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Write the truth—Atom Araullo, DepEd to campus journalists

Araullo said that it is not enough to present the facts, and as journalists it is part of the responsibility to reveal the truth behind the facts and make it into a story in which the audience can relate to.

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Screengrab from #CampJourn webinar

Media professionals gathered yesterday in a webinar, “#CAMPJOURN: Campus and Community Journalism in a Time of Pandemic,” to encourage campus journalists to report the truth despite the changing journalism landscape.

GMA7 news broadcast journalist Atom Araullo highlighted the importance of the balance in reporting and power in storytelling.

“Sa trabaho natin, napakahalaga na nakukuha natin yung tamang impormasyon… But you also have to make sure that yung information mo is something that will illuminate kung ano yung katotohanan,” he said during the online forum.

Araullo said that it is not enough to present the facts, and as journalists it is part of the responsibility to reveal the truth behind the facts and make it into a story in which the audience can relate to.

“People say that there are two sides of a story. That’s true,” he said. “Pero the truth is just one thing. There is just one objective reality.”

Department of Education Bureau of Curriculum Development Director Jocelyn Andaya told campus journalists to “keep writing.” 

She stressed that during the ongoing pandemic, there is a need for a purpose and this is the time in which correct and fact-checked news stories are needed. 

“[D]on’t just write because you want to this time,” she said. “Sometimes I was told by campus journalists…’it takes courage to defy,’…It takes courage, but defiance has to be tempered with correct information.”

“You have to make sure that what you write about is true,” she said. 

Emotion in news stories

Journalists, according to Araullo, are not just robots gathering information, which means that emotions and critical thinking are two factors to be considered and taken advantage of when writing a story. 

“Bilang journalist, yung personal feelings mo, hindi mo ‘yan mahihiwalay sa eventual story na gagawin mo,” he said “[Y]ou can be an effective journalist even if you acknowledge…na ikaw ay isang tao na mayoong emosyon at mayroong panindigan.”

Araullo considers emotions as a “good thing” when it comes to projecting news because the act of feeling, for him, gives the journalist an idea of the plight of the ordinary citizens. 

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“Kahit na anong pilit, kahit na anong subok mo, at kahit na lokohin mo yung sarili mo na kaya mong gawin ‘yon, it’s not possible kasi you have to make choices along the way.” he said.

“[Y]ou have to choose how to write it. With all of those choices, you are already shaping the story,” he added.

Araullo emphasized that there is also the need to consider other fundamentals of journalism like accuracy and balance and the importance of putting context in stories. 

“[A]no ba yung surrounding situation na kinalalagyan nitong mga facts na ito? Sigurado ba ‘ko na yung facts na ito ay hindi cherry-picked?” he said.

Issue to impact

Araullo said stories should not only induce feelings of happiness, sadness, or anger, but also urge the citizens “to find solutions necessary to make change.”

To do that, he said that journalists must hone their storytelling prowess, “from stories to solutions, from issues to impact, ” and create connection with the audience.

“[N]aghahanap ka ng isang paraan na maintindihan ng audience na kahit na hindi siya yung nakakaranas nitong istoryang ‘to, nararamdaman niya kung anong epekto nito doon sa nakakaranas ng istorya,” he said.

Additionally, Internews media specialist Kat Raymundo emphasized the “framework of accountability.” 

Media, according to her, serves as a “tool” that could either be helpful or used for political reasons, which is why journalists must use it to empower people to provide for their needs.

“[W]e must restore public trust and credibility, and journalism in a changing world must work on self-regulation and social responsibility,” she said. 

Raymundo urged the budding journalists to stop being “passive consumers” of news and instead make use of the old and new media as an “informed citizen” who interacts with other media users.

“Let’s be aware, complain, or even [encourage] criticism, because media development will not happen if the public does not demand more from this powerful institution,” she said. Coleen Ruth Abiog and Jayziel Khim Budino

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Thomasians promote youth engagement in nat’l affairs

Several Thomasians from different youth organizations pushed for the inclusion of youth participation in shaping the country in an online protest on Thursday, Jan. 21. 

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Online youth protest, "“Sulong Tomasino!: First Day Fight!” streamed via League of Filipino Students-UST official Facebook page on Thursday, Jan. 21.

Several Thomasians from different youth organizations pushed for the inclusion of youth participation in shaping the country in an online protest on Thursday, Jan. 21. 

Rights for Education representative Jay Santos stressed that the academe should also join the youth in this agenda. 

“[S]a panahon natin ngayon at  sa kasaysayan pa ng ating bansa, kinikilala natin ang kahalagahan ng papel ng kabataan sa paglahok at pahubog ng ating lipunan, at dapat katuwang natin dito ang ating paaralan,” she said.

According to Santos, the continuous suppression of the academe towards students also mirrors the government’s way of silencing its critics. 

