Fresh from their unexpected first-place finish in the Online Publishing contest of the National Secondary Schools Press Conference in Pagadian City, the young campus journalists from the Catanduanes National High School disclosed that they had barely two weeks of training for the event staged for the first time.
Dave Tolentino, the CNHS publishing team’s official coach said they were originally vying to win the Collaborative Desktop Publishing (CDP) contest since they were adjudged third place in said group event during NSPC 2016 in Koronadal City.
“We tried to beat our last year’s NSPC standing in CDP but we lost. We didn’t even make it to the top seven,” he said.
In CDP contest, competing teams are required to cover a mini press conference and an actual sports game as sources of stories in producing an A4-size, 4-page, full-colored newsletter, simulating the workplace of an editorial department in a publishing house.
Tolentino said winning the Online Publishing contest was unexpected for his team who devoted much of their time and energy in daily CDP trainings scheduled after class hours.
“We trained for Online Publishing barely two weeks before the competition and the kids successfully nailed it. Their efforts in taking Catanduanes to the limelight of the biggest nationwide contest in campus journalism are worth commending,” he added.
Writing for netizens might obligate teams to be cyberspace-savvies but apart from this, the basic skills required in publishing stories in print and online are just the same, said Danielle Anne Abundo, news writer of CNHS publishing team.
“Teamwork and journalistic writing prowess were same keys we used to cop this new group event. We have just applied what we learned in CDP but in a different platform,” said Abundo who was a CDP contender in last year’s NSPC.
But she added: “[Online Publishing] contest was quite challenging for we did not really know what to expect from representatives of Rappler as facilitators of the competition,” she said.
The seven-member team of Jona Mae Camacho, Danielle Ann Abundo, Nathaniel Hannycel Nuyda, Christian Kenneth Tejada, Anjhelica Magbanua, Zaccharine Vargas and Erwin James Gianan outshined their counterparts from 17 other regions all over the country to clinch a first place win in the English category of the competition.
For the first time, the Department of Education (DepEd) partnered with social news network Rappler and its civic engagement arm MovePH for the conduct of Online Publishing tilt as this year’s demonstration contest. Teams who vied in CDP contest were the same teams who competed in Online Publishing.
During the competition, contestants were tasked to create their online news blog so they could experience how to work in a cyber-news network, delivering stories to a wider audience.
“It’s amazing how our team pulled off this victory since we came from an island province recording slow internet connectivity,” added Abundo who is also the present editor in chief of The Synchronizer.
The Synchronizer is one of the few high school publications in the province which pioneer the use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter as an alternative medium of publication.
Two other campus writers from the Catanduanes division’s elementary level garnered awards in their respective individual events.
John Carlo Oclares of Tinago Elementary school won 2nd place in Editorial Writing (Filipino) while Valeree Marie G. Estrella of Virac Pilot Elementary School placed 7th in News Writing (Filipino). Mr. Ricky Tid and Mrs. Thielen Go are their coaches, respectively.
The Catanduanes delegation, composed of 21 campus journalists, five teacher-advisers and two Education Program Supervisors (EPS), was headed by Dr. Gina B. Pantino, EPS in English and Campus Journalism Coordinator of DepED - Catanduanes.
“I would like to personally thank the remarkable support extended to journalism by our SDS Ma’am Socorro V. dela Rosa, ASDS Maam Bernie Despabiladero, district supervisors, school heads and parents,” Dr. Pantino said.
The supervisor also expressed gratitude for the financial aid given by Gov. Joseph Cua and Vice Gov. Shirley Abundo.