The Polytechnic Bulletin: tracing back its roots
Because the precious moments in our campus history ought to be remembered … in print.
Newsletters are the first draft of campus history, yet setting the standard for excellence was difficult because campus journalism during our time was so new. There was nothing to copy, no rule book. We had to create our own template, literally from scratch. I still got hold and read current issues of The Polytechnic Bulletin sent to me by Mrs. Cynthia Maxilom via Philippine Postal System. I assume today’s PB staffers are very state-of-the-art, attend regular training seminars with leading professionals as resource persons and even garnered awards during regional student press conferences. All these developments have shaped our young successors better at their jobs than we were in the old days. Certainly they must be more efficient, less dreamy, more in touch not just with the rest of the country, but with the rest of the world, as, indeed, which young person of today isn’t? But I wonder if they’ll look back on this season in their life with as much nostalgic delight as I look back on the PB of my time.
I didn’t realize I was already 25 years detached from campus journalism until the current adviser of THE POLYTECHNIC BULLETIN requested me to share my insights as one of the pioneer editors of PB, with the end in view of creating awareness among new generation of writers and took a glimpse on how it would have been like campus journalism on its pioneering stage, thereby tracing the roots and ultimately reflect the difference between the then and now. I am not in the position to claim that we were the original batch of campus journalists because I learned that in the past, there was a campus newsletter in circulation called The Forge when the school was then a prominent provincial high school in northern Cebu. I was also told that it stopped publication during the Marcos era and only resumed during our time in the late ‘90s when the school became a full grown college.
Fast forward. Time flies so swiftly that modern technology made me feel locked in a time warp. Yes, two and a half decades ago, we were literally counting spaces, characters and words on our ‘copies’ to make sure our page layouts would turn out fine. Pica and elite were the only two fonts available on our typewriters. That brought me to indulge my own nostalgia, remembering how loud typewriters were and what a tedious job it used to be in doing manual corrections. The invention of the typewriter and the printing press brought forth a revolution that no one could have anticipated.
Dummy preparation was a pain in the neck. Our adviser would then bring the manuscript and the dummy to the printing press in Cebu City. After a week, a printed copy from the press came out for proofreading and reviewing the layout before the stripper finalized it for plate-making. Then we had to wait for days until it was ready for distribution. More often than not, it took months for us to come up with an issue.
For over the past two decades, campus journalism has gone through drastic changes because of modern technological advances. Gone are the days of tiresome physical process of writing and rewriting copies and manuscript by hand. Computer softwares like Pagemaker and Adobe InDesign now allows anyone to review spelling and grammar, count the words, choose the fonts and font sizes at the click of the mouse button.
THE BIRTH OF THE POLYTECHNIC BULLETIN
Student Supreme Council President Emmanuel Gallardo started it all when he conceived the idea of SSC’s sponsoring the “Name the School Paper Contest” during the first semester of 1987. I was a freshman then. The mechanics was simple, like the name would reflect the mission and vision of the school, must be original or no other school publication bearing the same name and finally, with no less than 500 words. All students were eligible to join, except the SSC President, of course. I was convinced to join the contest when I learned that there was a corresponding cash prize involved. It was a big deal for me, because as a poor student like me that would mean months of school allowance.
Entries came pouring in at the SSC Office with entry titles like, The Quill, The Scribbler, The Forge, to name a few. At first look, it seemed The Forge would eventually emerged as winner because it was a revival of the defunct school organ. However, one of the criteria was how to package your explanation to justify your entry. I was hesitant to submit my entry because I was just like defining two words – polytechnic and bulletin. Polytechnic – to reflect the school offering the various technical as well as baccalaureate courses, and Bulletin – to simply mean a periodical or a publication. Googling and yahoo search was entirely unknown then. In an effort to search for a better definition, I just relied from my hand-me-down pocket dictionary. Maybe my innate attribute of elaborating in detail the things that I wanted to express, captured the attention of the judges that at the end, my “The Polytechnic Bulletin” entry was chosen and won the competition. Yes, I won and the SCC President handed me the cash prize, but I didn’t really get it. It turned into a stone. Well, that’s another story.
STARTED FROM SCRATCH
The composition of the editorial board for the new official school publication wasn’t established until the year that followed due to some administrative matters to consider. Now on my junior year, I took the qualifying examinations, along with some high school and college aspiring and budding writers. As for me, I intended to join the PB staff to whip my prose into shape and enjoy the legendary benefits of the glory of the by-line, and further develop my “nose for news” with the thrill of being among the first to know. Luckily, I was accepted as the Managing Editor. PB Adviser Mr. Gualberto Montecillo said the job of the ME was as tough as that of the editor-in-chief. One week after, he handed us a sheet of paper indicating our respectives roles and responsibilities and advised us to ponder on them. The next day he summoned us to gather at the CSCST-PC Social Hall (now called Bulawanong Tinubdan) for one day training to learn good journalism approach, the basics of the five W’s and one H (what, where, when, who, why, and how), to further hone our writing skills and, finally, a few reminders to uphold and preserve the ideals of campus journalism.
