Bloopers and other strange things
TO THE QUICK - Jerry S. Tundag (The Freeman) - July 19, 2019 - 12:00am

This column today misses The FREEMAN centennial edition by a day. But then, as all strange things go, coming out as the paper turns a hundred and a day old isn't such a bad thing after all. In fact, with all the serious stuff behind us now, maybe it is time for a few laughs, about ourselves here in The FREEMAN, that many do not know about.

One day in the mid-80s The FREEMAN nearly failed to come out. A small mine had a problem and called in the media to explain. The entire staff of three reporters and a photographer went and spent the rest of the day at a resort on the way back. No stories, no paper. So editor Juanito Jabat filled the paper with PRs while I wrote the banner from a letter to the editor.

Another time, Jabat mistakenly threw another banner I edited into the trash can which eventually went to the sidewalk for pick-up. Production staff had to call back Jabat who had already gone home to ask where the banner was. No computer files then, they finally found the headline from the trash can that everybody emptied onto the pavement.

From the days of typewriter and paper, a former staff member once wrote a story, fell asleep, woke up, and continued typing away --an entirely different story. One time, there was a feature story about "The nine lives of cats." Trouble was, the picture that accompanied it was that of a dog.

When a building under construction collapsed and buried alive 14 workers known in Cebuano as "ma-son," our reporter headed off his story with "14 amazons killed." Another story about a woman whose shopping bags were snatched from her in a jeepney was ticked off as "shoplifting inside a jeepney."

There was that reporter who wrote about how during a shootout a man “shot strongly to the right” and later “died strenuously” after he had been shot. Another write-up talked about a man who was seen by his wife “walking with his covet (kabit)”.

In the late 1980s, every single photo release from the Capitol was always credited to four people (picture it --four people holding a single camera. It was also common then for photos to be pre-captioned by contributors with a "not in photo" caveat. But of course, silly. No need to say it.

One time a cartoonist got so mad at the news editor he actually labeled a cartoon figure with the name of the editor. Another time, a half-page ad for a motel found its way into page one. It happened once, the photo of Jabat in his column was replaced by the photo of The Ear.

Talk of mix-ups, my usually hard-hitting column got switched with Flor Ynclino's. So my column started off with "How do you like a box of Swiss chocolates.” We once had a reporter with the same initials as mine --JST-- who moved to Sunstar. One editor there, also once with The FREEMAN, must have had me in mind and bylined her story Jerry S. Tundag. In Sunstar!

JUANITO JABAT
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