Category: Specimens on journalistic style


This feature story has been published on UPIU.com, September 20, 2010

Here is the link: http://www.upiu.com/articles/top-philippine-school-becomes-a-weekly-recreational-haven

Based on form and content, this article was evaluated by my  professor and my classmates in our online journalism class. It was pointed out in our class that the headline was catchy and has the capacity to tickle the curiosity of foreigners. I agree with what one of  my classmates said that the story needed more direct quotes and interviews from the different people who visit the campus on Sundays. It was also indicated that the article ended abruptly in a sense that it had no concluding statement or question.

UPIU mentor Tim Maier had a similar suggestion when he advised me to get more direct quotes from the students, skateboarders, and other visitors and add them to my story. I had an opportunity to interview more people last Sunday, but due to time constraints and unfavorable weather I failed to do so. I plan to get more interviews this upcoming Sunday. Mr. Maier also praised my ironic lead and my visual presentation of the campus. I took note of all the comments and recommendations and made the necessary revisions.

Top Philippine school becomes a weekly recreational haven

By Mark Christian Manalang

The University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD), known for its high-quality education and diverse campus culture, is one of the loudest, busiest and most active academic institutions in the country. But on Sundays, this century-old state university becomes a quiet and peaceful haven for Sunday strollers, fitness buffs, and nature lovers.

The Academic Oval or Acad Oval, which is at the heart of the campus, is closed to vehicular traffic on Sundays making the 2.2-kilometer long track an exclusive recreational venue for people of all ages and interests. This transformation makes the campus practically everyone’s backyard.

“In normal days, UP Diliman is a simple university like others where people go in and go out, but on weekends especially on Sundays the atmosphere changes because it becomes more of a recreational park. Many people can jog around, play, and it’s also free. There is clean air and there are no cars,” said Delburg Mitchao, a 2nd year UPD student who resides and frequently jogs in the campus.

The usual noise and smoke pollution belched out by motorized vehicles are practically nonexistent. The thousands of students, professors, and occasional activists who populate the campus are gone as well.

With the usual campus atmosphere gone, how then would the campus look like? Here are the three things that would best describe UPD’s Sunday scenery:

A fitness and recreation facility

Spending your Sundays at the UPD campus is a great way of taking time out of the urban landscape and enjoying the cheap and simple thrills in life.

The Sunday ambiance is so peaceful and quiet that even the chirps of the birds can be heard. Plus, being car-less for the whole day makes the area practically pollution free.

As early as 5 a.m., hundreds to thousands of joggers, bikers and other persons who have other recreational activities in mind flock the Acad Oval for a peaceful and fun-filled day.

Even local celebrities like Piolo Pascual, Matt Evans,  and KC Concepcion occasionally prefer the campus as a fit jogging location.

Nestle Project Coordinator Sonny Pineda, who regularly uses the oval as a venue for Nestle’s wellness and fitness activities, said that the oval is conducive for promoting a healthy lifestyle among the Filipinos.

Families from all over the Metro Manila region treat the oval as a park by doing all sorts of pleasing activities. Badminton and volleyball are among the sporting events that these families engage in. Groups and individuals also use the oval as a suitable place for aerobics and for walking their dogs. Some teenagers use the humps of the oval to hone their skateboarding skills.

The Gen. Antonio Luna Parading Grounds, commonly known as the Sunken Garden, would be used for most part of the day as a playing field for soccer and ultimate frisbee.

Some would simply laze in the shade while reading a book. Using mats as beds, others would simply go here to have a relaxing outdoor nap. On windy Sundays, some would engage in kite flying.

A huge art exhibit

With a more pleasant atmosphere, the campus and the numerous works of art it contains are better appreciated.

The Acad Oval, which consists of the Osmeña and Roxas avenues, is surrounded by many natural and man-made masterpieces.

The Oblation statue, the most iconic figure in UPD, is a sculpture of a young naked man with his arms spread wide and head held up, looking skyward. This sculpture, crafted by National Artist Guillermo Tolentino, signifies the act of offering oneself in the service of the nation.

Most of the buildings that surround the oval showcase the mid-20th century architecture. The Quezon Hall, which houses the university administration, is buttressed by huge pillars reminiscent of neoclassical architecture.

At the rear of Quezon Hall is the amphitheatre which leads to the UPD Donors Garden, where National Artist Napoleon Abueva’s Tres Marias sculpture can be found.

Photographers, both amateurs and professionals, extend their appreciation by ensuring that they would go home with a souvenir shot of these classical and historic works of art.

The beauty of the lush greenery in UPD is another feast for the eyes. There are 281 acacia trees lining the oval with 109 on the outer lane and 172 on the inside.

Elsewhere in the campus various trees can be found – Molave, Narra or Burmese rosewood, Fire trees, Mahogany and rare species like the Earpod and Sorrowless trees.

A romantic love lounge

At around 6 p.m., when the sun is down and street lamps are finally lit up, the whole area instantly becomes a lovers’ lounge.

By this time some, joggers are still present but most people are simply basking the romantic ambiance with their special someone.

