WHEN former US president Barack Obama recently delivered his valedictory in Chicago, he summed up the achievements of his eight years in the White House stating, “yes we did.” It was a play on the phrase “Yes we can,” the slogan that he used when he first ran for president in 2008 and later in his reelection bid in 20012.
I would imagine President Rodrigo Duterte’s speechwriters, when they write his valedictory in 2022, to also toy with the word “pagbabago” (change) that his campaign managers used to entice 16 million Filipinos to vote for him in last year’s polls. Would it be “change has been made”? Or the corny, “change we did”?
But there is one change that is no longer promised but has “come.” I am referring to SunStar Cebu’s redesign.
SunStar Cebu, since last Wednesday, has a totally different look and size, which is both a reaching out for the future and a moving away from the past. On this, the term “radical” is apt. And, the birth of things radical is often painful.
The past few days have wreaked havoc on the schedules and patience of SunStar Cebu editors. We did two dry runs and, when we worked on Wednesday’s issue, many of us with early deadlines completed our work at midnight. I lacked sleep for days after that, with the pressure easing up a bit only lately when I already had a feel of the design.
I joined the print media in the mid ‘90s or during the last gasp of the typewriter. My workstation in The Freeman had that typewriter, meaning minus the wirings that adorn present editorial office workstations. We did the editing on typed materials by hand and relied heavily on proofreaders. Those were, I would say, simpler times.
Then the first “change” I experienced as a print media practitioner came, I think, in 1995 when computer people introduced to us the word “network,” bringing with them an equipment with a screen like a TV set where green letters typed on a “keyboard” appeared, letters that we could edit out before we could see the printed product.
Soon the familiar click-click of the typewriters got muted.
But not totally, as there were some holdouts. The late Abe Licayan, a veteran presence in the newsroom, and a few others insisted on the use of the typewriter even if the rest of us adopted the new technology with the promise that it would make our work more efficient and faster.
More changes would come with the full use of the internet and as digital technology advanced by leaps and bounds.
In SunStar where I transferred in 1997, every introduction of new technology that would better newsroom work was adopted.
The most difficult for us editors was when then editor-in-chief Pachico Seares introduced multi-tasking.
We were told to layout our own pages on our computers. So we became “layout artists” aside from being writers.
The dialectical materialist conception of change is that it is a jump from the quantitative to the qualitative.
After years of doing the same things over and over, SunStar Cebu is finally making that qualitative leap. Yes, change has come—and for the better.