April 29, 2004
Nick Joaquin: A Great Journalist, A Great Filipino
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines mourns the death of Nick Joaquin, National Artist for Literature and one of the country’s preeminent journalists.
As a literary giant, Mr. Joaquin was an exemplar. As a journalist (he used the byline Quijano de Manila for his journalistic writings), Mr. Joaquin displayed a remarkable talent and dedication that inspired a generation of Filipino journalists. His reportage on politics, culture, crime and the travails of ordinary people were unparalleled; he plumbed the depths of his subjects as no reporter in his time ever had.
Perhaps even before the Americans invented the word “literary journalism,”
let alone practice it, Mr. Joaquin was already into it, infusing his stories with the sensitivity and flair of a literary genius and a great reporter. (One of Mr. Joaquin’s reports, “The House on Zapote Street,” was later turned into the movie Kisapmata.)
As editor, particularly at the Philippine Graphic magazine, Mr. Joaquin was not only well-liked for his lively presence (oftentimes with that beer bottle in hand) — he was also admired for giving new literary talents their break in the literary section of the magazine. Many of these fictionists and poets are now among the country’s best.
This great journalist, this great Filipino, will be sorely missed.
CARLOS H. CONDE