SOME 12 years ago, as an editorial assistant (EA) in the newsroom, I would read to LJM on the phone the news summaries for the day that the reporters had submitted. The list of news summaries helps Inquirer editors decide which stories to use on what pages of the paper’s issue the next day.
I remember how Ma’am LJM once asked me a question, a follow-up to the news item that came out that day. I was stumped and didn’t have a clue about what she was talking about. Then she asked in her distinctively raspy voice, “Don’t you read the paper?”
Since then, as an EA, I always made sure to go through the entire issue of the newspaper before starting my shift at the news desk. Ma’am LJM certainly knew how to push you to become better without being harsh.
When I went out in the field as a reporter two years later, I always recall that encounter to remind me to always be sharp and strive for excellence. Ma’am LJM made me fall in love with my job and with the Inquirer over and over again despite the ups and downs.
When Miko Morelos (then still an Inquirer reporter) and I handed Ma’am LJM the invitation to our wedding four years ago, she said, “Oh, you’re getting married! Do your parents know about this?” We all broke into laughter.