Speaking before over 50 journalism students from Polytechnic University of the Philippines reminded me a lot of how I started as a sportswriter.
I actually shared to them how I struggled at the very beginning. And it had a lot to do with my lack of commitment to read books and newspapers.
Since I had no input, naturally, there was no output when I applied as a V (Varsitarian) staffer at the University of Santo Tomas.
Because without me reading, I won’t be able to write anything significant, nor will I develop a style in writing. I won’t have a better grasp of grammar if I fail to read and observe how other writers write.
Fortunately, I have people who inspired me to become a sportswriter along the way.
My journalism classmate Jeremaiah was there to encourage me to try it out to become a V staffer. Yes, I failed twice, but through his sheer passion to write, I got “infected” by it.
From there, when I had my OJT (on-the-job) training at the Manila Times in 1996, my sports editor back then JR Alibutud and Bandera sports ed Winchell Campos (because Bandera and Manila Times used to be owned by the Gokongwei family) were there to guide me during the early stage of my career.
Twenty years after, I’m still here as a sportswriter, benefitting from the valuable tips I gained from the many mentors I’ve had along the way and the experiences I’ve gained as well.
This is what drives me (through Richard Dy Communications) to do campus journalism talks. And this is why I’m also bringing some of my colleagues to the campuses, because I know there are many Richard Dys, Mark Giongcos and Jerome Ascanos in the campuses, who, given the proper guidance, the right amount of encouragement and the vision, will be able to make their own mark in journalism.
And hopefully, through the time we give, we’ll be able to help produce some of the country’s best writers, who will use their talent and skills that will benefit others and above all, honor God.