CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu has produced notable media personalities in the past.
At present, new faces are starting to make a name for themselves in the media industry here.
Among them are Cebu Daily News (CDN) Digital’s Christian Gerard Jamora and Jessa Ngojo.
Both are CDN Digital’s contestants for the Mr. and Ms. Press Freedom pageant of the annual Press Freedom week.
Jamora is a multimedia specialist for the marketing department of CDN Digital while Ngojo is a social media specialist in the newsroom.
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The two graduated in May 2023 from the same school, the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R), where they also worked together in their department’s publication.
In an interview, the two Siloys shared their CDN journey, as well as their thoughts on celebrating the Press Freedom week.
Road to Siloy’s nest
Jamora heard about CDN Digital when he was in college and thought it would be a great opportunity to be part of the company once he finished his studies.
Ngojo, on the other hand, learned about CDN from a newspaper when the media outfit was still in print publication. CDN used to be a newspaper until it shifted to fully digital in 2019.
Her father and other members of the family used to read the CDN’s newspaper.
“To be honest, ‘yung unang naka catch sa akong attention was the header sa Cebu Daily News because it’s blue and it’s very big,” she said.
Her hobby in reading led her to join reading contests, and later on she competed in various press conference competitions, which cultivated her journalism skills.
From there, she became part of her school’s publication and decided to join the field of journalism.
“Karon gani nga bag-uhay pako nagsugod as a social media specialist sa CDN Digital kay murag fulfilled na akoang na feel then there’s nothing more fulfilling nga mo continue ko’s akong journey as a journalist with CDN,” she said.
Ngojo said she wanted to be part of the media industry because of the responsibility.
“[In the media industry] it’s not just posting about information. You must also check if the information is correct and is verified. With that information that you post, you are able to help the public,” she said.
Jamora: No regrets
On the other hand, Jamora never expected to be part of the media industry because he was undecided at one point.
“Naa man gyud ko’y gusto nga padulngan puhon because I always wanted to be a film maker, but knowing the industry and everything in the Philippines, it really pushed me back to pursue that kind of track (media),” he said.
He added that it was also the reason he took Communication as his degree program in college, instead of enrolling in film school.
“I loved to be a Communication student kay na feel sad nako nga dinha ko na belong knowing that my love and passion for film actually connects through Communication. When you’re a film maker, you also connect with your audience, you communicate with your audience,” he said.
Communication led him to join the media industry and he says he doesn’t regret being part of the industry now.
“[Being in media industry] is like making film gihapon but it is kind of complicated because you should be more responsible with all the work that you do,” he said.
Expectation vs reality
Ngojo says there is little difference between the things she learned in college and what she’s experiencing now as a professional.
“In college, we were taught to be ready in times ‘to get our hands dirty’ because mao gyud na ang top responsibility sa journalist, ang pagkuha sa imong own source not just to rely yourselves into other people or on the sources of other people.”
Jamora agreed with Ngojo, adding that being well trained when they were in college really helped him now.
“Malipay lang sad mi nga gihasa mi daan bisag nag eskwela pami ato nga time. Gipakita na mi daan kung unsa gyud ang reality being in the professional world of media,” he said.
The two of them also agreed that joining the media industry for the first time was overwhelming.
“But still, ang tanang nakat-unan pag college, naa ra diay gihapon diri [sa industry] and we are blessed nga nakat-unan to namo tanan,” he said.
Ngojo looked back on the days where she used to take turns with Jamora in covering events inside their university. She expressed that the experience is similar but compared with her current work where she gets to cover or write two to three stories a day is completely different.
“Pag college kay hapit na ko kahilakon kay di ko kasuwat og usa ka article, dili nako mahuman. [But despite that] makita nimo imong growth from the people that helped you in honing your craft,” she said.
Ngojo said that her instructors in high school inspired her to be part of the media industry. At first, she did not believe she would be fit for journalism because she described herself as “Jack of all trades.”
Ngojo is also grateful to her parents, especially her Tatay Bernard, for being very supportive. The support from her parents motivated her, especially whenever she felt that she was not doing good in her job.
Unlike Ngojo’s experience, Jamora said he did not have the kind of people who would support him in his endeavor because he grew up in the province.
“Kung mahibaw-an sa mga taw nga ni pursue ka og ingon ani nga degree, dili kaayo nila ma appreciate because they think dili gyud ka madato ani. Something like that.”
It actually came to a point that he did not want the people to know what he really wanted. Despite the setbacks, Jamora considered them as his motivation.
“Someday, I will prove them wrong,” he said.
Cebu media organizations united in Press Freedom week
Ngojo believes that the return of the Mr. and Ms. Freedom competition is a sign of unity among the Cebu media organizations.
“With the journalists’ state lately, being red-tagged, being called names, now is the time of the members of the media to unite and re-evaluate kung unsa gyud ang ilahang purpose, especially karon sa pag change sa dynamics sa atoang nation,” she said.
According to her, the Mr. and Ms. Freedom is a way to show people that Cebu media organizations are united to achieve the same goal in promoting journalism.
Jamora agreed with Ngojo.
He said that at the end of the day, even if there are different media outlets, the journalists share the same goal, which is to purvey the truth.
“Press Freedom Week is a very nice event kay magkahiusa ang tanan media outlets nga mapakita nato nga we are united as one, serving one people at the same time.”
For both Ngojo and Jamora, service to the people is what makes them proud of being part of the Cebu media industry.