Growing up as a Journalist


            Growing up with parents that are journalist, he may have learned a lot. He used to play in the office of the Philippine Star with big people in journalism. Julian Mauricio studied Creative Writing in Ateneo de Manila for 2 years and moved to Kalayaan College to study Journalism which he is still on the process and hoping to graduate soon. He started to write in 2001 and professionally he writes more or less 10 years already. With his mom on his side to teach him everything about Journalism he continued to write for ABS-CBN Publishing. What motivates him to write, being able to share information with people and being able to make people happy. Journalism is what he loves to do and his passion.

Rejj: Where did you graduate and what course?

Sir Julian: I graduated from High school at JASMS in 2003 tapos I studied in Ateneo de Manila for two years, I took up Creative Writing, I was super happy to made it to Ateneo kasi sa batch namin nung High school out of 50 students dalawa lang kaming pumasa. After Ateneo I moved to Kalayaan College for a year kasi nagkaroon ako ng problem with my scholarship parang I applied for a scholarship pero I was denied, dahil my dad was a lawyer but at that time kasi parang there were problems with ano, the money yung pang tuition ko so I left Ateneo and moved to Kalayaan College where I studied Journalism after Kalayaan I transferred to UP Open University and stayed there for about 2-3 years, ang problema hindi nagstay sa personality ko yun hindi bagay sa akin ang Home Study kasi UP Open University is a Home Study Peogram. For people who are busy and on the go bagay ang Open University pero what they don’t tell you syempre kailangan din meron kang self-discipline to study, ako I do better sa set-up na nasa classroom ka talaga so after ng ilang years sa Open University I moved back to Kalayaan this is where I am studying now, I’m taking up Journalism. I’m in my third year pero irregular student ako kasi nga palipat-lipat ako ng school, siguro I have 2-3 more semesters to go bago ako makagraduate but the good thing is after I graduate may nakaantay ng job sa akin, right now kasi sa ABS ang status ko I am a contributor, they cannot hire me as a regular employee because I still don’t have a College Degree but I make enough money I guess, okay na sa akin yung kinikita ko. Basically what I do up there para siyang paid internship, nababayaran ako pero wala akong regular contract, which is fine with me kasi malapit na rin naman ako matapos, once I graduate i hihire na nila ako. I haven’t graduated yet kasi I had to stop, parang on and off nag-aaral dahil nga I had to work. I will be graduating soon, hopefully soon.

Rejj: When did you start writing?

Sir Julian: I started writing professionally in 2001, the first article I had published wasn’t even a real article, it was what we call an advertorial, and it’s an advertorial for Zesto featuring Jolina Magdangal as their new endorser, wala pa akong byline nun kasi nga advertorial siya, ngayon pag advertorial, advertising feature, meron lang nakalagay text by tapos the name of the writer pero noon wala, so wala pa akong byline.

Rejj: How long have you been writing?

Sir Julian: I started writing 2001 after that advertorial featuring Jolina Magdangal, my second piece was for Working Mom magazine, tungkol siya sa pokemon kasi usong uso ang pokemon at that time, yung time na lahat ng bata yata may pokemon, so Working Mom, they were looking for a contributing writer around my age, I think 15 or 14, they were looking for a writer around my age to write about the pokemon craze from a kids point of view parang ieexplain nung writer dun sa parents yung working mom na readers ng magazine kung bakit nahihilig ang mga bata sa pokemon, after that tuloy tuloy na, on and off through the years I’ve been writing for ABS-CBN Publishing. So I guess kung 2001, it’s already 2011 more or less 10 years na akong nagsusulat professionally, on and off yun. Yung mas regular akong nagsusulat as in every month nagstart siya 2006. 2006 nagcocontribute na ako sa Starstudio tapos that was also the year I got an internship sa K magazine ni Kris Aquino.  I worked there siguro mga ilang years, after my internship, nagcocontribute na rin ako for K. Shortly after K, after my internship sa K, I was the Junior Editorial Assistant of Myx Mag for three issues. After Myx Mag mas nalinya na ako sa Starstudio and then for a while meron akong raket writing about Philippine showbiz for a newspaper based in Dubai called The Kalij Time that lasted for about mga I think tumigil kami early 2010. I would write 3-500 words pieces for the Kalij Time on local showbiz. Yung 2006 na yun, the first presscon I attended na as a regular contributor talaga was PBB, yung first presscon nila Kim Chiu after they left the house. I was the first writer to interview Gerald Anderson pagkatapos niya lumabas. Kaya si Gerald hanngang ngayon super close kami kasi I was the first to interview him. Basically that’s it, mga 10 years.

Rejj: Who influenced you to write?

