For Francesca Alexis B. Santiago, being young does not exclude one from understanding issues that concern Philippine society.
“I realized that the youth can become instruments in instigating the change that we want in society,” she declared confidently. Francesca continues what she has started as a cub reporter and editor for Colegio San Agustin’s grade school papers as she presently edits the news section of Insights, the official high school paper. Since 2012, she has been their school’s representative to the NSPC, usually for the collaborative publishing category. They’ve topped the regionals and eventually placed well in the nationals.
However, she admitted that like many kids, she initially did not find journalism interesting. “At first I don’t really have much interest. It was actually my mom who encouraged me,” she revealed. “Sir [Marvin Enderes, her grade school paper adviser] saw that I was actually good at news writing. I realized then that I had potential.”
Like many millennial journalists, she finds social media a rich source of materials that she could write articles from. But she knows this early the difference between credible and fake news sources.
“There are times that while going through my feeds, I see a link to an article that really wows me or catches my interest,” she said. “If I find the writing style good, I’ll try to at least learn from that style and incorporate it in my writing.”
She added that her first venture into “collab” was a little nerve-wracking, because of the pressure from coming from an “elite” school and its access to resources. There were also no fact sheets – only a topic issued right during the competition. “But I just tried to make the most of the situation. It helped that I read in advance, so when they presented the topic, I was ready.”
Frances shared that she would find “collab” more enjoyable. “In individual contests, there is a big pressure to win, but during the contest proper, you are on your own – you cannot ask for help from your adviser or classmates. In ‘collab’ you work with a team, and they will encourage you if you feel pressured. You work together to come up with your best.”
Her editorial piece that appeared for The Augustinian Mirror helped it clinch the Best Editorial Page in the NSPC. Does she see herself doing this long-term? “Yes I see myself continuing, probably even in college or beyond that. My accidental discovery of campus journalism is something I will never ever regret.”