Miss Cebu 2016: Writing can be applied to any industry

By Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo |August 31,2016 - 09:46 PM
Miss Cebu 2016 Gabriele Raine Baljak speaks before the  students from the different public and private elementary and high schools in Cebu City at the end of the Siloy Campus Journalism Workshop.

Miss Cebu 2016 Gabriele Raine Baljak speaks before the students from the different public and private elementary and high schools in Cebu City at the end of the Siloy Campus Journalism Workshop (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

In the midst of 250 elementary and high school students from Cebu City, Miss Cebu 2016 Gabriele Raine Abellana Baljak listened to talks on feature and news writing, took notes and occasionally nodded her head in agreement to points emphasized by the speakers.

She was an unexpected participant at the Siloy Campus Journalism Workshop at the Cebu City Hall yesterday which was attended by elementary and high school students.

The workshop was organized by Cebu Daily News (CDN).

Baljak herself contacted CDN to join the session when she saw an advertisement about the workshop.

“Writing is a skill that can be applied to any industry. It is my goal to improve my writing skills… to continuously develop myself in general. I feel that a lot of problems these days are due to lack of communication, and I think writing is a form of communication that we, as a people, need to improve on,” said Baljak, a graduate of Cebu International School.

After listening to the talks and participating in the workshops, Baljak said she looks at journalists as people who love to listen and write about the stories and experiences of people that inform, inspire and involve the public.

Cebu Daily News’ team of speakers were composed of Doris Bongcac (news writing), Cris Evert Lato Ruffolo (feature writing), Calvin Cordova (sports writing) and Tonee Despojo (photojournalism).

Baljak’s more than 200 “classmates” in yesterday’s session came from 20 public and private schools in Cebu City.

Hazel Dianne M. Sibuyan, 12, looks at photography as the perfect medium to communicate to people her feelings and opinions.

But yesterday, Hazel proved that her ability to write stories is just as good as her ability to take pictures as her feature story about a chess player won one of the top prizes.

“I want to be a writer because you (journalists) travel to different places and talk to different people and write about them,” said Hazel, a grade six student of St. Ignatius de Loyola Preparatory School, Inc.

Grade 10 student Jim Rayne Avila of Pardo National High School writes for the school’s Filipino newspaper, “Plumagsibol” as a feature writer.

The school’s English newspaper is called “Campus Eye.”

Jim writes in Filipino for the school paper but this does not mean that the 15-year-old cannot write just as well in English. His feature story was awarded the top prize in the feature writing category.

 The beauty queen takes a selfie with the participants of the workshop. (CDN PHOTO/ TONEE DESPOJO)

The beauty queen takes a selfie with the participants of the workshop. (CDN PHOTO/ TONEE DESPOJO)

Jim said journalists are catalysts of social change as their writings can influence governments to change decisions or inspire people to help others.

“Campus journalists are important because we inform people about what happened in school… From this workshop, I learned that we have to include more details in the story so the story will be a lot better,” he said.

Jim said he will take up either Mass Communication or Computer Engineering in college.

Ethel Rosales, school paper adviser of Labangon Elementary School, said campus journalism is a “great avenue for students to analyze and interpret events.”

There are currently 30 staff members of the campus paper, “Young Scribblers.”

Rosales has been serving as a teacher for 20 years. She is school paper adviser for eight years now and has produced more than 10 winners in the Division, Regional and National Schools Press Conference.

Rosales, who was awarded as 2015 Outstanding Student Paper Adviser in Central Visayas (Region 7) Elementary Level by the Department of Education, said choosing campus journalists is a challenge for school paper advisers. Apart from attending campus journalism workshops, Rosales also organizes writing workshops in school.

“It is crucial for school paper advisers to constantly train students so they become better in their writing skills. The school paper adviser has the responsibility to check which students are doing well and which students need improvement. I always remind my students to find the heart of the story and include many details,” she said.

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