And we did take our jobs very seriously, putting in many long hours on our own writing and on the editing of submitted materials. We began laying the groundwork for our maiden issue. Our editor-in-chief was Ms. Roselyn Fortunado, the first woman to hold the post. Our graphics and art editor was Resty Cuevas while Ms. Lydia Regner as our typist. We had no office or even a newsroom, yet we hold our official meetings at the office of Mr. Montecillo located at the back of the CSCST-PC Hall. This was also the rendezvous of Ms. Regner when she spent most of her time pounding the old Olympia typewriter after her classes.
DESIGNING THE PIONEER’S MASTHEAD
The Polytechnic Bulletin premiered the first issue for the first semester of 1998-1989 academic year, featuring a masthead design never seen before. Publication design reflects more than the tastes of a designer; it explains the history and culture of the publication. How these values are conveyed to the public is often demonstrated in its design and layout. Mr. Cuevas, a freshman Drafting student, originally designed the first masthead of The Polytechnic Bulletin, or that banner in large type print at the top of the front page. He toyed with the design and created two to three versions of them, so Mr. Montecillo would get a range of designs to choose from, with different variations of each. Finally, a simple masthead was approved with the THE POLYTECHNIC BULLETIN emblazoned and floated above the line “The Official Student Publication of the CSCST – Polytechnic College,” with the volume number, date, and issue number below that.
ALL ABOUT PASSION
Our home-grown efforts breathe life into the paper when it first came into print. The first issue of The Polytechnic Bulletin appeared in October 1988, as a book-sized, 16 page paper. We were all thrilled to see — Came next was the graduation special issue with almost the same format as that of a yearbook.
FIRST EDITORIAL ATTEMPT
During my senior year, many students applied for the elite PB editorial staff as the result of the successful printing of the maiden issues. When the results were released, I was stunned to learn that I was being offered editor-in-chief. I emphatically did not want to be editor-in-chief! To begin with I didn’t think I could do the job. Secondly, I didn’t want to be boss.
separate sections for Sports, Literary, Filipino
first two issues – tri or primary colors
The quality of paper -front and back cover – full color
community round-up – or beyond campus news
Mrs. Belen Calvo, Cynthia Maxilom – English ; Mrs. Medalina Ruelan – Filipino
the master of MULTI-TASKING in me
busy as as a graduating student — practice teaching (2nd sem – 2nd issue_)
- plus ROTC
Highlight – 1st issue : won the inter-CSCST system essay writing contest – Science and Technology Week with my entry SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: A boon or a bane? copy of which was featured PB ssue 1989
- Essayist of the Year
As for me, the PB was equally important with that of my studies. It would be safe to assume that my college life became more memorable because I got involved in campus journalism.
cocooned in an age of innocence
————————- to be continued …. >>>> katugon na kaayo ko, hehe ….
EDIT….EDIT………REVISE….REVISE . . .
Finally, allow me to have a parting shot with this line printed in The Polytechnic Bulletin, January-March 1990 issue in the article I wrote, entitled My Parting Gesture, and I quote “Campus journalism will remain as a living inspirational record of our school’s history, and when the twilight of life comes, it will always be a delight to leaf through its pages with a smile as we travel down memory lane.”
——————————–graphics here are lifted from FB page of CTU Tuburan —————————–
Just an after-thought: Nami-miss ko na ‘to being the Editor-in-Chief of The Polytechnic Bulletin during my time. Naalala ko tuloy yung PBgrams, one of the most-read columns back then. PBgrams was my brainchild, naglagay ako ng karton in a conspicuous place in the campus, wherein yung mga estudyante they could freely sent out their notes and comments which could be printed later in the publication. It turned out that love notes came pouring out the most. Me and my co-editor/artist Resty Cuevas had a hard time guessing who’s who were the campus”lovers”, hehehe. That’s the joy of being “the-first-to-know”, when you are the editor. Hahaha.
only wants his students to create professional quality work; something that they can include in their portfolios that will land them good jobs.
how the written word help to shape our world.
Finally, the editor-in-chief portion in my resume helped me land my first job at Bombo Radyo Cauayan, Isabela.
Because the precious moments in our campus history ought to be remembered … in print.
Born and raised in Tuburan, Cebu, yet settled a second home in the province of Isabela. A frustrated teacher, but find comfort on what fate brings him. He is like a child, so easy to please with; and like an eagle soaring for independence. He is like a wind, silent but always there. He loves trekking, reading and writing. During his college days, he was Editor-in-Chief of The Polytechnic Bulletin, the official publication of CSCST-PC. At present, he works as Information Officer at the Provincial Government of Isabela (PGI) and Associate Editor of Isabela INFOCUS, the official newsletter of PGI.