Truth about CDN

By Cris Evert B. Lato-Ruffolo |December 28,2018 - 10:49 PM


My children love the Cebu Daily News newsroom.

They refer to it as “the newspaper,” which to their young minds is a vast playground and a rich source of food.

“Can we go to the newspaper today, Nanay? I miss Yoyo Yaffy,” asked Nicholas with a dimpled smile and kitten eyes accented by his long, thick lashes.

“Yoyo Yaffy” is Lolo Raffy or Rufino “Raffy” Escoton, CDN’s newsroom coordinator for 21 years.

It is often difficult to deny Nicholas and his siblings the pleasure of hanging out in a newsroom.

The outside world sees the newsroom as a war room, where news is written and layouted before it gets printed.

To us, it has become a home shared by family members; colleagues bonded by birthdays, weddings and anniversaries.

Many children grew up in the newsroom.

When I officially joined CDN in 2007, I often saw Piakat and Kakai, daughters of former Editor-In-Chief (EIC) Connie Fernandez-Brojan, in the newsroom. Sports Editor Brian Ochoa’s son Bryz was a little boy the first time I saw him. Now, he is a young lad, taller than me.

There was a little girl named Jules, daughter of lifestyle writer Neris Gochoco, who was my playmate. I received many hugs from Juan or John Andre, son of EIC Edra Benedicto, in the times when we are both in the newsroom.

I cannot write on behalf of this city’s other newsrooms. But I know my CDN colleagues will agree with me that we have a newsroom which welcomes and embraces children.

In the last two years, my children — Nick, Toni, and JJ — played with the children of other employees. The toys on the desks and shelves of reporters and editors is a wonderland to my children. They played, sang and danced in the newsroom. When they get tired, they laid down on the couch or on makeshift beds on the floor.

When it was announced in early November that the last print edition of CDN will come out on December 31, the first thought that came to mind was:

“No more newsroom?”

From the small house on Escario Street to the two-storey building on North Reclamation Area, CDN has truly grown to be an independent newspaper that refuses to be bullied by dictators and authoritarians. Truthfully, that is hard to come by these days when fear is imminent and those in authority insist on their alternative facts, not the truth.

The physical newsroom has been the central ground where skills were developed and honed. It is the place of smiles and tears; where tough decisions were made; where victories and defeats were shared over food and drinks.

Inside me is a heavy heart, sad and forlorn about closing the print chapter of CDN. I am a child of newsprint and physical books so it is difficult to see an iconic newspaper bid goodbye to a community that it has served for 20 years.

I grew up in this paper. I slept in the newsroom several times to write special reports and study about economic terms I knew nothing about.

In one coverage where I had to follow a former Cebu governor for five hours that left me hungry and exhausted, I rushed to the office of former publisher Eileen Mangubat. I stood in front of her and cried. She told me to eat and rest.

I became Miss CDN when my classmate backed out. It was a life-changing moment. I told Ronald Villavelez how much his gown changed my life because it was one night where an on-the-go reporter was dolled up. I remember all the details with Miss Connie being my cheerleader that night.

Miss Connie, Business Editor Dennis Singson and Newsroom Coordinator Raffy Escoton were there when I got married on April 23, 2014.

In the absence of a solid father figure in my life, Sir Dennis and Kuya Raffy stood as witnesses to the love that Jeff and I share.

This paper has transformed me from a clueless intern to a fearless woman. It gave me a platform to serve people without the politics, which unfortunately comes with public service. I became a full-fledged journalist because of this paper and I owe it to CDN’s reporters, editors and support staff.

The full digital transformation of CDN comes with a leaner and meaner team. There will still be a newsroom, as announced by Miss Edra during the Media Fellowship Night with Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma held on December 27 at the Archbishop’s Palace. It will remain as an organization that values journalism that builds communities.

With this growth, I anticipate a more dynamic newsroom that will deliver better quality and hyperlocal stories to readers all over the world.
These are exciting times and we wish for you to join us in this new journey.

When I wake up on January 1, CDN will be in a fully digital format. Next year, my children will be met with a new newsroom.

I look forward to this change with hope. Archbishop Palma’s words resonate in my heart: “A person who has hope has patience.” I have hope and patience for a better year ahead.

A meaningful new year to one and all!

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