After being a playing field for most of the day, the sunken garden turns into a perfect venue for romantic picnics. Most of the couples are seen near this area while some do slow walks around the oval.

Having said all this, is not a Sunday in UPD the perfect time and place for rest, relaxation, and recreation?

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This article has been published on UPIU.com, September 13, 2010

Here is the Link: http://www.upiu.com/articles/usa%E2%80%99s-world-cup-win-ends-16-year-drought

I intended to make a news feature about Team USA’s gold medal win at the recently concluded FIBA world Championships but when I finished writing the story, it turned out to be a news piece instead.  I found out that this was also noticed by UPIU Mentor Brendan Smith when he commented and gave useful advices to improve my story. If I still wanted to pursue the story, he advised me to go with a feature angle instead since a news story requires first hand sources and is not reliant on web sites and other articles alone. He pointed out that my headline may mislead the reader regarding the sporting event involved since it said “world cup” instead of “world basketball championship.” He also commended the good statistics and information in my story.

I took note of all his comments and made the necessary changes to my article. Considering his advice, I plan to make a feature story on the same topic in the near future.

USA’s world basketball win ends 16-year drought

By Mark Christian Manalang

It has been 16 years since USA basketball last struck gold at the FIBA (Fédération Internationale de Basketball) World Championships.

And after Team USA’s 81-64 finals victory yesterday over host country Turkey, this 16-year drought is finally over.

This is the Americans’ first world title since 1994 when they dominated Russia in a 137-91 finals victory.

”To bring this back to the U.S. after a long, long drought, it feels good. Yeah it’s all worth it,” said USA forward and tournament MVP Kevin Durant on FIBATV.com’s post-game interview.

“This was a big win for us. We wanted to come here and prove we were the best players in the world, the best team in the world, and we did that. It’s very important. We hadn’t done this in 16 years. Now we have qualified for two years time (2012 London Olympic Games), we can go there and try to get another gold,” said USA guard Chauncey Billups.

Recap

From the opening tip-off up to the final buzzer, whistles and boos resonated in the arena each time the Americans had the ball.

The 15,000-seat Sinan Erdem Dome, which was mostly filled by Turkish fans, was at its loudest when Hedo Turkoglu made consecutive 3-pointers to give Turkey its first lead at 15-14 with 4:07 remaining in the first quarter.

According to FIBA.com’s game summary, the Americans were down 17-14 in the first quarter but sparked an 11-0 run in a stretch spanning the late part of the first period and early second for a 25-17 lead and stayed in front the rest of the way.

The U.S. held Turkey to one field goal over the first half of the second period, extending the lead to 10 on a 3-pointer by Durant. The Americans were ahead 42-32 at halftime.

Ender Arslan drained a three-pointer for Turkey’s first points of the third period with 6:36 remaining.

As the third period winded down, Lamar Odom got an easy dunk and the Americans pushed the advantage to 61-48 heading into the final frame.

In the final quarter, Team USA’s stifling defense and hot shooting was too much for the host squad as the Americans maintained their double-digit lead up to the game’s closing seconds.

B-Team

According to NBA.com, the Durant-led US team was called a “B-Team” by many due to its lack of star power. None of the players from 2008 Olympic gold medal team enlisted for the 2010 FIBA World Championships.

“That was motivation for us all. We worked that much harder to prove people wrong,” Durant said on wanting to shake off the tag of being part of a ‘B’ team.

Team USA was left with a young, undersized team, featuring six players 22 or younger and with only one true center in Tyson Chandler.

Despite all this, the B-team was able to outperform its bigger-name predecessors who failed to win it all in Japan four years ago.

Many failed attempts

The previous attempts of USA Basketball to grab the gold at the 1998, 2002, and 2006 FIBA World Cup have all fallen short.

Their 1998 campaign featured an American squad that did not include any NBA (National Basketball Association) player and was comprised of professional basketball players playing in Europe and two college players.

The 1998 USA team reached the knockout stages of the tournament but would later lose to Russia in the semifinals 64-66. Yugoslavia eventually won the 1998 crown while the Team USA finished third by defeating Greece 84-61 in the bronze medal game.

The 2002 campaign in Indianapolis, which saw the return of NBA players to the USA roster, became more disappointing than the previous one.

Team USA, who had the home crowd, finished sixth as they lost to defending and eventual back-to-back champion Serbia &Montenegro (formerly Yugoslavia) 78-81 in the quarterfinals.

The 2006 World Championships in Japan showcased a USA team with fresh young faces and several newcomers from its management down to its players. The head coach was Duke University’s Mike Krzyzewski and the team captains were the young superstar trio of Lebron Jmaes, Dwayne Wade, and Carmelo Anthony.

The 2006 squad cruised through the preliminary and knockout stages with an unblemished record and a large average margin of victory. But Team USA’s stellar performance and its hopes of winning gold were halted by the Greeks in the semifinals as they ousted the Americans with a 101-95 victory.

Spain won the gold by defeating Greece 70-47 and USA went home with a bronze medal by defeating Argentina 96-81.