Istambay sa Mindanao

Personal blog of MindaNews' Walter I. Balane. Visit for more news, views and information on Mindanao.

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Location: Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Mindanao, Philippines

I'm Walter Balane. I am a journalist based in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Philippines. I initiated the group called Atong Press ( for press freedom and responsibility and media education in Bukidnon.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Essays: The Village Voice

Here is the front page of the laboratory newsletter published with the articles of my students during the MindaNews 1st GSIS Summer Youth Training Workshop on news writing from May 9-19, 2006.

I had a good time with my five students in the workshop. They were around the ages 10 -13. It was like a campo out with Glenn Paul, 13; Jo, 10; Raffy, 10; Joy, 10, and Senen, 12.

We covered basic news writing topics, like definition of news, purpose of news, news elements, news structure and news sense. We studied the contents of locals news papers and identified the "characteristics" of a news article that distinguishes it from other articles.

We focused on angling for news topics or news sense and also on techniques in writing news. I introduced to them the inverted pyramid as the illustration of how we use details in writing the story. We discussed about using the Wh + 1 H questions as a data gathering tool. We also touched on the importance of context, character and consequences.

We also discussed about the need for accuracy, truth and relevance so that news would be useful to its readers. We touched on some tips in interviewing and note-taking, which are important data-gathering skills. Also we discussed the importance of understanding the subject matter even before writing about it. Also, the vital news consideration for balance and fairness.

We did some field work and went to the public market, church and walked along the streets of the subdivision to observe what subjects around the area are news worthy. The topics in The Village Voice were taken from that "news walk". Some of them went "out" for the first time.

The students were focused on learning even if sometimes the subject bordered on complexities and sometimes long lectures! They also challenged me. Before going out to interview our major source of information, the president of the subdivision's homeowners association, we did a lot of simulation activities on interviewing, farming questions and note-taking.

They also had several trial articles.

The best part of it was the story-telling. The kids told stories of their best summers and also their exciting activities this summer. We also went out to take some "inato" snacks in the neighborhood on my birthday and also during our field work.

I could not speak for them if they learned a lot this summer, but their smiles and their casual speak showed that at least we had a good time learning from each other and had fun going together in a unique summer experience, right from our peaceful village in Davao City.

I'm sure of one thing: I learned a lot from the experience with them. I think they will become good leaders someday, and hopefully, some of them will become future journalists too!


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