Just a *little* personal news on my part (and not-so-humble-bragging): I was chosen one of fellow of the Executive Leadership Program organized by Asian American Journalists Association. This was made possible by a fellowship supported by Google. Yes it happened: I went from being an Iskolar ng Bayan to Iskolar ng Google -which explains the photo of me in Google HQ in Singapore – where I actually attended the first two classes included in this 3-month program (the rest of the program is dine online).

Run in parallel with AAJA’s 27th Executive Leadership Program in the US, ELP Asia 2023 brings together 12 mid to senior-level journalists from across Asia to engage in targeted professional development, cross-cultural peer learning and mentorship from top executives in media. Thanks to a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) fellowship supported by the Google News Initiative (GNI), 10 participants have received a full tuition grant to attend the training.

So yahhh, I’m-sort-of-studying again – one former ELP participant described this as a ‘mini-MBA’ customized for journos. I never really thought that I would be in graduate school again. I also hesitated to apply for a seat in the program and after hewing and hawing for about a month, I forced myself to submit my application about a few hours before the deadline.

The hesitation stemmed from my concerns if this program would be of any use to me. I’ve been a working journo for over 20 years, kailangan ko pa ba ito? Is sacrificing my Saturday mornings (and Friday nights) really worth it? Shouldn’t I spend more time planning my (early) retirement instead?

But in the end, I applied (simply because there’s this strong inner force, the Goddess within me that’s prodding me to just do it! Walang mawawala). And I did get in and after attending a few classes and meeting other journalists across the region, I’m happy that I did listen to my inner Goddess guidance.

This is me at the Google Hq in Singapore. Thank you, Andy for the photo.

The ongoing program is an eye-opener. While I always insist that journalism is a trade where most stuff can be learned by praxis – by being in a newsroom and NOT in the classroom – there’s still a need even for long time practitioners to just sit down and listen. Listen to old and new things, to look beyond the journalism profession because perhaps we can learn from other professions – business or psychology – and then apply what we learned in this ever-changing industry.

The program is also an exercise of self -reflection – it was pushing me look at my priorities, to think where I really want to go in the next few years. What is interesting is that it’s encouraging me to travel again. So perhaps, this may signal my return to travel blogging!