03 February 2017

Being Part of the Staff of the Bulik and the Stallion


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I had written for Bulik, the school newspaper, since my junior year; but this school year, if memory serves me right, I was assigned to be the Sports Editor. This was probably right for me since I played varsity football. However, the real editorial chores fell on the shoulders of Mr. Teofedro Tisbe, the newspaper’s faculty moderator. All editorial titles, if I am being honest, were really more ceremonial.

Publications in the seventies were a world away from what they have become in the present day. We wrote articles first on pad or yellow paper, then had these checked by the moderator. When the articles were acceptable, we found a free typewriter at the Typing Room and started typing these on plain bond paper.

To fit the articles into newspaper columns, we counted the number of characters in each line, making sure these were from 32 to 37. I don’t know why I remember this. I just do. Initially, it was cumbersome to have to manually count each character, including spaces; but over time I learned how to correctly estimate how many characters I had already typed.

After all the articles were collected, these were sent to the press for typesetting. The very same articles that we had submitted were retyped at the press but already in the required font size, column width and justified format. The typeset articles were then returned to us for editing. The press also sent dummy sheets or newspaper-size pieces of paper lined with columns to serve as guides for the laying out of the next edition. We literally cut the typeset articles and pasted these on the dummy sheets.

Once the laid out dummy sheets were returned to the press, these were photographed and initially printed on blueprints for further proofreading. This could get utterly tiresome and dummy sheets could be tossed back and forth from the press to the staff with corrections still unchanged.

Years later when I had taught myself and became expert at the publication software called PageMaker, everything that we used to laboriously do to produce newspapers I could do in a few days on my own. What I learned from my experiences with the Bulik staff and my subsequent work as moderator for the yearbook was that there was no such thing as a reliable press.

To avoid the tiresome and sometimes repetitive exchange of blueprints with the press, with the aid of computers I learned to create newsletters and other publications that were, in press parlance, publication ready. The only responsibility of the press would be to reproduce them using this process called offset printing. This was a thousand-fold more efficient. Only one edit was required unlike in the old days when we always found it so annoying to find that the corrections we made in the previous blueprint were still present in the new one.


Being a senior, and already being a member of the Bulik staff, it felt almost obligatory to join the staff of the Stallion yearbook as well. There is just one word that I will describe how our yearbook eventually turned out: basic. It wasn’t ugly, but it certainly didn’t have the bells and whistles that we originally intended it to have.

We were actually brimming with ideas about how we would execute the yearbook. The problem was, we were supposed to attend a training workshop to be given by the press that for one reason or the other did not push through.

That our yearbook was hurriedly done is evident, especially if you compare it to the yearbooks that I myself laid out years later using desktop publishing software. This was because only a few of us members of the staff were still around to finish the layouts in fact during summer vacation already after we had graduated.

The more artistic members of the staff were either already enjoying summer vacation or busy applying for admission at different colleges and universities. Those of us still willing to work just mechanically drew boxes and rectangles on the dummy sheets and labeled each. All the bells and whistles we originally wanted, we simply just did not know how to do. One thing was sure, however. Ours wasn’t going to be the most artistically laid out yearbook, but there was no way in hell that we would leave it unpublished. It was, after all, our yearbook.

Years late when I was already doing computer desktop publication, I used to imagine how vastly different our yearbook would have been if we already had computers.

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