Sir Julian: My biggest influence as far as Journalism is concerned would have to be my mom, Tinna Bonifacio. I grew up kasi watching her write. My mom has been writing since before I was born. She studied Journalism in UP and after she graduated she became a police reporter for several years. After that, ilang years siya sa Philippine Star for their sunday magazine yung Star Week. So dinadala niya ako sa office nung nagwowork pa siya sa Star Week and siguro I grew up sa news room ng Star, naglalaro ako dun sa ilalim ng desks nila. I grew up meeting seasoned journalists like Dominito Revilla, who write a column for the Star, si Betty Go-Belmonte, pero at that time I have no idea that they were big people in Journalism. I grew up around so many interesting and big people sa industry kaya siguro marami akong napulot sa kanila. But I wouldn’t have had that benefit of growing up sa news room ng Star without my mom. Through her nakita ko what the life of a writer was like. I remember dati kasi she wrote for the Philippine Star, the Star Week di ba. Eh lifestyle magazine yun eh, lifestyle entertainment, she would often be invited to hotels, to various places around the Philippines to cover events, cover opening sa mga hotel, so we would get to stay sa mga luxury hotels for free. Naisip ko, kung ganito pala ang buhay ng writer parang ang sarap di ba hindi ka nakastuck sa desk mo lang, you get to travel, you get to experience new things, meet a lot of people, parang ang saya di ba nung ganung buhay tapos yung nga I get mga perks okay din so naisip ko ang saya din to do this. Kaya kung mapapansin mo when I type on a laptop yung (typing noisily) sound ko ganyan kasi I learned to type on an old typewriter sa office ng Star, dun ako nagsimula magtype. Karamihan ang set of rule ko about journalism natutunan ko rin kay mommy. She always tells me aside from basics siguro rules ng grammar, writing skill, siya yung nagtrain sakin talaga. Siya yung biggest influence ko pati yung ano, minsan sinasabi niya sa akin kunyari sa presscon, lalo na sa entertainment common yung giveaways, sabi niya sakin, anak pag inabutan ka ng giveaway tanggapin mo and say thank you pero pero pag walang inabot sayo wag kang maghahanap kasi that’s very bad thing. When you attend a presscon, you’re there to get the story, the most important thing is to get your story, makuha mo yung story okay ka na, bonus na lang yung mga giveaway or whatever basta the important thing is the story, inuulit-ulit sa akin ng mommy ko naabsorb ko yun. I wouldn’t be the kind of journalist I am right now if it weren’t my mom at tsaka siya ang nagpasok sa akin sa ABS in a way, I like to say na si mommy para siyang si Sharon and ako si KC because my mom has been writing professionally for almost 30 years na eh. Parang di ba si KC sinusundan niya si Sharon in the business so may pressure on KC na oh kailangan magaling ka and I feel that everyday na there’s pressure on me to be just as good as my mom if not better kasi nga anak ka ni Tinna dapat magaling ka kahit sa pag iinterview ko, sa pagtanong ko ng questions dapat magaling ka magtanong kasi si Tinna magaling magtanong, o dapat maganda yung article mo kasi si Tinna ganyan or si Tinna mabilis magsulat dapat ikaw mabilis din mas mabilis pa nga dapat kasi sabi nila ang anak dapat mas magaling sa magulang, may ganun silang joke. Kasi si mommy kunwari uupo siya sa harap ng laptop niya at 2:00, 3:00 nakasulat na siya ng 2000 words, ganun kabilis si mommy, minsan mas mabilis pa dun eh kasi one of her first job after college I think Malaya or Manila Standard, nirerequire siya ng editor niya na magsulat ng 1500 words everyday dahil dun natrain siya maging mabilis kaya naman ngayon tinetrain niya kami ako at yung ibang contributors namin in the same way. So I’m not as fast as my mom and I’m not as brilliant parang feeling ko minsan may pressure talaga to tsaka I have to deal with rumors people saying na o ano ka kaya mo lang nakukuha yung ganito dahil sa mom mo which is unfair for people like me kasi it may have been easier for us to get in because of our parents because of our last name pero staying in and continuing to get the project, nangyayari na yun dahil sa merits namin, for a time nga naiinsecure ako na baka lang ako pinagbibigyan magsulat dahil sa mom ko pero kinausap ako ng boss namin si Ms. Dedeth Panambit, sabi niya Julian why do you feel that way? sabi ko eh kasi nga Ms. Dedeth ganun si mommy parang feeling ko minsan hinuhumor lang ako ng mga tao and then sabi ni Ms. Dedeth Julian, that may have been through in the beginning, your mom may have been the reason kung bakit ka kinuha in the first place but think about it this way if wala kang talagang kwenta magsulat, walang talent, bakit ka namin kukunin paulit-ulit, just because friend namin si Tinna, kahit friend namin si Tinna kung wala kang talent di ka namin kukunin and after that nabuhayan ako ng loob kasi at least narerecognize talaga yung sarili kong ano there was a time na yung editorial director namin, they were cooking up a special magazine. Nilagay ako sa magazine without mommy kasi before prior to that lahat ng projects ko syempre kasama si mommy tapos sabi ko bakit wala si mommy, sabi niya I think it’s time na tumayo ka na sa sarili mong paa, I think you’re ready, the boost of confidence tapos yung position na binigay sa akin was an editorial position na I was going to be one of the editors of that magazine so parang that boost of confidence, hindi natuloy yung magazine, nagkaroon ng problema pero pag natuloy sana I would have been editor na so parang yung confidence sa akin nabuhayan ako ng loob.

