the best outputs in each of the five categories of the PJRC.

“My research explored how local media shapes the image of a pandemic ground zero. 

For my study, I set my sights on China and its involvement in the Covid-19 pandemic. I looked into not only how they were portrayed but also how this portrayal was perceived by both Filipinos and Chinese-Filipinos,” Topacio told the Varsitarian

Topacio was guided by journalism faculty members Marishelle Medina and Alexis Douglas Romero. 

Tied with Topacio for first place was Ma. Christina Quiambao of the University of the Philippines (UP), who wrote the paper, “‘New Normal’ in the Newsroom: Changes made in the Roles and Functions of Online and Print Journalists in the Philippines during the Covid-19 Pandemic.”

Journalism students Coleen Ruth Abiog and Jayziel Khim Budino won third place in the same category with their research paper titled “A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Representation of Youth Activism under the Duterte Administration (Online News Headlines).”

Journalism juniors Laurd Menhard Salen, Raimee Rose Arugay and Miguel Louis Galang also received citations in the special projects/features category for their report, “HIV cases, after lull in testing, are now back to pre-pandemic level.” 

Salen and Galang are editors of the Varsitarian’s news and science and technology sections, respectively.

The conference was streamed via  PJRC 2021’s official Facebook page and Radio Libertas ZenoFm. 

It was co-organized by the UP Department of Journalism, the UST Journalism Program, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines Department of Journalism and the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication.

UST journalism faculty members Jeremaiah M. Opiniano and Felipe Salvosa II served as members of the panel of judges in the research and investigative journalism categories, respectively.


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