TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2014
Sports keeps it short but snappy By the Sports Staff
FACED WITH THE STIFF challenge of making the most out of dwindling space, the INQUIRER Sports section shifted its focus to quick-read articles with a kind of brevity that doesn’t sacrifice details for the sports junkies among the paper’s readers. The Sports section has certainly felt the effect of the growing problem facing journalism’s print industry, but has refused to view it as an obstacle. Instead, the Sports section took it as a challenge to try and meet the demands of a readership whose attention span has grown incredibly shorter and whose options have grown exponentially with the rise of digital and social media. For starters, the Sports section, composed of the country’s finest sportswriters, has adopted a tighter style of writing and such is palpable in the daily output of its writers. Stories are more direct to the point, but still manage to provoke conversation in social circles. The depth of the section’s “bench” has also allowed it to be more flexible in coverages. Thus, in a country obsessed with basketball, the INQUIRER Sports section has managed to fan out its reportage to other sports such as boxing, chess, volleyball, golf and football. In fact, in most of these areas of coverage, the INQUIRER can say it is the industry leader when it comes to the extensiveness of coverage. INQUIRER Sports was in the forefront of such major coverages as the Fiba World Cup, where the Philippines won its first game in the world stage in decades, the continuing journey of the Philippine Azkals and huge fights of Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire Jr. Big feats, considering that
INQUIRER Sports was in the forefront of major coverages including the campaign of Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba World Cup and the fights of Manny Pacquiao. the INQUIRER has the fewest pages among the major broadsheets.
Sports in social media The passing year has also marked a breakthrough for INQUIRER sportswriters when it comes to facing the demands of reportage via social media. Before the year started, the INQUIRER’s sportswriters were hardly visible in digital space. But now, the Sports section has one of the biggest followers in social media. More than a year ago, there were only two or three sportswriters active on information-sharing platform Twitter. Now, that number has more than doubled, boosting efforts of the main INQUIRER Sports account to acquire a strong and en-
gaging social media presence. The Sports section has also produced different multimedia content. Apart from the traditional text and photos, it has come up with valuable and eyecatching infographics from time to time. The Sports staff has also moonlighted on radio and video, throwing in spot reports and shooting quick videos during major coverages. But for all the focus on bitesize articles in print and quicksharing information on digital, the INQUIRER Sports section has found ways to flaunt its greatest strength: Writing. The Sports section has contributed heavily to the paper’s supplement efforts, coming up with quality specials that are not only informative and reader-friendly, but also income-generating.
Young Blood: Always white-hot … From page 1
that had first dibs at the merchandise. In “Different bowl of ‘goto,’” development communication student Carlo Bonn Felix D. Hornilla remembers the dearly missed dish produced by his father in their beloved Batangas—“a rich stew of beef fat, heart, blood, liver, intestines and tripe, kept on a slow simmer over a low fire, flavored with chili, ginger, onions, fish sauce and roasted garlic”—and somehow finds a life lesson in the shocking, sorry pretense served him in the city.
Can’t show tears In “‘Kilig’ and trembling,” medical student Gelo Apostol recalls a fateful afternoon at the dissection lab: “I was carefully rummaging inside the cadaver’s pericardial sac to get a good feel of the heart, the aorta, pulmonary arteries, and vena cavae. Retracting the heart to finally detach it from its major vessels and the mediastinum, I reached for the scalpel. But then, another hand had already picked it up and was now offering it to me. I looked up. It was Lou.” She saves him, in effect. Ultimately she leads him to a momentous conclusion: “[H]ow are we to heal with love when we have closed ourselves to this love? When we stand to lose all the ‘kilig’ that life offers?” New physicians and nurses, as well as those still aspiring to take the oath, burn the wires to connect with Young Blood. By their words they are profoundly moved by the profession, the calling, they have chosen. To a man and woman, they man up to the 24- or 48-hour duty, the literal life-and-death choices they are compelled to make, and crumble before the children they could not save despite their efforts. But, trained to be deadpan, forced to be stoic, they cannot let the tears show.
‘Filipino horror story’ Pediatrics resident Korina Ada D. Tanyu’s “Filipino horror story” is a terse vignette about the couple Nena and Jojo and their 5-year-old son Jamjam, whose enduring cough, recurring fever and agonized breathing have
long been tormenting his parents. Nena borrows P500 from a loan shark, and mother and son make their way from their home in Cavite to a hospital in Manila. Jamjam is found to have tuberculosis complicated with severe pneumonia. He is in a bad way: His blood pressure is dropping, he cannot breathe, the infection has spread in his blood. Nena is in panic and despair. She has no money for lab work, respirator, medicines; she manages to reach Jojo and waits for him to come with borrowed cash. “A doctor approaches Jamjam and listens to his chest and heart. “CODE! Doctors and nurses instantly surround Jamjam. A doctor pounds the child’s chest with a fist. “Another doctor tells Nena what is going on. Her son’s heart has stopped beating and they are trying to revive him. If his heart does not start beating again after 30 minutes, they will stop all efforts of resuscitation. “Nena suddenly feels that the weight of the world is upon her. She cries. She prays. Diyos ko! Ang anak ko! For the first time in her life she shouts her prayers, hoping that from earth her screams will be heard by God in heaven. “Thirty minutes pass. We’re sorry, the doctors say. “The nurses remove all the devices attached to Jamjam’s body. Nena embraces her child and shakes him, hoping he is just sleeping. ...” “Filipino horror story” was shared online 18,000 times.
The way they were Young Blood pieces are not only shared but have also been compiled in periodic collections; there’s another one coming up. The collections are all blockbusters, going into several print runs, indicating the wide audience that these young voices continue to reach. That audience consists of not only family, friends and peers but also Readers of a certain age, who may feel provoked to bounce off their gained wisdom on these callow creatures, and find—chuckle—poignant strains of the way they were.
From collegiate specials to PBA specials to Pacquiao specials, the INQUIRER Sports section has helped the Supplements section veer away from advertorial-type articles to pullouts that readers enjoy. The effort extended to boost the paper’s Supplements section and did not stop with writing and editing articles. The section lends manpower-hours to do layouts so that the specials have the look and feel of regular Sports pages, thus enhancing their credibility. With each supplement, the quality of writing that the Sports section is capable of producing comes to fore. The Sports section has also actively spread its wings to other sections of the paper, contributing every now and then to Page
One, Sunday INQUIRER Magazine and the Opinion page by way of sports-themed editorials. So while the dwindling space has become a limited platform for the staff to flex its writing muscles, the INQUIRER’s sportswriters have found other avenues for their creativity. All this is in preparation for
the big move that the Sports section plans to make in 2015, when the staff will strike that balance between holding on to the strength of its legacy and exploring groundbreaking paths in terms of coverage, reporting and developing different forms of content for the INQUIRER’s different platforms.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer marks its 29th anniversary today with simple rites at its offices in Makati City.