Vesagas: My First five years in print media

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Friday, December 20, 2013

DECEMBER 20 will always be special for me as last 2008 my first ever article, which was about caring for someone with diabetic foot, was published in a community paper— Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

Though I never really had the intentions then of keeping a regular column, I was nevertheless offered by Sir Froilan, JB and Danni.
Little did I know that writing for Sun*Star will become a part of my already hectic schedule for the next five years.

And so, my picture, name and written words have been appearing in this paper every Tuesday and Friday with ‘Careline’ as what my column was originally named.

At first the topics I covered were limited to sharing my knowledge about providing nursing care as a registered nurse I was.

Later on, as I earned more clinical experiences and eventually obtained my second license as a registered midwife, I began writing about maternal and child health.

Feeling that there was plenty of room for growth in what started to be a leisure or past time—I had always loved to write even in elementary, high school and college days—I started attending different trainings and workshops in writing for print media.

By 2010, I formally ventured the arena of working for the print media.
That time, a window of opportunity opened as Sun*Star Cagayan was in need of an Editorial Assistant who could also function as a proofreader as well.

So there I was not only serving as a liaison officer between the editorial and marketing departments but also writing as a staff member of the paper.

I was task to attend lay forums and press conferences for as long as it was health-related.

Also that time I was able to write all sorts of stories from reportorial, editorial to columns.

I also wrote stories for the Sunday cover stories and the then vividly graphic Live pages.

By this time, the name of my column was ‘Nurse Station.’

It was also that year that I was sent by Danni, the then editor of this paper, to GMA-7 in Manila to cover their 60th anniversary.

And lastly, I was tasked to check on the activities of journalism interns from Mindanao State University- Marawi and Ateneo de Zamboang University.
Since 2010 was a year of a national election, I was able to observe and experience how bustling it was for media practitioners to deliver the news or get the message across and that election-related anomalies among candidates are a reality in our setting.

Nevertheless, I learned a lot from such experiences.

My editorial assistantship was short-lived for I never really had the intentions of making it my bread-and-butter and so I departed the same year and entered graduate school at Xavier University as a Sociology major.

However, I was never totally cut off from the print media as I have been maintaining the column that I had started.

As I studied society and learned more about the dynamics of population pressure, poverty and social inequalities among many others, I decided to expand the topics of my column to include issues that are within the scrutiny of a sociologist.

Many of which encompassed topics about the importance of population control, political bureaucracy and cultural practices that may or may not have direct effects on health.

In 2011, the time when the then Reproductive Health (RH) Bill was very contentious, I was writing prolifically about the said bill.

Although obviously, I must admit that I was a Pro-RH bill, I had always presented my propositions in my columns in a balanced state without being biased or appearing to be ‘brain washing’ the public readers who could be for or against the said bill then.

RH bill was so sensationalized that I received a good number of invitations through my email to give short talks in universities and colleges regarding the points I had raised in the paper.

Furthermore, as I went along this craft, I had stumbled across expert writers like Mr. Henrylito Tacio, who had served as my mentor.

Some of the noteworthy tips that Mr. Tacio taught me in writing include proper citations and referencing especially for highly technical medical processes or conditions; putting people in paper to add not only credibility but also authority to the article; and include statistics as figures never fail to catch any reader’s attention.

Past editors also advised me to study articles written by other medical journalists like Mr. Literatus, whose articles always appeared in Sun.Star Cebu.

And from there I make my own style of writing.

I could not really say that I’ve gone a long way in this field.
But perhaps one indicator of such was the kind of fame I enjoyed: I get emails, comments from different people globally as the articles are also published online.

Secondly, at times my articles are published in Cebu and other Sun.Star outlets.

Lastly, some researchers contact me asking to use my article as reference for their thesis.

My heartfelt thanks to past editors: Sir Froilan, Danni, Ma’am Terry, Sir Chris and to the current editor Ma’am Grace.

And to all the past staff members that I have worked with like Ma’am Anabelle and Nicole and the then General Manager Ma’am Emily.

Thank you!


Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 21, 2013.


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