COMMUNITY JOURNALISM: Good or Bad? by Gil Camporazo
"Success cannot be won at any price, nor can it be measured by the number of trophies or medals that can be accumulated at a given time, but it can only be felt by one’s feeling of satisfaction and of achievement."
This is absolutely true. This is how I feel in my 19 years of attachment to Negros Daily Bulletin. Out of that faithful and trying years, I have no doubt that success attained by NDB is “purely a labor of love, a product of sheer guts and desire to prevail against all odds.”
More so it is the “independence of mind, pioneering spirit and perseverance of its founders (of NDB) on with no hidden agenda, except the desire to be of service” in information dissemination.
As the NDB Ed, Pert Toga, puts it: “without relying on anyone or any vested interest, but on own hard work, sacrifices and sheer determination through the years.” I do uphold that assertion.
It’s my honor to be one of those 12 first corporate officers when NDB got her legal corporate entity as Negros Bulletin Publication, Inc. on September 19, 1995.
I was one of those who shared with the NDB’s success when it received the “Best Environmental Reporting” (daily category) as conferred by the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF) of Germany in for 3 years (2000, 2001, and 2003).
How I joined with the NDB was worth remembering. It was sometime in 1991 that I was tapped as a Negros Bulletin (weekly) news stringer in La Carlota City. Fred Brizuela, D’ Lifeblood columnist, and BIR Collection Agent of La Carlota, was instrumental in introducing me to Editor Pert Toga. But before that, I used to request Fred to submit my news to the paper on what’s the news and interesting happenings in La Carlota City. As a BIR man. Fred was always busy. So I had to submit my news articles personally. Every week then I had to commute to Bacolod to get my write-ups in print.
In one occasion, I got interested with writing a column upon seeing Leo Claridad’s From a Distance. I talked to Sir Pert how Leo became an instant columnist. Without so much ado, he just simply urged me to write a column and I started it with Random Vibrations, which later came out in print as Vibrations, which as of this writing I am maintaining it.
Thru thick and thin, I survived the tests of time as a part time columnist of the said paper. I am now a virtual member of Negros Daily Bulletin family. I am a living testimony on how Negros Bulletin grew from bi-weekly, tri-weekly and now a daily newspaper.
In that 19 years of community journalism and acquaintance with the staff and personnel of NDB, I value the companionship, camaraderie of the late veteran-columnists Monet Padilla (Bull’s Horn), Gene Flora (Bulletin Board), Porfirio Lopez, blind columnist (Treat ‘em Right), and also the late vernacular writers Ric Sumagaysay and Octavio. I am grateful with the warm friendship of Rolly Espina (The Observer), Armand Toga (Freelancer), the fellowship of Nestor Padesio (NDBs Sports Editor), and the understanding and tutelage of Pert Toga (Bulletin Ticklers).
To be a journalist has a good and bad effect. I remember when I wrote about the conviction of a prominent family in La Carlota City, who was convicted by the court of illegal possession of prohibited drugs, I was then virtually ostracized by my college mentor because of that press release I made about his brother. However, on the other hand, I fell complete and satisfied when I wrote without reservation the conviction of my teenage nephew and his bosom friend of illegal possession of prohibited marijuana grass. The court meted them life imprisonment. It was a headline in the NDB. But the innocence is always exonerated. After serving their term for 2 years in Muntilupa jail, they filed thru a lawyer a review of their case in the Supreme Court. The high tribunal reversed the decision made by the lower court and they’re acquitted. It’s God’s will I know.
My connection with this prestigious vigilant newspaper as a community writer, I have reaped success in my job. I have written various articles on community, education, government, and health, that has helped me a lot on my job promotion from classroom teacher to head teacher, and head teacher to full-pledged school principal 1 for a span of 15 years in the education field, for that time I changed employment from private to government.
Actually before I was connected with the government, I was an employee of the defunct Rural Bank of La Carlota, Inc. for 5 years (1975 – 1980). In this period , in a certain social gathering, I met Edmundo Aspero, news anchorman of dyHB, Radio Mindanao Network before. We became fast friend and he introduced me to the late Nat Sitjhar, RMN News Director who assigned me in La Carlota as stringer. Thru the effort of the late RMN Manager Ramon de la Luna, I took the KBP accreditation examination for newscaster and I passed.
When I became member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1980 to 1991, I hungered for news reporting. Later in 1991, I made a comeback in news reporting when Fred Brizuela introduced me to NDBs Editor Pert Toga. And that’s why until now for 19 years I’m still vibrating at Negros Daily Bulletin.
In October 2006, I created NDB Vibrations Online which serves as one of the links of Negros Daily Bulletin. It could be reached or opened in url: http://ndbvibrations.webs.com in the internet.
Yes, whatever matters I’m still vibrating in Negros Daily Bulletin, for I know God has something for me to do, be it social, emotional, psychological, or spiritual as far as community journalism is concerned!