Category: Newsroom Tales

NEWSROOM TALES

From the great beyond It was the biggest story of the day. On June 7, 2017, Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Boniel had been shot by her own husband, her body…

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From the great beyond

It was the biggest story of the day.

On June 7, 2017, Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Boniel had been shot by her own husband, her body wrapped in a fishnet and weighted with stones, then thrown into the sea, according to a witness. Continue Reading

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Newsroom tales

When death is near SUPERBALITA reporter Sheila Gravinez was in the Provincial Capitol when a magnitude 6.9 earthquake (“linog ” in Cebuano) hit Cebu in February 2012, leading to the…

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When death is near

SUPERBALITA reporter Sheila Gravinez was in the Provincial Capitol when a magnitude 6.9 earthquake (“linog ” in Cebuano) hit Cebu in February 2012, leading to the cancellation of the Capitol press conference.

Monitoring the developments along Osmeña Blvd. near the Capitol before going home, she saw people running as rumors started going around that Cebu had been hit by a tsunami and that the water was already near Robinsons Fuente, just a kilometer away. Continue Reading

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NEWSROOM TALES

Is that you? Following the 2004 discovery of the mega shabu laboratory in Mandaue City, Cebu, Sun.Star Cebu chief photographer Alex Badayos was sent to cover a hearing on the…

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Is that you?

Following the 2004 discovery of the mega shabu laboratory in Mandaue City, Cebu, Sun.Star Cebu chief photographer Alex Badayos was sent to cover a hearing on the case when he chanced upon a woman who looked like his friend walking outside the courthouse as he approached the building.

“Hi, classmate! Kumusta? (How are you?),” Badayos warmly greeted the woman with an arm around the woman’s shoulder.

Surprised, the woman quickly moved away and without a word, walked up the courthouse steps. Continue Reading

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Snapshots of days past

“Take care of all your memories… for you can’t relive them.” —Bob Dylan, “Open the Door, Homer,” from “The Basement Tapes” [1975] Orlando C. Sanchez and Johnny Bitang Sr. were…

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Orlando C. Sanchez and Johnny Bitang Sr.

“Take care of all your memories… for you can’t relive them.”
—Bob Dylan, “Open the Door, Homer,” from “The Basement Tapes” [1975]

Orlando C. Sanchez and Johnny Bitang Sr. were my colleagues in The Freeman and Sun.Star. As their editor, I had worked closely with them, when the going was tough and journalism was both arduous and fun and better things were still to come. Mitch Albom wrote in “For One More Day” [2006] that “sharing tales of those we’ve lost is how we keep from really losing them.” Even better, tell the stories, share those memories before the mind closes its doors. Continue Reading

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NEWSROOM TALES

Wrong ‘mayor’ The host of a radio station’s night talk show contacted by phone a reporter of its sister TV station. The reporter was then in Dumaguete City to pursue…

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Wrong ‘mayor’

The host of a radio station’s night talk show contacted by phone a reporter of its sister TV station. The reporter was then in Dumaguete City to pursue the story on the killing of lawyer Noel Archival. Archival was returning from a court hearing in Dumaguete when his vehicle was ambushed by armed men in Dalaguete, Cebu.

After getting an update from the reporter, who said “Mayor” was with him, the host asked that the mayor be put on the line.

For 30 minutes or so, the two talked about the incident, with the host believing it was the Dumaguete mayor he was interviewing. Continue Reading

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NEWSROOM TALES

Ecleo, no! Told about a planned police operation against fugitive Ruben Ecleo Jr. who faces two arrest warrants, a news editor asked the chief photographer to assign a photographer to…

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Ecleo, no!

Told about a planned police operation against fugitive Ruben Ecleo Jr. who faces two arrest warrants, a news editor asked the chief photographer to assign a photographer to accompany a reporter who’d cover it.

Ecleo, supreme master of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association and former congressman, was convicted in the murder of his wife Alona Bacolod-Ecleo and on two counts of corruption. Ten years earlier, on his first arrest, a gunfight claimed 20 lives when police descended on his hometown in Dinagat Island, Surigao.

The photo chief asked the photographer if he’d cover the planned new raid. He refused so the chief turned to other photographers. Continue Reading

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NEWSROOM TALES

Beauty under fire Years before Ryan Borinaga became entertainment editor of Banat News, he was a hard-news reporter covering police and military. Gay and proud, Ryan wants to look his…

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Beauty under fire

Years before Ryan Borinaga became entertainment editor of Banat News, he was a hard-news reporter covering police and military.

Gay and proud, Ryan wants to look his loveliest when he steps out. Before going to bed, he is fastidious in his beauty routine.

One night, he was about to doze off when his newsroom alerted him about a fire that struck the old high school building of University of Cebu along Sanciangko St., Cebu City.

He jumped out of bed and, with a bag that contained notebook, pen and recorder, he rushed to join other reporters at the fire scene.

And they stared and stared at him as he went about his work.

Back in the boarding house, he knew why he grabbed their attention: his face was still covered with the white bleaching cream he had put on before going to bed. Continue Reading

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NEWSROOM TALES: “Press photographer ko!”

Most guidelines of newspapers and broadcast stations include the reminder to wear one’s press ID “and other visible insignia.” That’s more useful in crisis situations such as protests, riots, and…

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Most guidelines of newspapers and broadcast stations include the reminder to wear one’s press ID “and other visible insignia.”

That’s more useful in crisis situations such as protests, riots, and the like to tell clashing groups that one is a journalist and not a participant in the conflict.

Not all the time though.

During a standoff in Bogo, Cebu, still a municipality at the time, when supporters of the mayor prevented Commission on Elections officials and the police from taking ballot boxes containing election returns from the town hall, thugs pounced on Alex Badayos, Sun.Star Cebu chief photographer. Continue Reading

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NEWSROOM TALES: Veteran broadcaster

Those were the days when broadcast stations had no reporters and relied on the newspapers for their local news. One morning, S.D. Tecson, handling the morning prime news slot of…

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Those were the days when broadcast stations had no reporters and relied on the newspapers for their local news.

One morning, S.D. Tecson, handling the morning prime news slot of dyRC, marked stories on a copy of “Republic Daily” (fetched by a messenger from the paper’s office and printing plant along Colon, near D. Jakosalem St.). He numbered the stories in the order in which he would read them. Continue Reading

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