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Serving the community, developing talents

The CYNOSURE
BY CRIS DIAZ

On July 2, 1989, the maiden issue of the Gold Star Daily went off the press. As usual, the doomsayers predicted that the paper will last only for three months. Understandably, the detractors were mostly publishers of the weekly newspapers.

The survival of the daily newspaper was not my major concern then. With Mr. Chu and Mr. Meñez combined business acumen, the paper’s survival was certain. However, with the lack of talents and an adamant business community (they’re used to weekly), the paper’s birth pains during the first three months of its operations were excruciating.

As Gold Star Daily’s pioneering Editor-in-Chief, I have to write news, determine the day’s banner story and headlines. Thanks to my journalistic training in coping with stress, albeit nocturnal character back in Cebu, I was able to take things in stride.

Thus, to lighten the load, recruiting reporters for the editorial staff was the next agenda. Admittedly, it is hard to recruit reporters for a daily where there is the lack of it. Besides, joining the world of journalists is an ordeal that only few could seriously reckon with. It is a profession that separates the men from the boys.

In a community with scarce talent, one has to bite the knife in getting what is available. After all, honing a well-meaning writer does not happen overnight. Amid the uncertainties though some souls have the guts to accept the challenge.

Patrick Sagun, then a fresh graduate from Cagayan de Oro City’s Pilgrim College together with Joey Nacalaban were the first Gold Star recruits. Both were assigned in the police beat. A few days later, Froillan Gallardo, an undergrad Thespian from Mindanao State University and Xavier University joined the editorial staff. Gallardo confessed that he was akin on Photography and Theater. Then, Herbie Gomez, another undergrad in Xavier University, with “poetry” as his background wanted to be a reporter. I hired them all. The late Romy Guidaben, of the then Office of the Media Affairs (OMA), was taken as official photographer.

Still, the editorial board would be incomplete without an associate who would assist in the editorial tasks. I took Bingo Alcordo, then station manager of DXCO.

With a semi-complete staff, Gold Star Daily waded through rough waters amid the consternation of weekly publishers. These weekly publishers often drop by the original editorial office located on Pacana Street abutting Velez Street. They visit the editorial office simply to find out if we are still kicking.

Three months since the paper went off the press in July 1989, and being the head of the Philippines News Agency, the government’s propaganda machine in Northern Mindanao, I have to leave Gold Star Daily while nursings its birth pains. While Gold Star Daily carved an indelible mark in community journalism, there is the frustration that some undeserving find their ways to leave bad influence among budding writers that I have left behind.

Nevertheless, asks about what I have accomplished as a journalist for over 40 years?

The putting up of Gold Star Daily, which provide direct and indirect employment and the hiring of potential writers were historical facts that form part among the many of my achievements.

Now, I am writing an opinion with the Mindanao Daily News, a Mindanao wide newspaper, while also writing for The Manila Times, a national daily with a more than 100 years in circulation and the oldest newspaper in the Philippines.

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