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Bowing out

“You can’t win every battle. Sometimes victory comes in form of bowing out gracefully.” – Toni Payne

And here ends 38 years of The Visayan DAILY STAR, the paper that most of us grew up with up, at least I did. Not a day passes without an issue of the STAR in our home unless something happens that prevent publication.

I started my life outside of Bacolod but when I came back and joined the media, it wasn’t hard for me because I was Rolly Espina’s daughter. I remember one visit in Murcia where four lovely single ladies I met for the first time, chatted me up as if I was no stranger.

They asked me how each of my siblings were doing. They told me, they too felt the pain we had, when we lost our mom. I thought they were friends of my parents until they told me they’ve never met my Nanay or Daddy but they were loyal followers of my father’s column in DAILY STAR where he often mentioned events in our lives.

And that is one strength of the STAR. It had the power to influence and inspire others. Thus, when Tita Ninfa and Carla offered me the space left behind by Daddy, I did not think twice because I may not have been able to fill his shoes in the last three years, but it allowed me to continue his voice.

I am my father’s daughter and though extending his journey with DAILY STAR is quite short, I know that he would have been proud of what
I have contributed. When TVDS announced their closure last July, I was thankful that Daddy was not around anymore as I know it will break his heart.

I know there have been issues even before the pandemic and I’ve done my bit to help out. However, things worsened when the lockdown ensued and advertisers and street sales that kept this paper afloat disappeared overnight.

TVDS established itself as the most credible community paper in Negros and naturally, many believers offered to help and bail out the paper. For some reason, management declined the offer and the last statement they issued was this is just a temporary pause while they re-strategize.

My heart goes out to the editorial staff, particularly to Carla, Gilbert, Chrysee, Nida and Sir Allen who spent a lot of years working for TVDS. They devoted their lives to this paper and just like that, they are left out in the field to fend for themselves.

I remembered how Toks Lopez and I used to taunt Carla whom we would see typing away past midnight as we pass by TVDS on our way home from a night out. We would call and tell her so but she would just laugh and tell us to stop bothering her. That dedication to her craft can never be questioned, yet like all the others, she is now facing the unknown.

But as Payne said, not all battles can be won. Sometimes victory comes when one bows out gracefully and Carla and the rest of the staff just did that – they bowed out gracefully with their pride and integrity intact.

Former Gov. Lito Coscolluela posted, “Two media icons in Negros Occidental, gone. But the men and women who gave us the news every day over all those years will not fade away. Bangon!” referring to the closure of ABS-CBN and TVDS.

Indeed. It is not the end of the road for them as Carla, Gilbert and Marchel continue to write for national media outlets. Some will be moving forward with other news platform and it wasn’t hard for them because they’ve invested their name in TVDS and for that alone, people will continue to look up to them as credible news source even outside of TVDS.

Management said they will make a comeback and it will probably be in digital format. When that will be remains to be seen. However, I was told yesterday that none of their existing staff will return and it may take a while to discover and train journalists that can replace the loss of Carla and the rest of the team that made TVDS what it is. It is not management, nor the company board that made TVDS a credible newspaper that survived for 38 years but their pool of talents with integrity.

The closure of Daily Star will have a chilling effect on other community papers here and elsewhere. If the pandemic can bring TVDS on its knees, I can’t imagine what the other papers are doing now to continue to exist, unless they are being subsidized.

But more than the loss of the employees, the public is the biggest loser here in so far as losing a source of credible information is concerned.

My heart goes out to my TVDS family especially to Tita Ninfa, Carla, Gilbert, Chrysee, Nida, Sir Allen, Marchel, Shiela, Che, Lovely, Maja, Weena, and Tatay Ronnie and I wish you all the best in your journey.

But as Paolo Coelho said, “If you are brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.”*

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June 2022

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