History of School Papers
In the public high schools in the City of Manila, school newspapers were published as early as 1930, although records show that The Coconut, a mimeographed copy and edited by Carlos P. Romulo came out in the school year 1911-1912. For several years some big schools in the public schools in Manila had one newspaper, the first three pages of which were devoted to English and the remaining pages to Filipino. It was only in 1960 when some big schools published separate issues in English and in Filipino. In 1952, formal instructions in high school journalism began. That was the time when Mrs. Sarah England, an American teacher of Mapa High School, experimented on the teaching of journalism. The experiment proved so successful that other four existing high schools followed suit. These schools formally offered journalism as a vocational subject holding classes on a daily double period throughout the school year. Since then, journalism has been under the supervision of English supervisors, but grades were considered as vocational subjects.
History of School Newspapers in the Philippines
According to Jesus Valenzuela in the History of Journalism in the Philippine Islands (1933) and John Lent in the Philippine Mass Communication (1964), the history of campus journalism in the Philippines started when the University of Santo Tomas published El Liliputiense in 1890.
However, Oscar Manalo, NarcisoMatienzo, and VirgilioMonteloyola in AngPamahayagan (1985) argued that the history of campus journalism in the country started when the University of the Philippines published The College Folio, now The Philippine Collegian, in 1910. They also added that The Torch of the Philippine Normal University, The Guidon of the Ateneo de Manila University, and The Varsitarian of the University of Santo Tomas were also published two years later. Whatever came first, Carlos Romulo y Peña edited The Coconut, the official student publication of the Manila High School, now the Araullo High School. It was published in 1912 and it is now considered the first and oldest high school newspaper in the country.
In 1923, La Union High School in the Ilocos Region published The La Union Tab, the first printed and regularly issued high school newspaper in the country. Since then, high school newspapers came out one after the other. Among these high school newspapers were The Pampangan, Pampanga High School, 1925; The Leytean, Leyte High School, 1925; The Rizalian, Rizal High School, 1926; The Coconut, Tayabas High School, 1927; The Volcano, Batangas High School, 1927; The Toil, La Union Trade School, 1928; The Samarinian, Samar High School, 1928; The Melting Pot, Tarlac High School, 1929; The Granary, Nueva Ecija High School, 1929; The Torres Torch, Torres High School, 1930; and The Cagayan Student Chronicle, Cagayan High School, 1931.
In 1931, 30 out of 106 high schools in the country had campus newspapers registered at the Bureau of Public Schools. In 1950, this number increased to 169; by 1954, to 253; by 1975, to 500; and by 1986, to more than 900 newspapers in English and in Filipino (Escote, A. 2008).
Functions of School Papers
Journalism is an academic discourse guaranteed by Republic Act No. 7079, also known as the Campus Journalism Act of 1991, which protects freedom of the press at the campus level and promotes the growth and development of campus journalism as a means of developing moral character, encouraging critical thinking, and strengthening ethical values. Journalism, the art and science of writing for newspapers, periodicals, radio, television, and online publications, enfolds timely and factual reports of unusual or unexpected events, opinions, or situations that affect man and his environment. These reports are gathered, evaluated, and published, broadcasted, or posted on the Web to inform, to entertain, or to influence a large number of readers.