Looking back now, it’s strange to think that for 16 months — a long term for an Editor in Chief, because of an academic calendar shift that led to an extended summer break — I lived and breathed The LaSallian.
I spent my breaks writing, editing, designing, or otherwise planning what next to write, edit, or design. There was always a problem to solve, maybe an irate interviewee or a staffer gone AWOL, a print issue to push out or another to start developing. I even had green hair to suit (it was meant to be blue, but at 21 I didn’t have the wisdom to use a toner, nor the money to buy one).
I was lucky in that I had a strong Editorial Board, and a lot of time to grow. After all, I had the benefit of a few years under mentors, having joined the organization in 2012 as a graphic artist, too nervous to apply for Menagerie but confident in front of an Adobe interface, before becoming Art & Graphics Editor in 2013. I was Associate Editor in 2014, and by the time I became Editor in Chief, I felt more than prepared.
The memories from that time are mostly fuzzy, but some remain sharp.
I remember, of course, the duty of it. Being the leader of the official student publication of DLSU, serving a 20,000-strong student body, is no small thing. Late nights, meetings with stakeholders, the constant checking and re-checking — it was all part of the job.
We had worked through the end of Aquino’s presidency to the rise of the older Duterte. We covered the opening of the Senior High School, the continued growth of the Science and Technology Complex, and the University’s response to drug-related deaths. There was also DLSU’s colorful student politics, which, in my year, involved impeachment cases and mass disqualifications. Towards the end of my term, I remember taking a rare night off with friends only to stumble across Taft Avenue less than sober because of a lockdown and a mysterious masked assailant.
Back then, still blessedly unaware of what a TikTok is, we grew our presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, while developing processes and a whole new organizational section that would allow us to keep doing so.
All this, we did together, knowing deep in our bones just how important student journalism was, and still is. The LaSallian is an organization that exists for something bigger than itself, and it’s geared primarily towards service to the community. Being the bastion of issue-oriented critical thinking wasn’t just a set of fancy words on our masthead; it was our North Star. It pulled us through all-nighters and difficult situations — some, admittedly, of our own making.
But more than the work itself (and at the risk of being perceived as a softie — I’ve been told that I could be scary) are the experiences that won’t make it to print or any sort of archive.
There is something special in seeing staffers hand-make our 10-point star standee from scratch because we didn’t have the budget to buy one, or chancing upon the stairs to the Br. Connon Hall rooftop being unlocked and enjoying the fresh air up there with whoever was in the office. I remember being in our temporary space in St. La Salle Hall, talking about everything from our pick of Agno meals to our not-so-favorite professors.
I remember seeing our reporters and photographers going places they’d never gone before, covering events they wouldn’t have attended, and learning from their seniors. (While in the closet, I attended my very first pride march under the guise of “covering” it, even if I had absolutely no official business being there.) I remember how it felt seeing our artists try something new or even draw each other, and what it was like becoming the very best friends with people I wouldn’t have met if we didn’t happen to hang out in the same office.
These days, I have a bit more appreciation for those little moments, which I took for granted in the midst of all the work involved, but in hindsight are just as valuable as what we published. Yes, The LaSallian is an organization that serves the community, but it also allowed us to grow — to learn to be a better student journalist, a better teammate, and a better citizen. It was there, after all, that I learned things no classroom could teach me, like how to stand for what I believe in, and that the secretaries of DLSU know absolutely everything.
When I read my old columns or look at my old infographics, my first reaction is to cringe at the style and laugh at my obvious bias for the em-dash (sorry, semicolon). But I’m also pleasantly surprised by a decently built argument here and there, and just how steadfast I had been, with all the passion of someone out to make a difference.
It feels like a whole lifetime ago. Being Editor in Chief of The LaSallian in those 16 months is a blessing from which so many others have stemmed, a burden I took very seriously, and the greatest honor of my student life.
Happy 63rd anniversary and thank you, TLS.
This article is an unedited submission from The LaSallian’s former editor in chief, offering a glimpse into the candid thoughts, insights, and perspectives of an individual who once steered the publication through the currents of time.
Marinel Mamac was the editor in chief (EIC) of The LaSallian in Academic Year (AY) 2015-2016, Associate Editor in AY 2014-2015, and Art & Graphics Editor in AY 2013-2014. Her EIC stint saw the publication writing on numerous issues both inside and outside the University. Electoral controversies rocked the USG, with impeachment trials emerging even as the special elections were underway. A campus lockdown due to a mysterious assailant stirred rumors among students, while a drug-related death in a music festival forced administrators to revisit its policies.
This was also the time when the 2016 national elections saw a supposed “outsider” win the presidency. The LaSallian extensively covered the national campaign trail, writing on the issues surrounding the elections and Lasallian volunteers in the electoral process, among other things.
As the Duterte administration dawned, a spate of street killings, in the guise of a “war on drugs”, welcomed it. The LaSallian, in its editorial Hell-bent and law-bending, criticized the new president for employing the kind of rhetoric that encouraged people to justify vigilante-style killings as a solution to drug-related crime.
Mamac graduated from DLSU in 2017 with a double degree in Communication Arts and Advertising Management. She is currently a writer and a researcher, with a Master’s Degree in Applied Media Studies and a budget, finally, for some purple shampoo.