2017 was a challenging year for professional journalists. There were many issues that needed to be covered, as President Duterte held his first full year in office.
While the Philippine press was busy covering the countless national controversies in 2017, Amaranth followed a fair number of stories and issues that covered not only inside the VSU campus, but also beyond.
We looked back at the year that was, went over the data on our website and social media pages, and made this shortlist of Amaranth stories that we believe made an impact in 2017.
#VSUGrad 2017: Graduating or gradually waiting?
On June 2017, VSU was met with controversies on what would be considered the university’s first major event of the year—graduation.
A number of graduating students were stuck in limbo for not completing their graduation clearance on time. The students petitioned for due consideration from the VSU administration, and President Edgardo Tulin approved their petition.
However, the issue incited a flurry of questions about VSU’s guidelines on graduation, and it forced university officials to revisit the VSU code to clarify the deadline of requirements. Officials promised to engage in “yearlong conversations” to make VSU’s graduation guidelines clearer and more stringent.
CHED 5K Yolanda aid
Another hot issue Amaranth was able to follow was the controversial CHED 5K Yolanda aid, as VSU students complained about the four-year delay of the financial assistance and the short notice of deadlines to apply for it.
Despite criticisms to the role of Amaranth as a campus press, Amaranth stood firm to its decision to report about the story of its former staff who allegedly initiated vulgar conversations with a male VSU senior high school student. The teacher, who works at a far-flung barangay in Baybay, later on claimed that his social media account was hacked, hence, the vulgar chats.
Assault at Pangasugan
Last August, VSU students were mistakenly assaulted by Barangay Pangasugan officials for false accusations of destruction of public properties. As the Barangay Captain was proven wrong, Amaranth continuously supported the VSU students to stand for their rights by uncovering all the truths of the story. The Barangay Captain later on apologized and said he is ready to resign, if that’s what the victims want. The victims filed administrative and legal cases against Magan, and we will report about its developments as soon as we know more.
Tragic stories of 2017
We noticed a trend that many read tragic stories of death and accidents.
The story about the sudden death of then education student, Daryl Salidaga, and the critical condition of his friend, Esteban Jandoc, after crashing with a truck at Ormoc City, gained the highest page views among the accident stories of 2017.
In 2016, most read story was also about death: VSU transgender student dying of a heart attack after an alleged overdose of pills.
Back in April, rumor went around that a VSU student died after another student on a motorcycle ran over him, but we found out that he is actually alive and well.
Last year, Amaranth followed major SCUAA controversies that hounded the #SCUAA2016 host school, Naval State University. We came up with investigative stories about an illegal athlete “import” in NSU’s basketball team, and how the host school’s secretariat bungled the reporting of results.
For #SCUAA2017, Amaranth also made significant coverages including the conflicts that arose on the early displacement of VSU dormitory occupants to make way for SCUAA-8 delegates. Some dormers asked for a refund, however, this was settled after majority of the dormers happily agreed to the appeal of the Dean of Students Manolo B. Loreto to make this early exit a contribution to the success of the #SCUAA2017.
Weeks after this agreement, however, the dormers who were still staying in the dorms for their academic requirements were surprised to see their things thrown out of their rooms by laborers who were directed by USSO to prepare the dorms for the arriving delegations. This brought about an uproar of hate comments and reactions online and offline.
Amaranth also tackled the issue on campus security when SLSU’s pageant candidates were robbed during their stay at the Apartelle.
We led the ambitious coverage of the 33rd Regional SCUAA games held here at VSU, with the rest of the student journalists from Eastern Visayas under the CampusJourn platform.
Some of the significant stories that CampusJourn followed include the issue on the delayed announcements of official game results of #SCUAA2017 because of WiFi problems, Inquirer.net's sharing VSU’s #SCUAA2017 livestreams, and the tie in EVSU and VSU’s gold medal tally as the SCUAA-8 concluded.
EV campus journalists were able to bring SCUAA-8 to the non-athletes outside VSU via daily score updates, newsletters, and VLOGs. This collaboration strengthened the connection of the campus journalists all around Eastern Visayas who will surely meet again in the upcoming 2018 Regional Tertiary School Press Conference (RTSPC) this February.
All of these was possible because of your support, dear readers. As we gear up for 2018, we will continue to cover events and issues that matter to you the best way we can.
Cheers to an exciting year ahead!