LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Some 4,960 campus journalists from across all regions participated in the National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) held on Jan. 28 to Feb. 1 and hosted by the Department of Education (DepEd)-Pangasinan I Schools Division in this town.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones graced the kickoff ceremony of NSPC, the largest campus journalism event in the country organized annually by the DepEd pursuant to Republic Act 7079 or the Campus Journalism Act of 1991.
In her keynote speech, Secretary Briones said the NSPC aims “to focus on journalism as a profession; to focus on capacity building for our learners; and also as review for our teachers and to remind them of how great and important the profession of journalism is.”
Her message centered on four lessons that campus journalists may get from joining the NSPC.
First, she urged campus journalists to always seek the truth, to differentiate real information from fake news, and to distinguish journalism from propaganda.
“Hindi ibig sabihin na kung may balitang sexy, kung may balitang nakakatawa, may balitang tsismoso, may balita about violence and so on, it doesn’t necessarily mean na ito ay katotohanan,” she said.
Briones likewise explained that teachers and personnel in charge of the curricula, programs, and projects of the DepEd play a crucial role in instilling the skill of discernment in the minds of the learners, especially the campus journalists.
Second, the education chief underscored that campus journalists’ need to sharpen their elementary grammar, spelling and punctuation marks because “a journalist, first and foremost, should have correct grammar, usage, spelling, and punctuation marks.”
“Because a comma, a semi-colon, a question mark can change the entire meaning of a sentence or the message you are trying to convey,” she said.
Third, Briones reminded the young scribes to never forget their roots even if they will work abroad when they graduate or even as they go to other countries.
“Huwag nating kalimutan na tayo ay Pilipino,”she added.
Lastly, she challenged the campus journalists to discern what is truth and what is not in social media, and to report in a balanced way.
“How do you tell the difference between truth and falsehood? How do you tell the difference between good and evil intentions? How can you discern propaganda vis-à-vis professional, competent journalism?” she concluded.