You may ask, what is the relation with martial law and tWS? When Marcos declared Martial Law, tWS was one of the first campus publication that Marcos ordered to close down allegedly becuase of its subersive arrticles (read: Anti-Marcos). Launching tWS at this date is a better way of saying that camous journalism is well and alive in this part of the country.
tWS is also celebrating its 103 anniversary and they will be having an exhibit today featuring testimonials of former member of the staff. I was asked to made a one paragraph testimonial. But really1 how can you contain in one paragraph the wonderful memories I have with tWS that helped define who I am now. I am sure the organizers would understand. This is what I wrote:
It is quite difficult to sum up into one paragraph my experience as member of the editorial staff of the Weekly Sillimanian. For one, being a member of tWS was one of the defining moments for me as a student of Silliman University. So my apologies if I go beyond the one paragraph requirement.
I joined tWS in June 1995 as a Junior Reporter, then move as a Senior Reporter by the second semester of that school year. In school year 1996-1997, I was appointed News Editor of tWS. Together with Dinah Baseleres (Editor-in-Chief), Ian Fermin Casocot (Associate Editor), Joanna Ruth Utzurrum (Features Editor), and a bunch of crazy yet talented staff, we publish one of best issues of tWS. And this I say with no apologies!
Since two years prior to us tWS failed to come up weekly, it was then a challenge for us to be a real a “Weekly Sillimanian”. And that we did. We set up a strict schedules and deadlines for everyone to follow (that includes the EiC, the editors and even our adviser). Failure to meet the deadline would mean a deduction from your honorarium and receiving a “verbal lashing” from Dinah (and believe me, that is the last thing you want to hear from her). Writing good stuff and meeting your deadline, however, would entitle you to become one of “staff of the month” where your name will be announced at tWS and you will receive an additional amount for your honorarium. We don’t condone mediocrity, but we were not also short with praises for those who did their job well. At tWS, we were good friends, but when it comes to work and doing our responsibility, we were able to separate personal from official things.
We had good stories during that time. We entered the school year with the news that then SU President Mervyn Misajon just resigned. That was also the year that the registrar tried the computerized enrolment system. Founders day we received news that the Board of Trustees has just appointed Dr. Agustin Pulido as the new SU President which caught everyone in a surprise. During semestral break, Silliman hosted a summit for all the Student Government heads all over the country. It was also during our time that the SU Faculty Association (SUFA) staged a strike against the administration. The heads of the SUSG at that time were also quite a personality that our reporters have literally camped out outside of the house of the SUSG President (She is nowhere to be found in campus), just to get her side on the stories that we run about the SUSG. At that time also, I did a three-part in-depth story of the state of our dormitories and was also able to come out with an interview of an HIV/AIDS victim.
At tWS we took our responsibility seriously. We observed the basic tenets of the Journalist Code of Ethics. This we do because we know that tWS is not just a Campus Publication, tWS can practically be considered a community newspaper for Dumaguete. Thus, the paper is read not just inside the campus, but also by those within in the larger community. To ensure issues are thresh out well, every Wednesday we meet as a whole staff where we critique the issue that was just released and discuss the stories (news, features and opinion) that would come out in our next issue. Everybody participates in this discussion including our non-editorial staff.
That year also, we revive the lampoon issue where I became an instant celebrity of Silliman University (check the Sillimaniana section to find out why).
But we were not also all work. Boy! We had fun. During our Christmas party we decided to have a costume party with the theme, “Philippines 3000” where we don all the craziest futuristic costume we could think (Dinah won the best in costume with her metallic ballerina get up). We held the party at the residence of our adviser Irma Pal in Amigo Subdivision. All of us put on our costume at tWS office in Guy Hall and with our costumes we hailed a pedicab to bring us to Amigo Subdivision. Of course, several pedicabs did not even bother to stop and for those who did, I could just imagine the things that were in the mind of the driver who took us.
There are a lot of stories I could share with my tWS experience, but space is always our constraint. All I could say, what I am now, part of this I owe it to tWS and the people I encountered because of the Weekly Sillimanian.
Damn! I miss those days!