Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘journalist’

From Selfies to Frontpages

I was caught in a surprise this morning when a fellow reporter tagged me with this frontpage photo from a prominent newspaper.
Miriam Selfie
This was when I was attempting to take my own selfie with Sen. Miriam Santiago. Right after her press conference, the reporters flocked around her for pictures. I thought of taking a chance to have my own memoir. Pushing through the crowd, I did not mind the photogs and the other journos who flocked for her attention (and were taking our photos!).
I have always looked up to Sen. Santiago as a respected, outspoken politician. Fearless, she’s never hesitant to criticize or to be criticized. And she made sure to remain as sharp as iron in mind and heart despite of her condition. Her announcement that she had stage 4 lung cancer was a shock to most. But despite of this, she appeared undaunted as she took her time to pose for a smile with the media.
I have always been careful to take pictures with popular personalities. I don’t usually ask for a pic with them though I personally interview them. I try to be discreet much as I can. Though it is not against ethics, I as a journalist should remain my distance to ensure that the image of fairness is not discredited. Pictures can betray even a group pic has no deep, background story.
But there are times when we journos can sense that taking pictures with them is ok. For me, it is to remember them, the respectable and interesting people who earned a reputation for who they are.
And one of them is this brave senator. She has made very rare public appearances nowadays. Right after the reporter in her left finished her own selfie with her, I took the chance to have my own selfie with the senator.
It’s a bit blurred though, but I’ll cherish it. I tried to take another but I became too shy because the other reporters wanted to take their turn.
Yes, even reporters can become shy when taking pictures. 🙂
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Love in the Midst of the Danger

At NLEX northbound: Braving the way home

At NLEX northbound: Braving the way home

I never learned. I guess this is how hard-headed journalists can be.

For the sake of duty, I braved my way through the strong, heavy rains this morning. Just like August last year, torrential rains caused by monsoon rains (or habagat in our Tagalog language) are causing floods in much of Metro Manila and the National Capital Region (NCR). Since Saturday, the rains did not stop. But I felt no fear as I took a van to work. Only discomfort because of the cold. I’m quite used to this though. For me, it’s not an obligation, but an honor to be part of a team who will bravely go out and witness history.

But due to lack of so many things, operations have to be cancelled. And just like last year, I received the announcement when I am already in the office. *Sigh*

On the positive note, I hitched a hike with people who are going the same way…unlike the last year when I was stranded for hours before getting a bus home.

Almost the same scenario but I never learned. I had this mindset that I have to move towards something unless it’s really impossible. Deep inside I have this fighting spirit that keeps me moving despite of storms or unkind circumstances.

It’s just too bad not to out into the field today. I don’t know why. I love danger. It’s not because I love to see humanity suffering. But I love to see how love is poured out from humanity when the danger sets in.

Marikina River yesterday at below critical level. However, due to continuous rains, the water rose up again

Marikina River yesterday at below critical level. However, due to continuous rains, the water rose up again

Volunteers at Marikina preparing food for evacuees. These guys were opening cans of sardines for lunch. (8/19/2013)

Volunteers at Marikina preparing food for evacuees. These guys were opening cans of sardines for lunch. (8/19/2013)

In my coverage yesterday, I saw a glimpse on how the Marikina government was looking after its people, especially the evacuees who had to flee their homes because of the rising river. The city administrator explained to me how 50 volunteers were able to serve breakfast, lunch, and maybe dinner for about 2,400 evacuees. Most are already leaving the evacuation centers as the waters were beginning to subside. Seeing the ratio of volunteers, I wonder how much grace and patience they have to give to serve more than a thousand.

But the weather seem to have gone worst today. I just haven’t seen how things have been now.

With memories flashing back, I will never actually forget the horror of being a stranded passenger last year. No other way to go home, I walked meters to find a ride that would at least make me come closer to home. I’ll never forget the regret and frustration I felt that made my head swirl a lot. I felt so embarrassed for looking so lost and drenched while being too well-dressed. And most of all, the fear of not knowing what’s next as the waters were rising.

But it is at these moments when strangers, who might because have this empathy of being lost too, would try to share a seat in the bus or spare a space for you. Some of them would even offer you their only bread — their lone meal for the day. I wanted to cry, because of the goodness I felt in the middle of a cruel situation. They don’t know how they have become heroes in their own small way.

Such is the heroism of humanity. With this, I salute my fellow workers who brave the torrential rains just to bring in fulfillment in their duties; the media who go into danger just to update the public on the latest news, the store owners and sellers who opened their stores to offer food and shelter to stranded passengers, the rescuers, military and those involved in disaster response management just to rescue thousands who are trapped in their own homes, and the unknown volunteers, just like those in Marikina, who are ready to leave their homes and families just to serve the needy and the lost.

