TNPicks: Our Appreciation List for 2020

Campus journalists have been pulling long hours to report on local communities remotely since the pandemic forced schools to close last March. Even as the government enforced lockdowns, they continued to chronicle history and cover this year’s biggest stories inside and outside the campus: from the country’s botched response to the pandemic to remote learning difficulties. 

In some areas where there is a lack of local media, campus publications filled in the gaps by telling the stories of underreported communities. This is despite lack of funding and censorship — problems they’ve faced even before the pandemic. 

To wrap up 2020, we asked our editors and staffers to share their favorite stories and multimedia output from other student publications this year. Inspired by Bloomberg Business Week’s yearly Jealousy List, this appreciation list acknowledges the hard work of campus journalists who kept one ear to the ground despite numerous limitations. 

To our friends from other student publications, we thank you for your work.

Tinig ng Plaridel 

Bea Sancio, Multimedia Editor
Top pick: AXIS: Lost in Translation by The Guidon (Ateneo De Manila University)
Produced by Alithea C. Soriano, Margarita C. Gonzalez, Jyra Zoe T. Ang, Jason Mariano, Bea Bacason, Mariana Gardoce, Danielle R. Garcia
Written by Pioee B. Bassig, Derick M. Gabrillo, Julian Michael Maiz
Directed by Julian Michael Maiz and Tintin Sinamban
Shot by Julian Michael Maiz, Kristine Sinamban, Rafa Mikael D. Villon
Edited by Kristine Sinamban 

This year, the complete shift of campus publications to online spaces came with the demand for more audio-visual executions of information. Most notable is The Guidon’s 3-part docuseries, AXIS, which unpacks what became of the nation after the EDSA revolution. The first of the series, Lost in Translation, sheds light on why the Marcoses and other elite families have continuously risen to power even if the EDSA revolution was incited primarily to oppose them. This episode is excellently produced, fleshing out key insights while challenging its viewers to pay attention to the false narratives being woven by the Duterte administration.

Bonus picks: Creating Safer Spaces in the Academe by The Guidon; State of the Youth 2020: Campus Journalism under Siege by Tug-Ani; #UPDchancy Video Interviews by Philippine Collegian

Renz Palalimpa, Graphics Editor
Top pick: Metanoia: Layag, The Official Magazine of The Work
by The Work (Tarlac State University)

The Work did not miss a page in “Metanoia: Layag” – their excellent 112-page digital magazine. Every flip is a breath of fresh air – filled with professional visuals and stunning photography. The artwork on the magazine was unafraid of symbolizing the tragic realities of the nation in a pre-lockdown world. 

Consistent with the striking graphics on their social media pages, Tarlac State University’s The Work placed much effort on this release. With a smart choice of colors, fonts and illustrations, the wide range of their articles stand out. Through varying art styles, the large variety of topics covered in the magazine is highlighted.

Many campus publications have shifted almost completely online since stay-at-home orders have been put in place, and The Work has stood out with this piece. The staffers, editors and graphic designers who work for the publication must truly be applauded for all the work they put into the magazine.

Bonus picks: Strangled by Today’s Carolinian; Pinoy Resiliency by The Lathe; Martial Law is Here, Editorial Cartoon by Scientia; Arise by College Editors Guild of the Philippines, Central Luzon

Sofia Abrogar, Chief Photographer
Top pick: The Blue Normal Series [1] [2] [3]
by The Flame (University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Arts and Letters)

The photography section of any campus publication is arguably the most incapacitated by community lockdowns. Mobility restrictions under quarantine make it nearly impossible for photojournalists to do the one thing they must: be at the scene. The Flame, however, has cleverly bypassed these restrictions in their ‘The Blue Normal’ photo series, an intimate and solemnly personal look into the various stories of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The photos are sharp and succinct in their storytelling, consisting of familiar scenes captured in simple, but visually interesting and unique ways. Quarantine stories of various UST students accompany the photos.

Bonus pick: Human Rights’ Day photo coverage by Philippine Collegian

Jillian Velasco, Sports Editor
Top pick: The athlete’s power off the court
by Selina A. de Dios and Vito Martin of The Guidon (Ateneo De Manila University)

Gone are the days when athletes are just embroiling through their battles on the court. With how athletes gain a following through the years, they now play a significant role in using this platform to take part in a bigger game off the court. This Guidon piece takes us through how athletes powered over political discourses this 2020, from supporting the Black Lives Matter movement to opposing the controversial Anti-Terrorism Law. This year also saw several sports figures at the forefront of growing COVID-19 initiatives and utilizing their influence to call out unjust treatment against activists. 

