Re­birth of a news­pa­per

Cebu Daily News - - OPINION - [email protected]­

This may well be the last piece of this col­umn that you are see­ing on print as your fa­vorite news­pa­per, the will be clos­ing its printed ver­sion on Mon­day. The tim­ing is sym­bolic as, amid the fes­tive wel­com­ing of the new year, meta­mor­phoses into a fully dig­i­tal on­line news­pa­per, thus go­ing into where most of its read­ers are in this new era: the in­ter­net.

We leave be­hind the old plat­form, and our read­ing habits with it, as we em­brace the new one and try to get our­selves used to the new rou­tine of check­ing

on­line for the lat­est news with our smart­phones or tablets while hav­ing cof­fee and pan de sal. While I grieve the pass­ing of an era, the age of print that ush­ered in a read­ing civ­i­liza­tion, I con­sole my­self with the thought that, with the ease of read­ing on screen, the un­lim­ited ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion on the web, and the many ways that we may now share or re­act to what we read, these new plat­forms should ac­tu­ally bring ideas in texts closer to peo­ple.

There are a lot of dis­ad­van­tages, too, of course. The rise and pro­lif­er­a­tion of fake news is one of the most glar­ing examples. This makes tra­di­tional me­dia out­fits, with their long-held com­mit­ment to ac­count­abil­ity and pro­fes­sion­al­ism, more im­por­tant as new­com­ers to so­cial me­dia. As peo­ple be­come more fa­mil­iar with the way fake news is gen­er­ated on­line, they will tend to re­vert to their old trusted news sources, the lo­cal news­pa­pers whose ad­dresses and au­thors they could al­ways find and ver­ify.

Some things will be missed for sure. I have got­ten used to read­ing the pa­pers with a pair of scis­sors as I usu­ally clip ar­ti­cles I like. These clip­pings travel into my grow­ing file, which started when I was still a stu­dent jour­nal­ist in col­lege. Back then, as bud­ding writ­ers, we were trained to keep clip­pings, scrawled with proper no­ta­tions, for fu­ture ref­er­ences.

That’s one habit I con­tinue to prac­tice and my own lit­tle ar­chive of clip­pings and col­lec­tion of books can pro­vide me with more than enough sources of in­for­ma­tion when I do re­search off-grid. Of course, my files of clip­pings in­clude my own ar­ti­cles and some draw­ings and car­toons I con­trib­uted to since I joined it as an ed­i­to­rial car­toon­ist nearly 20 years ago.

I lost track ex­actly when I started writ­ing this col­umn but I guess it was about 18 or so years ago when my by­line started ap­pear­ing in the opin­ion page first twice weekly, and later once. I have to ad­mit it wasn’t easy keep­ing a col­umn. You have to wake up and start star­ing at the empty screen of your lap­top hop­ing to find a topic with only a cou­ple of hours to your dead­line.

That ex­plains why from a bi­weekly col­umn, it later ap­peared only once a week, on Sun­days. I had to tell my ed­i­tor that twice a week was tak­ing a toll on me. There are times when colum­nists could not sleep over a badly writ­ten piece which is usu­ally the re­sult of haste. And few colum­nists are full time colum­nists. I wish I were. But, tak­ing it af­ter Um­berto Eco, I later learned to take columns as like sketches or pub­lic ver­sion of jour­nal en­tries. They al­ways tend to be ten­ta­tive.

Still, it has been a won­der­ful priv­i­lege writ­ing weekly for Leaf­ing through my old ar­ti­cles, I could see how I per­son­ally evolved as a writer, chang­ing my mind not a few times on cer­tain is­sues, al­ways try­ing to make sense of the or­di­nary things and ex­pe­ri­ences (I am glad that never re­ally re­quired me to take a par­tic­u­lar an­gle or topic, so I could write any­thing.).

So, I thank and the Philip­pine Daily In­quirer for giv­ing me that op­por­tu­nity and priv­i­lege. It has been an honor to have my by­line ap­pear on the pages and screens of this trusted news net­work that is now be­com­ing even big­ger in the on­line pub­lic sphere.




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