Workers like me might never learn to stay at home in dangerous times in order to fulfill duties. But I hope we should never set aside to give sacrificial love for the sake of our fellowmen.

Reviewing the Creed

I’d never thought my teacher’s assignment would haunt me again.

Well, one, at least. When my first journalism teacher asked us to recite Walter William’s “The Journalist’s Creed”, I did not know its purpose.

I thought I’d recite it just like any other recital piece: memorize it, perform it, then forget it. By performing it, as usual, I got a standing ovation because of my acting talent. But the purpose of this creed is not to be a declamation piece.

I only realized it after a year of being in broadcasting.

For the second time, I’ve encountered “hao shiao” or our term for fake media personnel.

It was only yesterday that I got to talk to some of them for the first time.

I’ve heard that hao shiao are not there to cover but to ask for favors and freebies from hosts who request for media coverages for events like a city’s foundation day or a national forum. As a complement, these hosts would give lunch or snacks to media men while we cover their events. However, some politicians dare to give more than that to media people. And that’s where the hao shiaos are for.

Yup, they come in IDs complete with an affliation, usually from print or radio. Others pretend as photographers. I sensed that it was dangerous to deal with them. They asked me if I can invite them to any media conference I know and they’d invite me everytime they got a scoop.

Here’s the strangest part: none of those who talked with me interviewed the personality I interviewed, except for one. Usually media people, when one interviews a prominent personality, they would push one another to join along the interview. That fella did stick with my team to ask questions but he has no recorder nor did take notes along!

That’s proof that they are not there to get a story, but was hoping to get favors from that personality.

It’s sad how they use the profession of journalism just to get what they want. This also got the real professionals in trouble, in which we’re falsely accused as fakes.

But I would admit I’ve just seen an overview of this profession’s tragic instance. As I thought about this instance, I thought of reviewing The Journalist’s Creed after years.

Now, I understand why we are made to memorize it.

In this way, the principle attached to this creed will stick to my mind and soon enough to my heart.

A journalist’s profession is a public service not a gold mine.

We should take heart to inform not to gain.

I am young and inexperienced but with the Lord, I pray that I am one of those to take broadcasting to its honest self, once more.

And I am here in this job to spread out facts, not to sensationalize or distort a personality.

And there’s so much more to learn from this profession.

I just hope I’ll always remember this creed with all my heart.

And I hope I won’t use it as a declamation piece again. 🙂

So, here’s the creed that I’m talking about…

The Journalist’s Creed by Walter Williams

I believe in the profession of Journalism.

I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of responsibility, trustees for the public; that all acceptance of lesser service than the public service is a betrayal of this trust.

I believe that clear thinking, clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.
I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.

I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.

I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one’s own pocket book is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another’s instructions or another’s dividends.

I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.

I believe that the journalism which succeeds the best-and best deserves success-fears God and honors man; is stoutly independent; unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power; constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of the privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance, and as far as law, an honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship, is a journalism of humanity, of and for today’s world

Gagging the Truth Bearer

For the sake of truth, we journalists know the risk of it. But I never thought such danger would happen to one of us at these times.

Most of us in MPC were shocked to know that one of our colleagues, Fernan Angeles of The Daily Tribune, was a victim of an attack Sunday night. As said by his wife, before he became unconscious, he knew who his attacker was…and this was someone influential. We’re hoping for the best that he would completely recover and that justice would be brought upon his assailants.

I myself spurred thoughts after hearing much of this incident. Though we’re been rallying against impunity and injustice, made much awareness to the expectant public in incomprehensible speed through social media and other means, and did all the means to make sure that tragic deaths of media men will never happen,  there are still many who would dare shut up the mouths of these truth bearers – I, as one of them. But this was not a reason for us to be afraid of what we’re doing. This is our job…and we’d rather stand by telling the truth rather than closing our eyes to it.

Ok, let’s admit that most of us are really dared to go beyond the expected thinking, are very loud and even provocative. But we do it to make the public think and rethink. Once the public dig deeper into the obvious, there’s much exposure and it would not be pleasant. This is what they are afraid of…and would dare to stop the quarry before revealing the murky part of their palaces.

We, of course, are reminded of the weight of our responsibility. We stand by a code that makes us unbiased. Some of us won’t, though. But, this does not mean that all of us should fall because of who we are and what we do.

There are still many cases of media killings that are not solved…forgotten, actually. What are we to do? We are doing our best to let the world know – and remind not to forget my fellow colleagues who had fallen and who are struggling for justice. This is a fallen world, I can say, and for sure more arrows are set out to attack our kind. But it will never stop us…and they’ll never will.

Let not these attacks completely gag the truth. They might silence the reporter, but never silence the truth.

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