The annual Campus Journalism Awards (CJA), a La Salle tradition, was organized and held by Green and White, the official yearbook publication of De La Salle University, last August 6th. The Campus Journalism Awards has honed the journalistic skills of Lasallians for the last 27 years—DLSU has always valued the craft of journalism, and this event is a quarter of a century testament to that fact. The theme of this year’s CJA was “Nation Building Through Effective Journalism”, with the goal of propagating media awareness and shedding light on the issues that plague journalism as a medium for nation building.
Delegates hailed from Lasallian institutions across the country, including De La Salle University-Dasmariñas, University of St. La Salle-Bacolod, and De La Salle-John Bosco College, among others. These participants had the task of discussing the role that journalism has to play in the growth and improvement of the Philippines. However, the event hit a few speed bumps along the way. Due to the bad weather, the event had to be pushed back a month, which caused more than a few headaches for the organizers. They had to deal with rebooking the room reservations that had come into conflict with other events and working out the schedule with their speakers, who had already blocked the original date off. In the end, however, Green and White were able to put together an event worthy of the long running Campus Journalism Awards.
The event featured workshops on nearly every facet of media from News Casting, to Feature Writing, to everything in between. Aside from interesting talks from prominent figures from the myriad fields of journalism, attendees of the CJA participated in workshops that were designed to test their journalistic mettle. They were placed in “realistic” scenarios that they would have to face as journalists in the future. For example, participants of the News Casting workshop were tasked with setting up a broadcast for a fictional calamity. The speaker and the participants role-played for the purposes of the exercise, with participants playing the role of journalists, while the speaker played the part of a state representative during a press conference. Participants had to ask him questions and were then tasked with setting up a rough draft of the broadcast. Based on their performance in each of the workshops, the highest performing attendees were recognized for their efforts in the awarding ceremony held at the end of the CJA.
Green and White were able to gather paragons of the journalistic field, who were able to shed light not only on the logistic nature of their profession, but also the more idealistic side, which aligned with the event’s theme. Their talks discussed every nook and cranny of the journalistic trade, talking about everything from the heart-pounding dangers of wartime journalism rife with government surveillance, to horror stories of journalistic fatalities, to the more mundane reality of late nights spent meticulously designing and redesigning their layout.
The meat of the event, however, was the portion of each workshop dedicated to the discussion of the role of the journalist in modern society and, for the purposes of this year’s theme, nation building. This portion was dedicated to discussions of journalistic responsibility and integrity, as the speakers imparted the wisdom of their years to the next generation of greenhorns about to take their first baby steps into the world of journalism. Certain speakers talked about how journalism is there to hold a mirror up to society, in general, and how a journalist’s work should be a vector for the dissemination of beauty, culture, and knowledge. Journalism is supposed to be a lightning rod for all of a society’s ideas, where the legion opinions of a people are given a voice. Relevant insights were given on the point of nation building, as well—a responsible journalist owes it to his country to point out the ills of his nation and government, for example.
Indeed, journalism is an integral dimension of society, and should hold a state accountable to its people. It’s a journalist’s duty to play devil’s advocate. They will sometimes be reviled for it, but therein lays a journalist’s burden. The harsh truth is not always what people want to hear. However, it is a journalist’s job to tell people not what they want to hear, but what they need to hear.
The event was littered with such insights, which attendees are sure to carry with them. Despite the roadblocks present, the CJA pushed through and succeeded, continuing its legacy as a celebration of the art and industry of journalism.
“The truth is heavy, therefore few care to carry it.” –Winston Churchill