A journey with The News Today
I joined TNT ten years ago. It was fresh. New. Young. Challenging.
Thank you Erly Garcia, a former colleague in ABS-CBN Iloilo who was the catalyst to my benefit. As editor-in-chief then Erly welcomed my contribution to the paper. He offered me a weekly column entitled “Sailing.” It was born to provide women space to tell real life stories and successes, adversities and triumphs. After a month or so, Erly took me to see our boss – Rosendo Mejica, II. The meeting was swift, even surprising. As I was leaving his office only did I realize he made me the operations manager of the fledgling paper.
TNT came when I was at the most defining moment of my life. I was broke, brown and broken hearted. As they say, when a student is ready, the teacher appears. That’s where I learned the ropes in newspaper publishing. Mr. Mejica taught me tricks and tips on management that I even carried with me in my succeeding jobs. The one I cannot forget to this day is when he said, being the manager, you should know everything that is going on in the office on a daily basis. By “everything” he meant even the movement of the ants in the office wall. It was the metaphor I took seriously.
Our group was small, less than 10 in an office building provided for us. Young, ambitious and eager to learn – were the qualities of my team. Our reporters like Niel and Lenilyn were fresh out of college. Our mobility was provided by Ensoy and Audrey in two motor bikes that brought us to cover news and events. The year 2001, also brought me to places in Western Visayas that I haven’t been before – in a motor bike! It was TNT that influenced the local newspaper industry to use color in the front and back covers. It was TNT that offered a unique, informative, modern concept of local newspaper. Even if we were out on a weekly basis then, without on-line back up (web pages were not “uso” yet), TNT was already gaining ground and making waves on its second year.
Two noteworthy projects were done in my almost two years. First, it was the “Save The Turtle Project” in Guimaras that brought the Provincial Government, the TNT, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and a group of medical doctors to save the hawksbill turtles in a remote island somewhere in Jordan Municipality. With full sponsorship of Robinson’s Mall, a space was provided for us to mount a live exhibit of the turtles for a day. The objective of the project was to stir the attention of authorities and the general public to save the extinction of hawksbill turtles by providing them a safer sanctuary where people may not harm them anymore. It was known in the past that these turtles were killed indiscriminately for consumption purposes by the locals. With this project, the Provincial Government of Guimaras through the then Gov. Rama Nava enforced a local by-laws in cooperation with BFAR, for the protection and preservation of Hawksbill Turtles in the Province of Guimaras.
“The Love Letter Writing Contest ” was mounted in February 2002. The project was to encourage the young generation to go back to letter writing as against cell phone texting while giving importance to mastery of the English language, literary style, flow of thoughts and creativity.
The opening of exhibit booth at SM City was graced by then City Mayor Jerry Treñas with wife Rosalie and former Iloilo Gov. Niel Tupas and wife. Mrs. Treñas allowed us to post her parents love letters dated ages ago. A drop box was assigned in the booth for a week where anybody can drop off their love letter entries. Judges from the academe selected the winners after a week long exhibition.
Growing up in the suburbs of Negros Occidental in the early 80’s, my only exposure to urban life was our black and white television set, an AM radio of my yaya, The Daily Express and MOD magazine that Tatay usually brought home from Bacolod City. I buried my mind in them. I read and reread every article and wished I could write vividly like the authors.
College days in Iloilo City nudged me to write even more because of the distance between me and my family. On weekends where I get to stay put, the post office was efficient enough to send my letters to my parents. There, I got the hang of speaking my mind, say my point of view, pour my hearts out in a cheap and decent way I know.
Aside from my loving father who set in motion my passion for writing, there are four other people who induced it in my adult life. Ruby Pearl Dapitan, my BFF and a gem in college with whom I drained my sweat and tears with typing in my Royal qwerty typewriter until the wee hours of the morning trying to finish our script for a school play. Juliebelle Dator-Funk, my 24 karat college chum with whom I owe my break in news writing in DYMC days. Mr. Manuel “Boy” Mejorada, an icon. He’s my former boss and mentor in Sun.Star Iloilo and is actively mentoring the younger generation of journalists and writers locally. Stanley Palisada, my very significant other with whom I consider my role model in the writing profession. Now I know the reason why the people mentioned were in my life early on, because they made me pursue the one thing I really love doing – writing.
TNT, BEFORE AND BEYOND
Yes, how time flies. Ten years have passed and a new chapter is unfolding in 2011 for The News Today. Expectation is high. Hope is bright.
I’m grateful to be with TNT when it was just starting to stir the waters to this day and hope to be a part of it in the next phase.
Congratulations The News Today! May the coming year and the years ahead will bring TNT to a new level of success where it continues to set an influence of change and evolution of local newspaper in Western Visayas.
Happy New Year everyone!