YEARS OF HAVING BEEN A JOURNALIST, in three places, had made me edgy each time the drop deadline came.

Every time the managing editor called to remind me of things to write, edit, and analyze, I would almost always go on a catatonic mode, and for at least twenty-four hours--which is long for a newspaper standard--I would not want to touch any of the articles for editing, the editorial, and some other assignments including the feature story.

In Los Angeles, I would burn the wires, what with the technical bureau in the Philippines. I could only thank God because that bureau headed by a former student to the priesthood but now a colleague-cum-co-warrior in the struggle for cultural democracy had made it sure that we beat the deadline.

Even when brownouts and blackouts were the style of life in da Pinas, our bureau chief would make it sure that he was able to put the paper to bed, assembling everything from the first to the last page from scratch. It was a feat this, which was a far cry from our Kailokuan Star days, a newspaper that ICRI put out in the days when Internet and layout were at their most primitive form.

The Inquirer Weekly was most excruciating, with deadlines to beat, and circulation problems to consider, a circulation issue that spanned from some of the US Mainland cities to as far as Honolulu.

And I had to check whether the circulation was just fine because the competitors, we were told by our agents, would just trash ours and put theirs on our racks.

This battle for public space remained our problem, as well as that battle for advertisers, which was doubly troubling. The weekly publishing expenses took a toll on us in the management staff.

Today, I have left newspapering to concentrate on other concerns including doing public television.

And, of course, this chance to write this sabbatical note.

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