It’s another good news to greet, among many, now that the pandemic is good as over. They call it press conferences involving campus journalists. The Department of Education (DepEd) has taken it seriously that, as a result, some of the student journalists involved learn their craft with mastery.

Even before the pandemic came, press conferences at various levels were already active and vibrant. From the school-level selection, potential contestants are screened up to the district level, division level, regional level, and finally, national level where the best of the best in their respective genres come out as champions.

This series of press conferences was halted only during the pandemic years when classes were held online, through virtual classrooms. It’s a good thing that now, these confabs are back again, with renewed enthusiasm and vigor. Student journalists are again competing with their pens, their cameras, their sketch materials, their voices, and so on, depending on the journalistic genres they are competing in.

These activities are not strange to me, though I am not connected with DepEd, the reason being that, since the 90s up to now, I am still continuously hired by Presscon organizers either as a lecturer or a judge in various competitions. Most of the time, it’s the latter that I get involved in. I’ve been a judge countless times already such that some paper adviser would jokingly call me, Doms the great.

This season, in fact, there have been plenty of invitations for me to train campus paper writers, particularly individual writing categories such as editorial writing, news writing, feature writing, editorial cartooning, science and technology writing, and many more. Invitations to judge have also been conveyed to me. Somehow, those who invite me don’t get frustrated because, not to brag, I am able to deliver the appropriate services.

Why, I’ve been a practitioner in many of these journalistic genres. I was a cartoonist in high school, chief editor in college, and paper adviser after I joined the academe. Not only that but, since then, I’ve been a newspaper cartoonist, columnist, and editorial writer up to now. Moreover, I was able to write and publish books in these genres: editorial writing, editorial cartooning, and feature writing.

In fact, many students are using these books as guides in their journalistic pursuits, having bought their copies before. It gladdens me to see that these young journalists are capturing the journalistic skills that could make them skillful and responsible journalists someday. I’m overjoyed, too, that I am somehow instrumental in their development as writers, thanks to the resumed press conferences nowadays.

Surely, these are activities that pay off. Credits to the DepEd for these confabs, as well as to the teacher-advisers and student journalists for their untiring efforts.