MANILA, Feb. 28 (PNA) -- Several former employees and interns of the Philippines News Agency (PNA) have expressed their gratitude to the agency which has served as their training ground and helped them make their way in the media industry and other related disciplines.
Former GMA senior reporter Sherrie Ann Torres is thankful to the now 43-year-old PNA which gave her a bright start in her media career.
"Twenty years have passed already, after jumping out of PNA straight to strings of newspapers, but I remain very grateful to PNA for opening my eyes about my strength, skills and bright future as a journalist," she said.
For her, PNA was particularly important in forming her writing and reportorial skills.
Those skills proved useful for her career in newspapers -- after she left PNA -- then for her move to television.
Torres also shared she learned how to write for the interest of the government during her stay in PNA.
She now works as the Corporate Communication Officer for oil firm Flying V.
“Being in the field is the best experience I had when I was still working for PNA as a reporter,” said Jade Miguel, who is now working as a news reporter of People's Television Network or PTV-4.
Miguel, who is enjoying now a flourishing career in the field of broadcast reporting, recalled that one good aspect of becoming a reporter of PNA was the opportunity to travel in other parts of the country while covering events.
She further said that the rewarding part was as she learned the craft of writing stories for the readers. It was quite fulfilling that in the process, as a reporter, she experienced to be the first one to break the stories before it circulated in the following days.
In terms of those who have experience to be part of the PNA On-the-Job Trainings, it is heartening to note that they also have some good remarks as well as how PNA has helped them in their current undertakings.
Ramil M. del Rosario, a mass communication student then of New Era University, became an OJT of PNA in 2001 and then began his career as a clerk in Market Strategic Firm Inc. from May 2001 to May 2008.
He later on became Information Officer III of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) from 2008 to April 2015.
Del Rosario is currently working as Junior Communications Analyst, Media Monitoring and Feedback Team, Media Affairs Department of Social Security System in Quezon City.
He recalled that as an OJT during that time, he was one of those who had learned a lot in terms of translating English news into “Tagalog Broadcast News” by his mentor, now retired senior news editor Virgilio C. Sagun.
At that time, PNA was still maintaining a Broadcast News Desk responsible for providing fresh news summaries in English and Filipino to subscribing radio and television stations in Metro Manila and the provinces.
“I learned that in order to translate the news effectively into Tagalog, I have to understand first the story,” Del Rosario said.
He also said that PNA was the one that provided him with a glimpse of the actual practice in the real media world which differs a lot in the theoretical teachings in school.
“One of the advice of Mr. Sagun to me was that in this line of work, media practice, you have to be assertive. This one really had made a mark on me,” he added.
He further said that the wider perspective that was opened up during his intern days was something that PNA provided and helped him a lot in his jobs later on.
“To PNA, thank you very much,” he said.
The on-the-job training program of PNA was also life-changing for some of the former interns, as the agency helped them develop their skills and confidence.
For former trainee Liezel Buñao, the program helped her enjoy meeting different people, especially during her solo coverage in Binondo, Manila.
”My internship in PNA helped me enjoy meeting different kinds of people. I was tasked to write a story on the aspirations of the Filipino Chinese community in Binondo for the Chinese New Year in 2014,” she said.
Buñao recalled she was nervous with the experience at first, with the uncertainty of exploring a new area.
"I felt accomplished after my visit in Binondo, not only because it was a requirement at my internship, but more importantly I enjoyed doing it. You feel really nervous inside not knowing which street you are passing, but you are happy going through it," she said.
Buñao also stressed the internship helped her learn to rely on people.
"I asked directions from people and they helped me. They showed me one of the temples and told their stories," she said.
Working for an events and marketing company now, Buñao said the enthusiasm to meet people that she got from the Binondo report currently helps her with her job.
"I'm employed in an events and marketing company now and I still enjoy meeting new people. I think my internship (with PNA) is compatible with my work. I'm happy every time I go out," she said.
Buñao also recalled she had the opportunity to meet a descendant of the national hero Jose Rizal in one of her intern assignments.
"In one of the coverages, I met one of the descendants of Dr. Jose Rizal -- I never imagined to meet someone related to the national hero," she said.
Overall, she enjoyed her OJT experience due to her exposure to new perspectives.
"There's an unusual feeling after meeting different people -- you're seeing and hearing their perspective. I still feel that -- now I'm working -- it's a really good feeling," Buñao said.
Erickson Reeve Malabana, a former intern from the University of the East, also recognized why PNA is different from other media outlets.
"It taught me the valuable ability to write without bias, covering both sides of the story instead of the predominant way of writing in popular channels -- where the government’s side is downplayed even though there were clear efforts to address, mitigate, or solve a problem," he said.
The former trainee also said the skills he developed in PNA helped him land a job in a local paper.
"Thanks to PNA, I was able to work in my field as a news writer, the skills that I developed during my time under the wing of my mentor Priam Nepomuceno allowed me to become a writer for a local publication just one month after I had graduated from my university," he said.
Malabana bared he had no forte in writing news before his internship.
"News writing was difficult for me, as my ability had yet to be developed during that time. But, as I continued through my internship, I began to learn the basics and improve on them," he said.
With the skills he learned from his internship in 2014, the former trainee also emphasized he owes PNA for his success.
"If it weren’t for the encouragement of the office staff and reporters of the PNA, who acted as a second family of mine during my days as one of their trainees, I would have never gone this far -- nor been able to work in my field as efficient as I am now," Malabana said. (PNA) SCS/BNB/ANP/FMC/LSJ/JLD