Bonus picks: Stride in Pride: Demands of Filipino queer scientists by Scientia; The Reckoning by Budyong Online

Ingrid Delgado, Feature Editor
Top pick: ‘Di niyo ba naririnig?: Inside the NatDem Resistance
by Albert Bofill and Alexandra Simone Enriquez of The LaSallian (De La Salle University – Manila)

This story from The LaSallian takes a thorough look at the hopes and struggles of the National Democracy Movement by shedding light on the lives of student-activists and understanding what they stand for. In a time when dissent is being criminalized by the state and as the government continues to polarize their constituents, it is important to hear why activists do what they do. The article successfully gives a face to an often misunderstood group through telling their stories that range from the political to the personal and where these two inevitably meet. 

Bonus picks: A Bridge Too Far and Higit pa sa Kathang Isip by Philippine Collegian; Blurring the big picture: Reviewing MTRCB censorship and Devotion and diversity: What makes fans gatekeep? by The LaSallian; Pretty in pink? by The Guidon

Jan Cuyco, News Editor
Top pick: No more malls: Baguio locals oppose impending public market privatization 
by Dianni Adrei Estrada of UPB Outcrop (University of the Philippines Baguio)

When talking about a looming privatization, jeepney drivers contending with the modernization program would usually break the headlines. Interestingly, UPB Outcrop walks us through a similar problem besetting local Baguio City vendors losing their bid on the development of their public market. As Robinsons Land Corp. is set to take over, locals worry that the mall chain will displace some 4,000 vendors and shrink the cultural footprint of the public market. This piece succinctly reports what this could mean for Baguio’s identity. It is a timely reminder that urban-like development hits the sharpest when locals are already losing their own claim to their public space.

Bonus picks: How a vague clause in a 2005 BOR decision made Sanchez eligible for a third term by UPLB Perspective; Insufficient DBM-approved budget UP budget risks derailing some plans for 2021 by Philippine Collegian; COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines: How and when will we get one? by Scientia; Psychological welfare during the COVID-19 pandemic by The LaSallian

Abby Boiser, Managing Editor
Top pick: Heroine in a Habit
by Nicolas Antonio of Philippine Collegian (University of the Philippines Diliman)

God had charted a vastly different path for the Benedictine nun—one that would take her out of the comforts of the convent to the streets with the poor and oppressed where, for her, Christ can truly be found.

Bonus picks: The Female of the Peasants, Reds, and Love as Spectacle by Philippine Collegian, Paying in scales, shells, and feathers by The Guidon, Aba Ginoong Barya, Nakapupuno Ka ng Alkansiya by Matanglawin Ateneo

Geraldine Santos, Associate Editor
Top pick: In search of a free Internet
by Claire Denise Sibucao of UPLB Perspective (University of the Philippines Los Baños)

As everyday affairs shift to the virtual world, more and more individuals have become potential victims of cybercrime, from online attacks to privacy invasion. UPLB Perspective’s article walks readers through the state officials’ weaponization of the internet to silence critics and control freedom of expression. The article illustrates this by enumerating arrests made against several social media users who posted their critiques on the government during the height of the lockdown. This, along with data mining ventures of social media companies and other private corporations, proves to be a risk of surveillance against progressive individuals — prompting readers to fight for democratic spaces in the ever-growing virtual sphere.

Bonus picks: More city vendors displaced by road clearing ops amid health crisis and By fever or by betrayal by UP Cebu Tug-ani; Bidding goodbyes: Several Elbi estabs close due to the pandemic by UPLB Perspective

Cristina Chi, Editor-in-Chief 
Top pick: How good (or bad) is the DOH reporting COVID-19 data?
by Jazryl Galarosa & Samantha Peniano of Scientia (University of the Philippines Diliman College of Science)

Scientia’s explainer on the Department of Health’s (DOH) communication of data to the public is one of the best news explainers on COVID-19 data that I’ve read from the campus press. With infographics by Hanz Salvacion, the piece gives a breakdown of the terminology used to record data and what the DOH can do to improve its reporting. This is a highly technical piece that educates readers on how to better understand the numbers while highlighting the importance of open science. To quote, “The agency’s deviance from proper data practices has gravely affected the public’s confidence in their data.” A major hat tip to the Scientia team and to the pool of experts in the story for focusing on this often overlooked aspect of the country’s response to the pandemic. 

Bonus picks: Looking Back: CCPO’s violent dispersal of protesters at UP Cebu by Tug-ani; UST Hospital retrenches workers, cites losses, P180M owed by PhilHealth by The Varsitarian; Health workers take the fall as gov’t inefficiency worsens COVID-19 pandemic and Reds by Philippine Collegian

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