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.

No prepared written translation. S.D. would translate it right from the paper, a major feat then as now.

Time for the newscast: intro music and spiel, and then S.D. opening with “Ug karon ang mga balita…”

Short pause, then …”(Loud expletive). Asa man ang akong Republic diri? (Where’s my Republic Daily?)

S.D. was so floored by the disappearance of the copy of his newscast that he forgot to switch off the mike.

It was never known who spirited away the copy of the newspaper and whether it was innocent prank or deliberate sabotage.

The storyteller also didn’t tell us how S.D. filled the half-hour with non-news. For sure though, the dead air was short-lived. After all, S.D. was truly a veteran.

News of death denied

At the necrological service for a colleague, Johnny Bitang, representing the Press Photographers of the Philippines (PPP), opened his speech in a loud voice:

“Dili tinuod! Si xxxxx wa mamatay!”

Henry Redula who attended the service with media buddies like Dodo Embrado and Abe Licayan, said, “Hala, gi-deny ni Johnny ang istorya. Di pa diay patay. (Look, Johnny is denying the story, he is not dead after all.)

That sent off ripples of muffled laughter in the group where the newsmen stood.

Then Johnny continued.

“Patay na siya. Pero buhi og magpabiling buhi siya sa atong mga panumduman. (He is dead but he is alive and will remain alive in our memories.)”

Henry quipped, “Maayo kay gi-clarify.”

One-man news agency

Joe Matinez ran probably the first “news agency” after the war.

His was not the kind of news agency that we know — corps of reporters and correspondents, transmission facilities, and a lot of news outlets as clients.

It was a one-man outfit. Joe gathering and writing the stories. Joe reproducing copies by typing the stories on bond paper with quadruplicate carbon paper. Joe delivering them to his clients. And Joe billing them and collecting payments, ranging from P20 to P60 a month.

The fees were not as cheap as they look now. Aside from inflation adjustment, the service was limited: stories were all police stories and shared by most news outlets. The few exclusive police stories he gave only to his main employer, The Republic Daily.