Meanwhile, journalism major and one of the petitioners of the controversial Anti-Terror Law Mark Geronimo, encouraged the youth to use different social media platforms to educate and criticize the government. 

“[Y]ung mga platforms katulad ng Twitter, Facebook gamitin natin ito para mag educate at mag criticize sa mga maling gawain ng gobyerno,” Geronimo said.

Despite receiving several threats from online trolls, Geronimo still urged the youth to educate themselves in the current issues faced by the country. 

The online protest titled “Sulong Tomasino!: First Day Fight!” was streamed last Jan. 21 at the official Facebook page of League of Filipino Students – UST.

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SHS student barred from enrollment; admin cites code of conduct violation as basis

According to LFS–UST, Senior High School (SHS) Student Council Head Councilor Shoti Ampatuan was given a show cause notice due to his affiliation with Anakbayan–UST SHS, which resulted in his dismissal from his position and denial of his good moral certification.

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Photo by Rohm Bautista/TomasinoWeb

The University barred a student officer from enrolling next academic term after allegedly violating the Student’s Code of Conduct, the League of Filipino Students (LFS)–UST disclosed on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

According to LFS–UST, Senior High School (SHS) Student Council Head Councilor Shoti Ampatuan was given a show cause notice due to his affiliation with Anakbayan–UST SHS, which resulted in his dismissal from his position and denial of his good moral certification.

Ampatuan told TomasinoWeb that the alleged violation pertains to PPS 1027 of the Code of Conduct, which states that “students shall join only organizations duly recognized by the University.”

In his response to the show cause notice released last year Nov. 17, Ampatuan clarified that the evidence used against him was for the movement calling for academic ease in light of the three typhoons that hit the country between Oct. 25 to Nov. 12.

“I would like to clarify that I did not intend to deliberately violate the Code of Conduct of the University. As such, I apologize for any misunderstanding that my post may have caused,” he said.

He also defended his affiliation with Anakbayan, saying that it helped him be fully educated on social issues, and provided him an avenue to speak up against injustice and equality which, according to him, is among the many things the University has taught him.

“I believe that we are in a critical time in our nation’s history, and that due to this, the youth should be given the opportunity to further amplify their voices,” Ampatuan said.

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LFS-UST urged the university administration to reverse its decision, firmly stressing that universities “should be an avenue for free speech, and not repression.”

“We call on the admin to overturn their decision and to uphold students’ democratic rights and be one with their students in their fight for quality education, human rights, and accountability for the Duterte regime’s criminal negligence,” the organization said.

‘A form of hypocrisy’

In a statement posted Thursday, Anakbayan-UST SHS described the said rule as “a form of hypocrisy” and questioned the administration’s actions.

“They utterly stated that the student violated the Code of Conduct due to their membership to a mass organization while hundreds of students […] are members of NGOs. Why pinpoint this student and this student only?” Anakbayan-UST asked.

“Why not instead of silencing and filing these resolutions because of the studentry [sic] wanting to be vocal, listen to what they say,” the organization added.

This is not the first time the University prohibited a student activist from SHS from enrolling and receiving good moral certification.

In February 2018, a group of SHS students were denied good moral certificates after staging a silent protest inside the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. (BGPOP) building over the implementation of the K-12 program and the e-books system.

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Faculty of Medicine remembers professor Lorenzo Magat, 60

The UST – Faculty of Medicine and Surgery (FMS) expressed their grief over the passing of Dr. Lorenzo Magat in an online eulogy on Thursday, Jan. 7. 

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Dr. Lorenzo "Chito" Magat (Photo from UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery website)

The UST – Faculty of Medicine and Surgery (FMS) expressed their grief over the passing of Dr. Lorenzo Magat in an online eulogy on Thursday, Jan. 7. 

Magat died last Dec. 30 at the age of 60. He is an alumna of the University and a professor at the UST-FMS, where he taught microbiology and clinical pathology. 

Former adviser to the National Task Force for COVID-19 and UST alumna Dr. Tony Leachon described him as a “silent yet caring” friend. 

“He was a good friend of many. Silent lang yung style niya,” Leachon said. 

Earlier on Jan. 2, Leachon also took to Facebook his sorrow over Magat’s death. 

“Today we gather to mourn as one, ensuring your memory will never be undone. In loving memory of the one we love and honor, may your brightness always shine down from above,”  Leachon said. 

One of Magat’s former students recalls him as a “kind and passionate professor,” someone who encouraged them to study and understand medicine in a deeper sense to become great doctors someday. 

Several colleagues also flocked online to extend their condolence and sympathy to Magat’s family.

“[H]e was our clinical pathology resident before. I [will] always remember his smile,” the post read. 

The community mass was streamed online in the UST-FMS official Facebook page last Jan. 7 followed by a novena and a eulogy.

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