National Schools Press Conference
The National Schools Press Conference brings together young campus journalists from schools all over the country to compete for accolades in print and broadcast media. It also has competitions in online journalism.
It is the most prestigious competition for campus journalists and school paper advisers in the Philippines. In this annual event, all winners of Regional Schools Press Conferences all over the Philippines participate in individual and group competitions.
In November 1931, the Public Secondary Schools Press Association (PSSPA) had its first convention in what was then Pasig, Rizal. The PSSPA was founded by a high school principal, Ricardo Castro, and had 17 original member schools. During this first convention, writing competitions for the different sections of a school paper were held. The tradition continued year after year, as the number of member-schools increased, with different parts of Luzon as venues. After World War II, the PSSPA was reorganized and 49 member-schools participated in the National Convention held in Manila.
By 1955, the PSSPA Convention had become the National Secondary Schools Press Conference. On January 10 and 11 of that year, 70 member-schools attended the conference at Bacolod City. The individual competitions were open to all members, while the group competitions were held according to category. Group A for the group competitions was composed of those member-schools with populations of 1,500 and above, while Group B was composed of those member-schools with populations below 1,500. At that same conference, the National Secondary Schools Press Advisers Association was organized and it then passed a resolution calling for the authorization of staff members to handle school paper funds, subject to accounting. The resolution was subsequently approved by the Bureau of Public Schools.
In 1957, a third group classification was added. Group A members were schools with over 3,000 population; Group B members had populations ranging from 1,500 to below 3,000; while Group C members had below 1,500 population. During this year, the conference was held for a longer time, enabling the delegates to take part in longer educational tours of the host locality. A year later, the group classifications were again reorganized, placing schools with over 2,000 population in Group A, those with 1,000 to 2,000 population in Group B, and those with less than 1,000 in Group C. During this year, a Public School Circular was passed authorizing the solicitations of advertisements for school papers, under certain conditions.<ref name="test1">The History of the Pampangan. Alumni Golden Jubilee Yearbook of Pampanga High School, posted online by Candido Miranda, PHS Batch '61 (accessed February 14, 2008)</ref>
In 1991, Republic Act No. 7079, or the Campus Journalism Act, aiming to promote campus journalism, was passed by Congress. The 50th National Secondary Schools Press Conference was held in early 1993 at Rizal High School in Pasig, the same locality that hosted the first PSSPA Convention. The next school year, 1993-1994, elementary schools were included in the convention, causing the word "secondary" to be dropped and the convention to be called the "National Schools Press Conference".
In December 1993, the National Schools Press Conference was to be held in Koronadal, South Cotabato for the first time. However, a week before the convention, when all preparations had been made and the host schools and municipalities were awaiting the arrival of the delegates, there was a bombing incident at Isulan, Sultan Kudarat. The Secretary of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports at that time, Armand Fabella, declared this sufficient grounds to move the convention to Baguio City, prompting a storm of protest from then South Cotabato Governor Hilario de Pedro III, who had been one of the sponsors of the Campus Journalism Act when he was Representative of the 2nd District of South Cotabato, and then Representative Daisy Avance-Fuentes. This controversy caused the Southern Mindanao delegation to boycott the Baguio conference. Shortly afterwards, Ricardo Gloria replaced Fabella as Education Secretary, and in December 1994 the 52nd National Schools Press Conference was held at Koronadal National Comprehensive High School. In its 65th year, the annual NSPC was held at Koronadal City in South Cotabato.
From 22 to 25 February 2010, the DepEd division of Tagum City and the City Government of Tagum will be hosting the 69th National Schools Press Conference. The four-day conference is themed "Campus Journalism as a Catalyst for Change: Achieving the Millenium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015."
This year's competition includes an online writing contest, which was launched by Vibal Foundation in 2009, following a memorandum issued by DepEd Secretary Jesli A. Lapus. <ref name="test6">Addendum to DepEd Memorandum NO. 457, S. 2008 (National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) SY 2008-2009). DepEd.gov.ph (accessed February 5, 2009)</ref> The contest now includes Filipino-category participants since it was initially exclusive to secondary and elementary English-category contestants.
The 2010 NSPC is also first in its kind to be covered online by major national, regional, local and school media agencies. The billeting centers are also connected to the Web via WiFi Hotspots provided free of charge by Globe Telecom.
