EYES WIDE OPEN
MALOLOS, Bulacan - The Bulacan State University's AB Journalism program was still in its fledgling stage when the single deadliest attack on the media - the November 23, 2009 Ampatuan massacre, in which 32 of the 58 victims were media workers - happened.
The issues - safety, welfare and ethics, among others - that became subjects of discussion within the Philippine media community and even in other circles in the wake of the carnage also jolted the administrators of the BSU's journalism program into realizing that, while their pioneer class was learning the craft, they had no idea of the realities, including the risks, of the profession they hoped to enter.
The realization led to the development of "Special Problems in Journalism," a senior course that exposed students to the actual issues journalists often face - from physical threats to economic welfare.
To make sure the course was grounded on reality, they engaged Bulacan journalist Dino Balabo of Mabuhay newspaper and provincial chairman of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines to teach it.
As they near the end of their college years, the BSU’s pioneer journalism class say they have seen the profession they wish to enter up close and personal, warts and all, and, while the apprehensions are there, are eager to go in with eyes wide open..