2016 was a cruel year to a lot of people. It was a year of disappointments, of worries and fears, of day-to-day surprises. 2016 was a year of so many things negative, both online and offline, and it seemed like there was no escape.
I had a preview of what the entire year would be during the election campaign season. Heading a lean social media team of one of the country’s leading broadsheets, election season is always the toughest coverage. It was literally a race of getting the news first and bringing it out online, following all campaign trails, understanding the candidates’ platforms and agenda, analyzing their similarities and differences, figuring out survey results and trying to crunch numbers, going in-depth on the issues, etc. This was just the beginning, trying to tell myself that there is more stress to come.
Before elections, I thought of quitting my job at the publication for another offer in the corporate world. I’ve to admit: It was tempting, considering the light workload matched with a really good salary. I really wanted to leave – because I don’t want to get through the very rigorous election coverage online – and choose a simple job instead.
|PhilSTAR Social Team during the Election coverage|
But after much thought, I realized the exact same reason why I joined The STAR in the first place: it was because of the daily challenges I encounter, and how unconventional working for a news company’s social media team is, and how important it is to be part of a team who delivers information to people. It wasn’t about the money, yes. It was about fulfilling my passion and fanning the fire within.
|Interviewing Sen. Win Gatchalian after elections|
This year, I was given the go signal to work on my first project with The STAR: the PhilSTAR Boot Camp. Boot Camp was the STAR’s intensive internship program for journalism and communication students. In a rigorous writing and oral examinations, only 12 have made it to the pilot batch. These 12 rookie reporters wrote stories for our digital edition, and were asked to cover the elections.
Just imagine: I was too afraid to cover the elections because of its stress (considering how lean our team is), but didn’t realize that this project would help me solve that problem. Most of the times we are consumed by our emotions we forget to address the problem. We linger too much on our worries and find an escape – and it didn’t solve anything at all.
The Boot Camp, which was originally conceptualized as a once-a-year project, became so successful we mounted a second one. Two successes in a row, and there’s a long way to go.
|The PhilSTAR Boot Camp alumni, Batches 1 and 2|
In July, I was tapped by my boss to help conceptualize the company’s CSR project for its 30th year. She wanted a more sustainable, more meaningful community project that would encapsulate who we are as a company. Veering away with the usual, I tried to conceptualize a project that will merge what we do best (journalism) with community service – and that was when I came up with PhilSTAR Journalism Hubs. The Journ hubs are meant to be placed in public elementary and high schools to become the center of journalism development. Aside from the facility, we also conducted trainings and seminars to school paper advisers and journalism students to further their knowledge on the industry.
Work never ends, apparently. Aside from maintaining our social media assets and the two projects, we still have so much to do. This year will be a year of so many firsts, and I am excited to roll out our next projects.
Maybe one thing that made me happy this year was when I and my boyfriend finally became workmates. To those who didn’t know: He lives in the south and I am from the north, which made it logistically impossible to see him frequently. He also has strict parents, so for about five months, we see each other once or twice a month. It was enough, at first, but of course nothing beats you being with your boyfriend most of the time.
My relationship with him was the greatest thing that happened in 2015, and it became even happier this 2016. We weren’t perfect, of course. We had a lot of arguments, we had a lot of disagreements, but that only made us even stronger. We’ve been together for a year and one month now, and we’re very excited to face 2017 together.
This year, I have also been invited to some school events to give a speech or a talk; about things I am passionate about – community service, leadership, journalism, and even career. Perhaps the most memorable was when I was invited to be the keynote speaker at a conference in my alma mater – Malabon Elementary School. This was where the writer me was unleashed by the great Lucia Cahanding. Being able to be invited as the guest speaker in the place where you figured out who you want to become felt like coming to full circle.
|Talk on social media management at UST #YokoNaPagodNaKo|
Maybe what I missed this year was traveling and hiking. Due to my busy working schedule, I have to set aside traveling. The wanderlust me wanted to climb mountains but obviously can’t because I don’t want to faint (again) up there. This year, I’m planning to travel five local destinations and one international trip. Would it be possible? Yes, hopefully.
This year, I realized that yes; life will have some steps backward, but there will always be more steps forward, only if we choose to move ahead than look behind. Maybe we all just have to see what’s out there waiting for us, rather than linger on things that didn’t go our way. Only by learning this, we will have a happier outlook in life.
2016 was obviously marred with too many things – politics, heartbreaks, losses, but there will always be more reason to celebrate positivity.
Like anyone else, I still don’t know what 2017 would be like, but all I know is that my plans for next year are the plans that I want to take shape. Reroutes will be there, sure, but that only makes the journey makes more exciting.
2016, thank you for the backward steps, I learned to make more steps forward.
2017, I am even more ready to make more forward steps, and I am excited.