Rejj: What are your inspirations in writing?

Sir Julian: I never knew, wala akong alam na ibang profession other than writing other than journalism. I grew up watching not just my mom but even my dad writes for a major newspaper. Kasi they were both working for the Star at one point eh bago naging lawyer yung dad ko. My dad was writing for the Pilipino Star Ngayon sa Filipino naman siya, yung mom ko yung mas ano sa English. Wala akong alam na ibang profession other than journalism at tsaka when I was younger kasi even hanggang ngayon mahilig akong magsulat ng short stories, ng poetry. Writing is a way to express myself. I like to think na I am a very imaginative person, sometimes makikita ako ng mga tao na nakatunganga lang ng ganyan akala nila wala akong ginagawa pero in my head iniisip ko ano yung next na kanta na susulatin ko, ano yung next topic ko for my blog, ano yung next? I’m always making up a story inside my head. Siguro what motivates me to write is gusto kong the things I make up inside my head, I want to share it to the world, tsaka lately kasi lalo na sa Starstudio tsaka sa blog ko natutuwa ako when people send comments or send feedbacks about the stuff I write na sinasabi nila na nainspire po kami. I write to bring the fans closer to their favorite stars kasi syempre as fans, hindi nila nakakasama that often ang mga idols nila, they want to know more about their favorite celebrity and by writing about them for my blog and for Starstudio, I’m able to share with them information sa idols nila and natutuwa sila, kinikilig sila and for me the power of writing and being able to make people happy. May susulatin ka tapos mababasa ng isang tao tapos kikiligin siya tapos for the rest of the day ang saya saya na niya kasi kinikilig siya. There’s something you write to have that effect on somebody nakakatuwa na, kasi etong mundo natin ang gulo gulo pag nanunuod ka ng TV Patrol or 24 Oras or any news program, 80-90% ng balita patayan, nakawan, si Gloria it’s so depressing, so to be able to bring little light to people, nakakatuwa. Yun basically what motivates me to write, being able to share information with people, being able to make them happy sa sinusulat ko.

Rejj: For you, what is Journalism?

Sir Julian: It’s what I love to do, it’s my passion. Journalism is a way to reach out to people; it’s not just about putting words on paper. As a journalist kasi you have to be concient about the power you willed. Hindi ka lang basta bastang tinatae yung article mo tapos paglabas ng article mo, nandun lang siya. What you write has an effect on people, what you write can change the world. So I guess journalism is power, sabi nga ni Uncle Ben sa Spiderman with great power comes great responsibility. Journalism is power and you have to learn to use that power responsibly kaya importanteng mag-aral. Actually sa journalism course ko sa Kalayaan ang natutunan ko dun is not so much how to write kasi what I know in terms of grammar, in terms of style, in terms of how to interview, natutunan ko on the job, sa experience ko sa dito sa ABS. Ang natutunan ko sa teachers ko sa Kalayaan is mga journalistic ethics, how to act as a journalist, what to do what is not, yun yung mga natututunan ko sa mga teachers ko ngayon and sa mom ko.

Rejj: Any pieces of advice for aspiring writers.

