Friday, July 31, 2009

Guru Press: 5 Years and Counting…

by Marciano A. Paroy Jr.

The reading public of Tabuk that is covered by the circulation scope of Guru Press is well aware of the fact that this paper started to see print in July 2004. As a media-inclined person – though more of a theorist (inside the Kalinga-Apayao State College where I handle journalism subjects) than as a practitioner that time when this paper made its maiden foray into the community – I was impressed by the initial output of this paper. As I leafed through the editorial box, I saw household names in Kalinga, where press work is concerned: Jun Albano, Peter Balocnit, Larry Lopez, Gigi Dumallig, Naty Genzola, and Daniel Cagan (who was more known then in the airwaves as “Cool J” via Radyo Natin).
Alongside the outputs of these seasoned press people were the written works of a bunch of different personalities from diverse areas: Ghumie Pinkihan (from the Girl Scouts of the Philippines), Christine Wangdali (from the world of business), Leno Gamonnac (a retired military man whose writings always focused on culture), Dr. Nelly Alejandrino (a busy Doctor of Medicine), Ghytie Wangdali (speaking up for the youth), and of course, Dr. Estefania W. Kollin (a highly placed professor at the Central Luzon State University – also the editor-in-chief of this paper). Also briefly joining the assortment of writers was the ill-fated Stephen Omais (whose sad fate was the subject of my Guru’s 4th year anniversary article last year).
Other names later cropped up into the pages of Guru – most notably the fiery Giovanni Asbucan and the equally fierce Regie Wacas. From time to time, readers had the opportunity to peek into the minds of Dr. Faustino Maslan, Florence Vizcayno, Jemimah Molina, Dolly Orprecio, and others who may have escaped my discerning eye for fellow writers.
All of their outputs would all end up in the mercy of Rod Libiran who was then the layout artist.
These names have left their imprint on the Guru Press – and the brains behind such names produced articles that helped set the tone of this paper, defining and pushing it to become what it has humbly become today.
Guru Press, needless to say, has a long, long way to cover if it is to attain the loftier heights of journalism – and, considering that most of the above-mentioned names have moved on to other fields or simply stopped writing, other people may probably come in later to attain this end, perhaps taking over the presently active Elizabeth Busacay, Gary Damian (who sometimes exhibits the now-we-read-him, now-we-don’t syndrome), and yours truly.
That is not impossible. People come and people go. And as they leave, a distinct mark is stamped into the five-year history of this paper. Like, until recently, a fellow instructor at KASC who splashed his thoughts across the opinion pages, Dr. Edgar Naganag, but who also hibernated as the temperature rose this summer. I have yet to re-convince him to unload himself of his thoughts – lest his head becomes too burdened with his heavy mental load.
One good thing about the writings of Sir Edgar is that once he sets his heart on something and becomes overly enthusiastic about it, there would be no stopping him. He attacks an issue, in every sense of the word attack – no elusive words, no beating around the bush. If he thinks a person is incompetent, he would write “He is incompetent.” There are only two side to every issue, for him. He was, for instance, against the cityhood of Tabuk – and proclaimed his arguments, never caring that others saw it as a losing fight. But the assault he makes is also always calculated. He may stray into enemies’ territory but he would not antagonize them to the point where a clash is born. But of course not everyone has the same level of mental prowess – and, as a result, people who have not been gifted with as much insight would end up abhorring him.
Conversely, however, when Sir Edgar stops, he really stops. So we never read him in this paper again after March 2009.
I hope to get him to refuel his reserves of noble thoughts so that readers may get to see his column “Futures and Options” again.
Especially so that it is that column which brought this paper to the attention of Councilor Reginald Tamayo of Aparri, Cagayan – who wrote in to express his being impressed by Sir Edgar’s train of thoughts, and who later ended up filling the space that was left bare as a result of Sir Edgar’s extended summer hibernation.
So, as you can see, there are now only two columnists (Mr. Tamayo and I). Gary Damian has not really left, so with Sir Edgar – and Mr. Santos Acoba, who used to be un-failing in his weekly submission of entries into his space which he named “What’s Your Side,” a space devoted to matters going on inside the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
Still, even with this come-and-go string of writers – with the exception of the PIA triumvirate of Peter, Larry and Gigi – Guru Press has carved its niche in the information-delivery industry in this province. Being circulated for five years – moving from its monthly frequency to its present weekly release – is not an easy feat, considering that this is the print medium, traditionally consumed only by those better-equipped in the head. Targeted at people who yearn for more details, Guru Press sort of fills in the blank patches that cannot be satisfied by a 5-sentence report on the air.
It is difficult to predict what lies ahead for Guru Press. As the only locally printed and circulated paper in town, it serves its purpose of quenching the community’s need to know. As plain as that. And it is from this knowing that the community gets to form its opinions about issues and concerns that directly or indirectly affect it. So, predicting what lies in store for this paper would have to depend on the people’s continuing desire to know – for it is when our reading public loses the desire to be well-informed will we also start to put a period to publication.
An unlikely thing to happen.

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