A blank page

By Marifi Jara

IT has been a pleasure working on the submissions of The Sunday Punch’s on-the-job trainees from Colegio de Dagupan and the University of the Philippines Baguio in the past couple of months. Since I telecommute, I haven’t had the pleasure of actually meeting them on presswork days at the office, but I feel that I know them a little, having had a glimpse of their thoughts through their raw Young Roots pieces. That is the power of the written word and by extension, the value of journalism.

I do hope that some of them will pursue a career in print journalism, although based on my experience teaching a few years ago in UP Baguio, broadcast media, television in particular, seems to be the more attractive option for the young generation, a generation that is highly inclined to visuals. This is not a bad thing at all, it just saddens me thinking that the print tribe, especially community journalists, is not being infused with as much young blood as it needs.

It’s very tempting to make a pitch here to try to convince them to give print journalism a shot, blabber on about using it as their initial training ground in preparation for the emerging mixed-media trend with internet TV and online journalism all coming into one brew. But I won’t.

I will simply wish them well with the hope that they learned some useful insights in their brief stop with us here in The Punch. At the very least, I hope that no matter what career they eventually pursue, they will carry with them the value of integrity – that they will always remember that plagiarism is a form of stealing and it is the way of the lazy and the wicked.

It’s a most exciting time for these young adults. Now I can’t help getting nostalgic, remembering re-living how giddy I felt almost two decades ago when I graduated from college, looking forward to all the adventures waiting out there in the big world.

At this point in their lives, they hold in their hands a blank page.

Some of them perhaps already got their stories outlined (heading for law school, a master’s degree, on to TV?), while others could still be grappling with choices, weighing such considerations as helping the family, giving back to the community, making a lot of money, becoming somebody.

No matter, the important thing is to have a vision of who and where you want to be. The power to write (hint, hint) your future is there.

There will be challenges, many and sometimes quite heavy; there will be detours that will give a feeling of being lost in the journey; there will be crossroads, and the decision on which road to take will not always be easy. Take it all in as part of your story.

So, what is your tale going to be?

Keep writing! And as I always close in my perhaps annoying, demanding e-mail feedbacks, cheers!

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