Sir Julian: First, as an intern, you are never too good for anything. There is no job small for you. Wag kang magyabang porket nag-aral ka sa UP, Ateneo, Lasalle wherever. Kahit anong ipagawa sayo ng boss mo gawin mo. It may be hard; it may like kunyari magpuyat ka. Wag kang maarte, kasi pag inutusan ka ng boss mo kahit mahirap kailangan gawin mo dahil mag papay-off din naman yan in the end. When your boss sees that you’re hardworking and willing to do what he asks of you. When you do what your boss asks of you without complaining makikita niya na ay ganyan pala siya magtrabaho and alam mo yun your boss will trust you more malay mo mapromote ka pa, mabigyan ng added responsibility which is good for your career. Second, it’s not always about the money, kasi sinasabi nila my dad’s  family ayaw nila na mag journalist ako kasi wala daw pera, and aminin ko I am not exactly rolling in cash right now, hindi ako mayaman but I am happy and fulfilled bakit kasi I am doing what I love to do. Money is nice, it’s nice to have money kasi you can buy whatever, and you can live a comfortable life. Let me ask you this how comfortable is your life kung may pera ka nga pero ginagawa mo naman it’s not what you want to do. Parang wala ring kwenta, kung hindi ka masaya sa trabaho mo, so mas mabuti ng hindi ako ganun kayaman pero masaya naman ako sa ginagawa ko. I want young writers to realize it’s not about the money. If you want to get rich and famous ate mag-artista ka na lang. Kasi mahirap hindi naman sa hindi ka yayaman as a writer, pwede ka rin naman mag ipon di ba but yayaman ka naman eh you just have to be patient. Third, be patient, nothing in life comes just like that unless manalo ka ng talent search instant celebrity ka na nun. If you wanna get somewhere you have to work hard and you have to be patient kasi hindi agad agad yun, wag kang atat. Fourth, Read, if you want to be a writer you have to read. I don’t care what you read books, magazines, articles from the internet, read, as long as it’s good. Kasi how can you hope to produce good writing if you don’t know what good writing is. So for you to know what good writing is you have to in vibe it, you have to read. Fifth, Write, if you want to write you have to write. Writers who do not write are not writers. If you would say that you’re a writer tapos di ka naman nagsusulat, poser ka lang. So join the school newspaper, get experience there. Start your blog and dun mo ilabas lahat ng ano mo. Tsaka when you write, remember you don’t have to win the palanca everytime. What you do is write in white heat and you revise in cold blood meaning write in white heat, ilabas mo muna lahat, wag mo muna isipin ang style and grammar, ilabas mo lang lahat. Pag natapos ka tumayo ka, iwanan mo yung laptop mo, take a shower, watch TV, sing or anything, iwanan mo muna siguro half an hour or 15 minutes, after balikan mo, tsaka ka mag-edit, tsaka mo ayusin kasi pag tinignan mo ng fresh tsaka mo makikita na ay pwede ko palang tanggalin yan, ganyan, revise in cold blood. Sixth, when you finally get a job as a writer, wag kang magrereklamo, kasi even though hindi nagsasalita ang boss mo, naririnig ka niya. Kaya be careful. Whatever is asked of you go lang tangap lang ng tangap. Nagsisimula ka pa lang ang dami mo ng arte, saka ka na mag-inarte pag boss ka na. Pag boss ka na may right ka na mag-inarte kasi may napatunayan ka na, may na achieve ka na, kaya ka nga boss eh. Pero habang nagsisimula ka pa lang patulan mo na lahat. Seventh, take care of you health, syempre hindi ka makakatangap ng raket kung may sakit ka di ba. Your health is important. Eight, if you get a job as a writer, nag cover ka ng event bago ka magtanong do your homework, be prepared, always know a little bit of the person you are interviewing. Do your research before you interview. Kasi para alam mo what to ask and not to ask. Ninth, pag nagsulat ka, wag mong kopyahin lang yung press release. Copying a press release is not journalism. Copying a press release and passing it as your own is not journalism, its plagiarism. The press release serves as a guide. Kasi you have to remember, when interviewing somebody, you are in a privilege position, you can ask anything you want. You have to think na what would my reader want to know about this person or about this event about this show or whatever. On rare occasions na meron kang interview na biglaan and you don’t have time to research, if lang ha, you can fake it but only if wala kang oras mag research, I emphasize on if. Before you get into this business, ask yourself first, is this really what you want to do? Kasi dahil nga you know, aminin ko na hindi ano ang pera, ang daming iba jan na nagttrabaho nga sa publishing or sa magazine industry or sa dyaryo, magrereklamo sila na hay naku I’m so poor, bakit kayo nagkaganyan eh ginusto niyo to di ba. Ginusto niyo tong trabahong to that means tatangapin niyo no matter what. Kahit maliit ang sweldo. Maliit talaga ang sweldo ko, I don’t make that much but I stay here why kasi I love it. Ask yourself first, if you love this. Is this a job na gagawin mo kahit ang kinakain mo na lang pancit canton kasi wala ka ng mabiling iba kasi wala ka ng pera, titiisin mo ba lahat para sa job na to. It the answer is yes, go if may konting hesitation maybe it’s not the right industry. Importante ang passion. Lastly, in this day and age, almost everybody is on facebook, twitter, google plus whatever basta social network, always remember na, what you do reflects on the organization you work for. You have to conduct yourself maayos at all time in public especially on social networks. And ngayon, some companies pag nag aaplly ka sa kanila, they will google on you, that could affect whether or not hire you.

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