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CDN hones young journalists’ writing skills

By: Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo August 20,2017 - 09:08 PM


Winners in the news writing workshop Mary Kate Nicor, Raphaella Mayo and Mishe Sancover pose with Cebu Daily News team for a souvenir photo.


Pens and notebooks were out of the backpacks last Thursday as close to 200 public elementary school pupils of Mandaue City put on their young journalists’ hats to learn more about journalism from reporters and editors of Cebu Daily News.

Inside the spacious hall of Oakridge Horizons on A.S. Fortuna Street in Mandaue City, some children even sat on the floor after they accepted the challenge of writing news and feature stories which followed after the lectures of CDN day desk editor Doris Bongcac and correspondent Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo

When CDN photo editor Tonee Despojo discussed photojournalism, the children’s faces lit up and asked the veteran photojournalist several questions on how to make use of their digital cameras to take good pictures.

“During my lecture, I shared to them photography techniques and how photos tell a story. They were only 11, 12 years old but they showed enthusiasm and interest in the craft. It was very inspiring to teach the next generation of journalists,” says Despojo, who started his journalism career as an editorial cartoonist in 1983.

The children were participants of the 2017 Siloy Campus Journalism Workshop organized by CDN. This is the second year for the newspaper to run a series of free journalism workshops for elementary and high school students in Cebu province.


Mary Ann Villaceran, school paper adviser of The Dawn, the official publication of Pagsabungan Elementary School, says CDN gives budding journalists the chance to improve their skills and learn from media practitioners.

She said the main challenge for teachers these days is the children’s tendency to get hooked to gadgets such as computers and smart phones.
“Technology has changed the landscape of campus journalism… but we noticed that the quality of writing among our pupils have deteriorated,” she shared.

Villaceran said they use newspapers to encourage children to read more, believing that “good readers are better writers.”

“Children these days need more guidance. They need to be pushed. Teachers need to follow up on them, give them exercises and constantly, practice. We remind them to read newspapers and watch the news because knowledge of current events will help them become better writers,” she said.


Mandaue City public elementary school pupils get feature writing pointers from CDN correspondent Chris Evert Lato-Ruffolo during the Siloy Campus Journalism held on Thursday at the Oakridge Horizons. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

Ten-year-old David Bayking says his favorite part of the lectures and workshops was to hear the CDN team speak English.

“English is my favorite subject and I like being able to speak, read and write in English aside from Cebuano and Tagalog. As a young writer, I need to expose myself to different languages because that will help me communicate better with people from different parts of the world,” said the Grade 5 pupil of Cesar M. Cabahug Elementary School in Barangay Looc, Mandaue City.

David said he reads history books to improve his knowledge and appreciation of the world, the Philippines and Mandaue City.

He writes to express himself.

“Anything is possible if you can write. This is what I tell my classmates. If you can write stories, you can travel and create a different world. You only need to use your pen and paper to do that,” said David, a consistent honor student.


At least 10 children who participated in the workshop previously attended storytelling sessions organized by CDN, the Philippine Daily Inquirer Visayas Bureau and Basadours in the last five years.

From listeners in storytelling sessions, these children have “graduated” to become writers and journalists.

For Pia Jean Velasquez-Seno, CDN assistant vice president and chief sales and marketing officer, this is a testament of the inspiration and motivation that literacy projects provide to the younger generation.

Beyond earning profits, Seno says a newspaper’s role is to connect with its community and make them productive citizens of the country.

“We remain committed to Inquirer Publication Inc.’s vision which is journalism that builds communities. It is important to train young campus journalists because they are our next generation of journalists. Some of them may even work for CDN in the future,” says Seno.

Oakridge Development Corporation, Virginia Foods and the Mandaue City government were instrumental in the success of last Thursday’s session, which was the first in a series of workshops to be held all over Cebu province this year.

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TAGS: Cebu Daily News, Mandaue City, Siloy, writing

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