Calendar of activities
All delegates are expected to arrive in Tagum City on 21 February. The orientation and the welcome ceremony are scheduled on 22 February. The contest proper begins on 23 February and ends on 24 February. The MDG educational tour, the editors' guild meeting, and the awarding ceremonies are slated on 25 February.
Rules and Mechanics
Preparation for the NSPC starts at the Division Level with the Division Schools Press Conference (DSPC). The editorial members of campus papers in a division compete in English or Filipino in different categories. The top three winners for each category in each language medium are then qualified for the Regional Level. The same rules apply at the Regional Schools Press Conference.
The categories, for both English and Filipino, are:
- Editorial Writing (Pagsulat ng Pangulong Tudling)
- Feature Writing (Pagsulat ng Lathalain)
- News Writing (Pagsulat ng Balita)
- Sports Writing (Pagsulat ng Balitang Isports)
- Copyreading and Headline Writing (Pagwawasto at Pag-uulo)
- Photojournalism (Pagkuha ng Larawang Pampahayagan)
- Editorial Cartooning (Kartung Pang-Editoryal)
- Outstanding Campus Journalist
- Outstanding School Paper Adviser
This category was included in past NSPC conferences, but was not included among the 2009 competitions<ref name="memo2008">DECS Memorandum No. 457, Series of 2008. PDF File on the Department of Education website (accessed February 6, 2009)</ref>:
- News Reporting (Pagbabalita)
- Best Editorial Page (Pahinang Editoryal)
- Best Feature/Literary Page (Pahinang Lathalain)
- Best News Page (Pahinang Balita)
- Best Sports Page (Pahinang Pampalakasan)
- Best Layout/Page Design (Pag-aanyo)
- Radio Broadcasting and Scriptwriting (Ulat Panradyo)
These categories were included in past NSPC conferences, but were not included among the 2009 competitions<ref name=memo2008/>:
- Best Developmental Journalism Reporting Page (Pahinang Dev. Com.)
- Best Science Reporting Page (Pahinang Pang-agham)
Formerly, each division sent to the RSPC ten contestants per category for both English and Filipino languages. The region then sent its top five winners per category for both mediums to the NSPC. An individual contestant could participate in a maximum of three individual competitions provided that the schedules for these competitions did not conflict with one another. The awards garnered by these contestants who participated in multiple events were then given equivalent points and added up to determine who would receive the award for the highest individual pointer in each language medium.
On October 6, 1999, however, Education Secretary Andrew Gonzales issued DECS Memorandum No. 437, Series of 1999, which stated that a contestant could participate in only two events and in only one medium provided that the two events did not conflict with each other. <ref name="test2">DECS Memorandum No. 437, Series of 1999. PDF File on the Department of Education website (accessed February 14, 2008)</ref> This was amended in 2002 with the issuance of Department of Education Memorandum No. 4, Series of 2002, on January 11, 2002, by Education Secretary Raul Roco. DM No. 4 provided that a pupil or student could participate in a maximum of four events but in only one medium, and that there should be seven winners for every category from every region.<ref name="test3">DepEd Memorandum No. 4, Series of 2002. PDF File on the Department of Education website (accessed February 14, 2008)</ref>
The News Reporting and Desktop Publishing categories were first introduced in 2003, with a demonstration having been held at the previous year's NSPC. The DepEd memorandum for this same year states that a student may opt to participate in as many categories as he is able within the same medium provided there are no conflicts in the schedule. <ref name="test4">DepEd Memorandum No. 417, Series of 2003. PDF File on the Department of Education website (accessed February 14, 2008)</ref> However, in 2004, only the News Reporting category was retained.
- Official Website of NSPC 2010
- Official Live! blog of NSPC 2010
- Official blog of NSPC 2010
- Official Facebook account of NSPC 2010
- Official Twitter account of NSPC 2010
- Philippine Online Chronicles Special Coverage of NSPC
- DepEd Memorandum NO. 457, S. 2008 (National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) SY 2008-2009)
- Addendum to DepEd Memorandum NO. 457, S. 2008 (National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) SY 2008-2009)
- "Victory at NSPC." The Visayan Daily Star