April 26, 2018, 7:28 pm
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The beautiful trauma called Malaya


Malaya may not exactly be the most popular publication in town, yet to this day our newspaper commands a sense of respect, reverence even, not only among people who made it a habit to read it, but also those fortunate enough to become part of it.

I joined Malaya in 1995 as an intern and I carried with me an attitude that can rival all the so-called millennial baggage we complain about today. 

I was blindly self-assured, yet I carried the mindset that I was entitled to some sort of hand-holding by my trainor.

I met my trainor on the first day, DJay Lazaro. She covered the Elliptical beat, which according to her included Environment, Agriculture, and Agrarian Reform departments. She told me to cover the DENR.

The next time I saw Lazaro was two months later. There was none of the hand-holding that I expected. 

Apparently, the unwritten policy in Malaya was practicum-er or not, as long as you are writing for the paper, you are expected to start acting as a journalist. 

You must enterprise for your own story, determine your angle for the slug, write your article without having a mentor looking over your shoulder, and defend what you wrote directly to the desk.

Absolutely no safety net. Be a reporter or fail trying.

I failed so many times. 

From my OJT days to up to the time I was taken in as a full time reporter in 1998, I was shouted at countless times by the legendary Ma. Teresa Molina. 

This was actually the easy part.

The more traumatic ones were the call from Joy delos Reyes because despite his gentle manner of talking, you would easily reckon by his line of questioning that I forgot an important detail, or worse, I missed out on correct story angle. He makes you question your worth as a journalist.

I remember waking up early each day to get a copy from the newspaper stands to see how my story was massacred by my editors, curiously feeling in awe at how they beautifully ripped my story apart into something worth being published in Malaya.

Of course, there was the very nurturing Che Francisco who would always encouraged us reporters. 

But it is with this daily grind of correcting and learning that toughened me up and made me a better reporter, writer, and today, a communications strategist. 

I owe Malaya so many things in my career.

I am inclined to think that since it has earned the unofficial name Malaya University, many more like me have been honed in the discipline of critical thinking, attitude of fearlessness, and the craft of writing.

This is, for me, Malaya. It’s not just a newspaper, it is an institution worthy of the great ones and, in my case, a blessing that many others like me continue to be thankful for to this day.
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