OPINION: History in a hurry

BLOGISTA

By Cha Monforte

oct 27

Journalism, someone said, “is history in a hurry”. The news that comes out now becomes accumulating details for summarizing history in the future. And so, at the hands of a journalist lies constantly developing stories, sans those news stories of one-shot, short shelf life. But whatever, such news might be later be a relevant part one day in history.

For this, especially in print daily, a journalist is faced everyday of beating the deadline. Always he sends his story immediately after it unfolds to his outlet on or before the deadline set by the editor as there are still series of works to do involving machines, working men and newsboys before the news gets to the hands of the readers the early morning after. Sidlak is one of these.

At the age of the Internet, there are now news outfits in the country that updates its news from time to time in a day in their websites. Just visit the good online sites of GMA TV, the Inquirer, or Philippine Star. Traditional media converging with net and cellphone technologies is today’s challenge in the country. Innovative print media or journalists in the provinces wanting to share their news and information to the world, outside the localities where their papers are in circulation, have now the free blogs to seize on. I’m doing this since June although in two days delayed to give exclusivity and justice to Sidlak which funds for my newsgathering.

Now thanks again to the web’s e-mail feature. Now, at least I have a lot or Internet cafes anywhere, in Tagum, in most of Comval towns, wherever I cover, to choose from to send my news stories since I have no laptop and purse to seize on the free WIFI like at Miko’s Brew, where coffee latte is not–of course- free. Sidlak has email address intentionally flashed daily right at its front page so readers and sources could send contributions, comments, reactions or sides from any party, aggrieved or not. This is the latest technology, and by e-mail’s speed in delivering messages in seconds, let’s avail it.

In freer Manila, journalists are better off. Besides the higher remuneration and abundant centers of news of journalists of the Big Club that come with the Imperial Manila as the center of everything and the national market and audience, most important is that they are situated in a freer milieu , in liberated zones where news sources aren’t afraid to be identified as news sources and often they are properly attributed in the news. In the provinces, there is a gulf of difference as often sources of news, which is “sensitive”, or that which may step on someone’s toes, have the tendency to beg not to be named or to speak only on the condition of anonymity to the Small Club journalists.

This is compounded by the tendency of public officials in the provinces to be mum, to tombstone or not to reply to media issues about them or reply to gut issues head on. The worst is they become onion-skinned. If this situation would have its way, then we’re left to have no public interest news at all, and PIA apologists would be happy churning out their always positive devcom news for the government. Press Sec. Jess Dureza should better be apprised on these difficulties than telling all and sundry, brimming last week on the caveat about “efforts of the press to get the side of Mr. So and So proved futile”. It’s easily said than done in countrysides newspapering- except perhaps to Cong. Anton Lagdameo, who is a stand out among the big Davnor and Comval politicians for always texting us his replies, even long, when we did ask for his statement on burning issues of the day. So he got for several times front-page treatment on the next day.

There are cases that since the information given by the source who spoke on anonymity is one issue of public interest, especially about one who occupies a public position (not private citizen), so the news of the source comes out on the news values  of immediacy and public interest, with us relying that the subject who cannot be immediately reached at a time near to the deadline can have all his reply on the next day or next immediate days.

It wasn’t Friday (daily Sidlak has no issues on Saturdays and Sundays), but Monday last week when we did run the story about AGR’s alleged frequent stay in Manila. On the next day, his reply “Not true” did see another banner headline to give fairness to him, in equal space and prominence. I made sure I could interview him at Tahanan on the day Press Sec. Dureza came as the guest of NPC-Davnor-Comval Chapter oath-taking and opening of the provincial media center. Moreover, the story was proactive to him as it was about a source supportive to him and to his  congressional bid wanting for his visibility for sure winning by 2010.

Had it been published Friday (which we would not allow), it could have been unfair, kay we know bahaw na ang AGR reply by Monday. No malice about that, sir. As we seek solace on the right of journalists to protect their sources, we also are holding sacrosanct the right to reply of subject parties in the news as we did in our Tuesday’s issue. But unfortunately, the Provincial Legal Officer Jennifer Namoc for asking for Sidlak’s fairness and objectivity in her letter that reached Sidlak office by Wednesday obviously failed to read AGR’s reply in our banner story on Tuesday or get hold of the issue. She could have sent her protest via the email and not via the snail mail, so we could immediately publish it the next day. But maybe the good lawyer was not just apprised on our Tuesday’s issue by the politically nosey provincial administrator Rufo Peligro, who is also the ed in chief of Executive Report, PGO’s weekly news bulletin, or by his many info men. Otherwise, we’ll say it’s not our duty to always give you free complimentary copies of Sidlak. A newspaper is sold, not given.

BLOGBUZZ: Heard about that when it comes to the Davnor Capitol, the local media is being looked upon with divisive stare, either you’re a suspect to be with the Panabo-based weekly publisher who is a long-time biased drum-beater for the Floirendos, or with the docile ones (di makabasag pinggan), the kongko (always soliciting) media of dubious circulation or outlets. Sidlak is neither either-or of whom… Oh my gulay! that usual and bankrupt media parameter- that you need a big ad sponsor in order to survive. Of course, we need ads to have cash, but we’re banking  more on our burgeoning subscribers’ and readership base in order to survive…. We print replies as we really need them to be fair and objective. Again, we’re just striving to be your little real press. (For online edition, visit my blog at: https://cha4t.wordpress.com, for comments and reactions, e-mail: ruralurbanews@yahoo.com, or chamonforte@yahoo.com)

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