I attended Ms. Sheila Coronel’s Centennial Lecture last Friday, having been required by our thesis professor for reasons unbeknownst to us (aka she didn’t want to teach that day?  haha.  I’m guessing).  Prior to our prof’s announcement, I was itching to ditch my thesis class because Ms. Coronel’s lecture was related to my thesis, anyway.  Besides, I slaved over my thesis the whole night (and now I need acne cures pronto!), so I wasn’t really in the mood to study.  So at quarter to one, I was resolved to ditch class.

But the stars seem to have aligned that day: the professor promptly canceled the class and ordered everyone to attend the lecture.  If this wasn’t destiny, I don’t know what it is.

Ms. Coronel’s lecture delved into the recent developments in technology and the way it has affected the practice of the media profession.  But instead of delving into the technical production aspect of news, she gave us an insight on how technological advances has affected the content of news and the attitude of readers towards news.  Her speech was really enlightening and I had a lot of “AHA!” moments in between, thinking I could use a lot of her thoughts for my thesis.

And so I thought of sending her an email and asking for a copy of her speech.  I asked around for her e-mail address and did a little searching on the net for it.  When I got what I thought was the right e-mail address, I immediately composed my letter.

At this point I stopped.  I thought to myself, “How do you write a letter of request to someone you’ve been setting your eyes upon your entire college life?  How do you write a letter to someone of such character that inspires a lot of journalism students out there?  How do you write a letter to one of the most kick-ass writers and investigative journalists you know?”  At this point I knew I was not to compose an ordinary letter.  It had to be something more than just an e-mail message.  I should put some journalistic values in mind–like brevity, accuracy, simplicity.  I should mince through words and read and reread my sentences.  I would’ve been forced to write one-sentence paragraphs but that’s going too far.  Hahaha.

After devoting time to writing the letter, I sent it.  And then, two days after, I was giddy with excitement that she actually replied!

However, all those journalistic brouhaha I thought of incorporating all went down to waste because I forgot one of the more basic ones: research.  Bleh.  I had the gall to research what her Columbia University e-mail address was but no, it didn’t even cross my mind to check if her speech was already posted online.

Because it was.  I wanted to slash my wrists and die a sudden death when she told me it’s online.  How could I have forgotten to check?

Blah.  I bet Ms. Coronel now thinks I’m a good-for-nothing journalism student who’s too lazy to research for his own good.


On Tuesday during our ethics class under Ma’am Yvonne Chua, Ms. Luz Rimban lectured us on the ethics of video and photo journalism.  Her talk was as insighful as Ms. Coronel’s because it gave us a peek into the workings of broadcast and photo journalists.  It led me to believe that these journalists actually have a harder time balancing work and ethics because a lot of factors are involved, unlike in print were we usually only deal with words.

When Ma’am Chua introduced Ms. Rimban to class, I suddenly had the urge to blurt something to Micah, who was my seatmate in that subject:

Mics, this is too much brilliance in one room!

Hahaha.  Pramis! If those two veteran journalists were suns we would’ve died of too much heat and brightness right away!  Imagine, two Jaime V. Ongpin Awards hall-of-famers, multi-awarded journalists, founders and movers of the Philippine media industry, standing with you in class?  My goodness.  That was too much greatness for all of us to handle.  Hahaha.

And to further stress the point, I met the third of only three JVO Awards hall-of-famers there is last week in the person of Ms. Coronel.  Had she been in our class that day as well, I bet the room must’ve exploded in a Big Bang with their collective brilliance leaving a huge, gaping black hole right then and there.

Which leads me to wonder… how have people worked with them when they were all still with PCIJ?  I bet everyone’s jaw was always agape in awe and amazement.

*Photo from

13 Responses to “Too Much Brilliance”
  1. Jeff says:

    you actually thought ma’am rimban’s lecture was insightful? well, i guess fanboy ka lang talaga. hehehe.

    by the way, SUPER DUPER KAJOOPER thank you JM for the PDI code of ethics! lifesaver ka talaga! you passed my test of friendship with flying colors! 🙂

  2. roneiluke says:

    wow idol mo talaga si maam colonel ha? ahehe!

  3. JM says:

    Jeff: yah it was insightful for me. Hahaha. Interesting rin kasi yung points niya eh. Baka medyo off lang dahil sa presentation. Hehe. 😛

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