Rebirth of a newspaper
This may well be the last piece of this column that you are seeing on print as your favorite newspaper, the Cebu Daily News, will be closing its printed version on Monday.
The timing is symbolic as, amid the festive welcoming of the new year, CDN metamorphoses into a fully digital online newspaper, thus going into where most of its readers are in this new era: the internet.
We leave behind the old platform, and our reading habits with it, as we embrace the new one and try to get ourselves used to the new routine of checking CDN online for the latest news with our smartphones or tablets while having coffee and pan de sal.
While I grieve the passing of an era, the age of print that ushered in a reading civilization, I console myself with the thought that, with the ease of reading on screen, the unlimited access to information on the web, and the many ways that we may now share or react to what we read, these new platforms should actually bring ideas in texts closer to people.
There are a lot of disadvantages, too, of course.
The rise and proliferation of fake news is one of the most glaring examples.
This makes traditional media outfits, with their long-held commitment to accountability and professionalism, more important as newcomers to social media.
As people become more familiar with the way fake news is generated online, they will tend to revert to their old trusted news sources, the local newspapers whose addresses and authors they could always find and verify.
Some things will be missed for sure.
I have gotten used to reading the papers with a pair of scissors as I usually clip articles I like.
These clippings travel into my growing file, which started when I was still a student journalist in college.
Back then, as budding writers, we were trained to keep clippings, scrawled with proper notations, for future references.
That’s one habit I continue to practice and my own little archive of clippings and collection of books can provide me with more than enough sources of information when I do research off-grid.
Of course, my files of clippings include my own articles and some drawings and cartoons I contributed to CDN since I joined it as an editorial cartoonist nearly 20 years ago.
I lost track exactly when I started writing this column but I guess it was about 18 or so years ago when my byline started appearing in the opinion page first twice weekly, and later once.
I have to admit it wasn’t easy keeping a column.
You have to wake up and start staring at the empty screen of your laptop hoping to find a topic with only a couple of hours to your deadline.
That explains why from a biweekly column, it later appeared only once a week, on Sundays.
I had to tell my editor that twice a week was taking a toll on me.
There are times when columnists could not sleep over a badly written piece which is usually the result of haste.
And few columnists are full time columnists.
I wish I were. But, taking it after Umberto Eco, I later learned to take columns as like sketches or public version of journal entries.
They always tend to be tentative.
Still, it has been a wonderful privilege writing weekly for CDN.
Leafing through my old articles, I could see how I personally evolved as a writer, changing my mind not a few times on certain issues, always trying to make sense of the ordinary things and experiences (I am glad that CDN never really required me to take a particular angle or topic, so I could write anything.).
So, I thank CDN and the Philippine Daily Inquirer for giving me that opportunity and privilege.
It has been an honor to have my byline appear on the pages and screens of this trusted news network that is now becoming even bigger in the online public sphere.
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