Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Whose byline is it anyway?

Since this issue has been already discussed and bitterly fought over in and outside the cyberspace (like the infamous Isagani Cruz column), I won't go into the details anymore. But if you want the full details, you can go here to the story -- which the whole blogosphere might have known already -- where it all started. You can also visit the blog posts of Jim Paredes and daughter Ala Parades.

Now comes Isagani Yambot, publisher of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, apologizing to Jim.

Full text, Inquirer statement on Jim Paredes article

What follows is the full text of a statement released Tuesday (August 23) evening by Isagani Yambot, publisher of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, one of the parent companies of

"IT STARTED with an e-mail sent by Jim Paredes to his large network of relatives and friends. It concerned the Inquirer’s front-page on him last Saturday headlined “Finally, APO’s Jim Paredes gives up on RP” and by-lined Gerry Lirio.

"Jim’s main beef was the headline. He said it was 'a naked lie' that he had given up on the Philippines. He accused Gerry Lirio, our reporter of having a headline in mind 'even before the interview.' To use Jim’s words, Gerry 'cherry picked' to fit words and impressions to the headline and so missed the true story.”

"In an update on his blog, Jim admitted that he had learned that it was not Gerry Lirio but an Inquirer editor who gave the offending article its headline. He was told that it is not a reporter but an editor who writes the head of an article. He then apologized to Gerry.

"Jim Paredes had valid reason to be angry and upset over the headline. It was inaccurate and unfair. It was based on the opening paragraph of Gerry’ article but it is one thing to say, as the article did, that Jim 'gave up all hope for a better Philippines' and another thing to say, as the headline did, that 'Finally, Apo’s Jim Paredes gives up on RP.' The first mean that Jim has given up hope that the Philippines will improve; the second, that Jim has given up on his country, period.

"The Inquirer apologizes to Jim Paredes."

My take on the issue: I think Mr. Yambot was right in making the apology. It was clear that the headline of the story was, in Mr. Yambot's own words, "inaccurate and unfair" and that Jim had enough reason to be "angry and upset" over it.

It was pointed out that Inquirer reporters do not write the headlines of their stories. The fact however remains that it was Gerry's name appearing under the headline, and nobody else.

The point here is that an inaccurate headline was made. I don't think that Jim does not have to know that this or that editor made that headline and that Gerry only wrote the text of the story.

That's how simple I think the issue is.


little light said...

the point was that the article was insensitive to the family and to the plight of immigrants. i think media is too wrapped up with techicalities that it tends to set aside sensitivity in reporting (just like the subic rape coverage--alam mo na reaction ko dito). masyadong focused sa facts and events that they forget that they are writing about people.

bryant said...

@ little light

interesting point you got there, little light.

by the way, do you agree with what Prof. Rachel Khan about the Subic Rape Case coverage?

little light said...

i'm grateful she wrote that. 'yon nga ipinaglalaban namin eh. it's really difficult seeing how the victim is treated in the news and knowing her at the same time. i think anyone in our position would be very angry.

bryant said...

yes. and congratulations by the way for keeping that campaign alive.

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