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Friday, June 19, 2015

Young PIA interns reap major awards in USAID peace journ contest

By Dave G. Malcampo

ZAMBOANGA CITY – About a month ago, young students from local universities here started their on-the-job training as communications practitioners in the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) here. The 20-day exposure was part of a program by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Engage project in partnership with the local government. It aimed to train selected students in peace journalism.

Three students were assigned at the PIA. At the start of their training, it was evident that they had very little exposure in media activities, yet showed dedication to learn.

Shiela May Aquino, an incoming development communications major at the Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College (ZCSPC) was observably very timid when she was first given an assignment. Rylle Daryll Estrella, a mass communications major from the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) joined in soon after Shiela. Rylle seems to be an introvert – he seldom spoke out, and only talked when talked to. Jericho Molde, also a development communications student from ZCSPC, only arrived five days before the end of the summer journalism program.

On June 8, three young communications students were recognized for being some of the best youth journalists in the city. Rylle was awarded for having the best peace journalism story, and Shiela as one of the most productive interns. Jericho, who barely had any formal training in photography won the first and third prizes for the best photo category.

The three competed with students coming from WMSU, ZCSPC and the Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU).

During the OJT, they were given assignments to cover events such as the information caravans for the internally-displaced persons, following up leads on news articles, interviewing government officials, and others. Though having little exposure in the beginning, the three learned to take advantage of every opportunity to learn.

“It was a fun experience, but the most I got from the training was the learnings and how to deal with people from different backgrounds,” said Shiela.

Rylle, whose winning piece discussed the local tricycle issue said that he did not expect to win, but was very proud after having won the over-all contest. “I really did not expect it, but I just did my job and submitted my work,” he said.

Their stories were published in local newspapers and in online news sites.

Jericho, on the other hand said that he enjoyed the training so much that he plans to come back next year. “I hope I could come back and have more training. I have learned so much, but I still have more to learn,” he said.