Karla Prieto Delgado
"In, I think,
grade 4 when our teachers asked us what we want to be, I answered journalist
but in between I don't know why. I like to write (and when) I was in IS (International
Studies) and they made us write stories I liked that, so I think that's why
I said journalist but it actually happened, I didn't grow up wanting to be a
journalist it happened by mistake", Karla narrates how her inclination
in journalism started.
Karla Prieto Delgado is one of the fourth generation descendants of the Roces clan in Philippine print media. She is the daughter of Mercedes "Peachy" Roces-Prieto and Jose Roberto Delgado. She is the middle sibling to elder brother, Marco Delgado, and younger half-sister, Ma. Bianca Santos. Furthermore, she is the granddaughter of then Manila Times' director, Antonia "Chucha" Roces Prieto, who is also the sister of the well-known Chino Roces and former Manila Times' president, Benito "Bibelo" Legarda Prieto.
Karla had gone to 13 schools from elementary to post graduate studies. Remarking with jest shesays, "I was constantly moving because my mom is somewhat of a gypsy". She first enrolled at a Montessori in Pasay for first grade and later transferred to St. Theresa's College. AfterSTC, she went to Assumption College and then International School. In fifth grade, her family decided to move up to Baguio where she studied at Brent. The next school year she went to a public schoolcalled Special Education Center which was a learning institution for students who are deaf, blind and mentally handicapped but they are gifted - like normal kids. It was the school which for Karla left a "life-long impression" on her. Then came secondary education, on her first year she went to the University of Baguio Science High School. After which her family moved to England, there she enrolled at Stoke Brunswick School and later went to the Convent of the Sacred Heart at Woldingham. Also at one time she applied for A School Year Abroad Program, sponsored by Phillips Exeter and Phillips Andover of Spain that enabled her to go to any high school based in New England, USA. In college, during her first year she was at an all-girl's school called Smith College at Northampton, Massachusetts. However, she later opted for a co-educational system so she transferred to Harvard in Cambridge. There she graduated cum laude on June 1988 with a degree in Bachelor of Arts major in Government. She is currently taking a Creative Writing class at the University of the Philippines, Diliman before she goes back to US to take her masters.
Her first involvement in journalism was back in college when she became one of the staffers of the Harvard Political Review. After graduation, with writing as her "only marketable experience", she applied at the Village Voice, which is an "artsy, leftist" newspaper in New York. "I started out as an intern…(then) the managing editor happened to drop by the office of the personnel's internee core, who was the senior editor. And then he said that he was interviewing for a job and if I wanted I could have an interview with him that day… So, I did and I got the job", Karla narrates. It was 1988 when she started working for the Village Voice and her beat was the Asian - American community at the lower east side of New York. She also remembers having done a story on a fiasco in the late 80s which involved the influx of wealth from Hong Kong to the city (New York). Likewise, during her time with Village Voice she used to be a stringer for the Asiaweek, contributing stories happening in the city. Despite these she knew that she would never make a good reporter because for her people's privacy means a lot. So, in 1989 she left Village Voice. At about the same time, Asiaweek offered her to be a staff in Hong Kong. She accepted the job in 1990 and migrated. She worked for three years with Asiaweek, started as a staff writer then promoted to news editor, general editor and finally, issue managing editor. In 1993 she moved back to the Philippines and was employed at Philippine Daily Inquirer. Her first job at PDI was in the corporate planning department. "I thought I might be interested in the business side but then I realized I missed the writing, editorial (and) creative side(s)", Karla explains. Returning to her line of expertise, she became editor of the Sunday Inquirer Magazine in 1996. Nevertheless, she resigned last December 2000 because of her plan of taking her masters abroad.
At present, Karla is busy attending her class at UP Diliman with mentor, Butch Dalisay. Furthermore, she is involved in writing a coffee table book on Philippine Forests with the well-known photographer, Neil Oshima, to be published by Centro Escolar University. At present she is more of a freelance person and plans to devote most of her time to writing.
In her 12 years in journalism there are several people that she considers inspirational to her career. Two of these people are PDI editor-in-chief, Letty Jimenez Magsanoc, and editorial consultant, Amando Doronilla. According to her, these are the people who became not only hermentors but also friends. They shared her not just their technical skills but at the same time their values and outlook in life and work. "I think it's important to have people like (them) in your life because they reinforce what you believe in and what you stand for", expounds Karla. For her Letty is one "committed journalist", she is "the type who leads by example" and a person who "really stands up for press freedom". On the other hand, Mr. Doronilla or Doro, as she fondly calls him, is someone who has a "very strong work ethic" and of "solid values". Karla adds, "I feel lucky to be able to know people like (them)".
Karla believes that at some point her involvement into journalism has something to do with her having a Roces blood. Karla explains, "I really relate with my Roces relatives…I feel a close bond with them…I think it has to do with how (we share) the same values…(it) reinforces what kind of person you are". Referring to her sense of activism, she is also assured that, "I get that from my mom and I know she gets that from the Roceses".
Karla leaves some words of advice to budding journalists. According to her, the first step is to find a good mentor. She urges aspiring media people to, "get out there (in the field) and chase the story, get the story yourself" and "question everything, not to take what's told, not to take it as necessarily the truth". Lastly, she emphasizes that, "…journalist don't do it for the money".
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