[June 21, 2005]

Days ago we had our staff’s meeting with the president at the mini-board room. Well, a "bored room" it really was.
“Bored-room” Facts:
 
1. Jai, our EIC was recommending to the president and the new adviser of the publication who he thinks is most fit for the vacant positions.
 
2. The new adviser doesn’t see it that way. She thinks that in order to ensure transparency, everyone should take the exams and the panel interview.
 
3. Since Jai’s recommendation was immediately turned down (the president didn’t even bother to take a quick look at the paper Jai was presenting him), he requested that the former staff being former staffers and having first hand experience on how a publication works be exempted from the exams but still take the panel interview.
 
4. Again his petition was shot down both by the president and the new adviser.
 
5. During our "fruitful and enriching" (sic) dialogue with the president and the new adviser, when Jai was making them understand his stand, the president said a lot that I would like to comment on, and I would like also to comment on the what the new adviser has to say before our, again, “fruitful and enriching” (sic) meeting in the “bored-room.”
My Comments:
1. We, the former staff though I do not speak for all of them, are not "kapit-tuko" to the Magdalo. Jai approached me during the summer offering the top post, I even turned him down at first but after thinking about it and realizing that I could continue what Jai started and knowing too well that in every organization, continuity is the framework of progress, I said yes.
 
2. Magdalo, being a dynamic organization cannot be bound by a "board exam-like" selection process. There has to be continuity of the foundations that Jai laid. And if they think that the exams is their version of an evaluation process. Wrong again! What could be the best evaluation than the evaluation of the EIC of his own staff? The EIC saw all the operations of the paper, how his staff worked, what kind of works they produced etc. etc. If they would want to evaluate the staff, they should try reading the issues by our batch. They should take at least a peek to Jai’s recommendation and evaluation paper. Or they could ask the former adviser (but from a very reliable source, she also was kept in the dark) Maybe they didn’t like what they saw in print or maybe they want to see themselves in print.
 
3. I am not shoving us down their throats. Not like them pushing the new adviser and their so-called "truths" down ours. This is not the question of taking the exams but rather the question of being qualified and being forced to take the exams so as to please their "politics." (I’ll explain this "politics" in a full post later)
 
4. During my second meet of the new adviser, she was even telling us that the scholarship should be open to everyone not just to us. From tone of her voice, it may seem that we are in the paper for the scholarship. Wrong again! When I joined the paper last year all I ever wanted to do was to do something to build a better paper, I know that I can, having experience in my past schools. I was not even aware that there is a scholarship grant. It was after I qualified as a staffer when I learned that we are scholars too.
 
I do not need the paper’s scholarship to fund my schooling. And if I may borrow another’s paper motto "to write is already to choose" And that really is what it is for me and what should be for everyone else, we write because we chose to write, compensation is always the last priority for a writer. Try to think of a newspaper columnist who is as rich as the president (who "can overwhelm Magdalo" financially) and I’ll brainstorm my head for a president as poor as a columnist.
 
5. There was a question raised to the effect of “do we wash our dirty linens in front of the neighbors?” And there was also talk during the “bored-room” meeting that we have to solve problems internally and when we write, we should write about both sides of the story and also suggest a solution to the problem.
 
This has got to be one sickest and “PGMA-like stance of the school!” We in the press are not the make-up artist of anyone! We tell everything as it is, where it is and how it is! We already know that we should get both sides of the coin! That is the first thing you learn when you become journalists! The press is not a publicist of anyone! We do not sugar-coat or exaggerate! We report what is the truth! What we write in our columns is our views and opinion on things if you disagree, you are never discouraged to call, see or write us and we will gladly publish your side.
 
PGMA once said that all the newspapers print is the bad news. She also said that it is doing our economy more harm than good. Well, screw her and her administration for they are all to blame for what shit is happening in our country. The press has become the "silent" vanguards of the evils against our society, the unofficial defenders of democracy, owing to the fact that the PNP, AFP, SC, PDEA, BIR (I could go on) have all endeavored to the greatest business venture of all time—corruption!
 
Same goes for campus journalism. “We are, first and foremost, defenders of students’ rights.”
 
P.S. Do you know how to spot the “sipsip” and the “super-duper sipsip” in a room? Here’s one dead give-away: they are the ones who shake their heads to disagree when the EIC who is making sense is talking, and they are the ones who nod their heads now and then in absolute, “imbecile-like” agreement when their president is talking sense or most of the time, uttering nonsense.
 
(To be continued)