Sunday, July 29, 2007

The rise of the celebrity news anchor

Does this story remind you of our local celebrity news anchors?

"The world of the news anchor, born of the idea that the news is a public trust, is in free fall," says this story. "Today's news presenters like the much-criticised Katie Couric of CBS News and the idolised Anderson Cooper of CNN, are the creation of the media campaigns that old Hollywood studios once used to manufacture their stars."

"Dan Rather complained that the decision to bring in Katie Couric as his replacement to anchor The CBS Evening News represented a desire 'to dumb it down, tart it up'.

Starting with a story on a journalist who slept with her source and very much part of the controversy she reported, the story said: "The old world that Rather represents is long gone. With his prematurely grey head of hair and steel blue eyes, the newest star, Anderson Cooper, gazes from the cover of June's issue of Vanity Fair. No bad dye jobs for the man People magazine has named one of the 'sexiest men alive'."

Click here for the story which I got from the New Zealand Herald.


Yey! Sizzle wins in Move! Now back to work.

I hope Sizzle makes it in Move

Got lots of things to do but I have to stop for now. I'm watching the final episode of Move. Oh boy, I hope Sizzle gets in.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

As the struggle between online and print journalism continues

The struggle between online and print journalism continues. I don't really know whether we have a similar memo issued among the papers in the Philippines, but the US-based The Washington Post issued a memo to its staff to avoid misunderstandings between the two departments. Got the info here.

"The Washington Post and its dot-com operation have always had a tricky relationship. Newsroom staffers always complain that their stuff doesn’t get good enough play on the site," writes Erik Wemple here. "Dot-commers reply that the newsies don’t really get the Web. The bitching—er, dialogue—volleys back and forth between Post HQ at 15th and L and the HQ in Arlington." He also posted the full memo in his piece.

Ten Principles for Washington Post Journalism on the Web
  1. The Washington Post is an online source of local, national and international news and information. We serve local, national and international audiences on the Web.
  2. We will be prepared to publish Washington Post journalism online 24/7. Web users expect to see news as it happens. If they do not find it on our site they will go elsewhere.
  3. We will publish most scoops and other exclusives when they are ready, which often will be online.
  4. The originality and added value of Post journalism distinguishes us on the Web. We will emphasize enterprise, analysis, criticism and investigations in our online journalism.
  5. Post journalism published online has the same value as journalism published in the newspaper. We embrace chats, blogs and multimedia presentations as contributions to our journalism.
  6. Accuracy, fairness and transparency are as important online as on the printed page. Post journalism in either medium should meet those standards.
  7. We recognize and support the central role of opinion, personality and reader-generated content on the Web. But reporters and editors should not express personal opinions unless they would be allowed in the newspaper, such as in criticism or columns.
  8. The newsroom will respond to the rhythms of the Web as ably and responsibly as we do to the rhythms of the printed newspaper. Our deadline schedules, newsroom structures and forms of journalism will evolve to meet the possibilities of the Web.
  9. Newsroom employees will receive training appropriate to their roles in producing online journalism.
  10. Publishing our journalism on the Web should make us more open to change what we publish in the printed newspaper. There is no meaningful division at The Post between “old media” and “new media.”

Helping while enjoying

Whew. Just had my longest sleep in years. Okay, maybe that's an overstatement. Make that my longest sleep in more than three months.

If I only have all the time in the world, I would probably do this.

White Water Rafting for Indigenous Peoples' Education

Take a thrilling adventure and make it worth a lifetime for a child!

Cartwheel Foundation invites you to experience the renowned Cagayan de Oro River white water rapids and raft for indigenous peoples' education, together with The Red Rafts and Men's Health Magazine. Starting this June until October 2007, raft with The Red Rafts, Cagayan de Oro's premier outfitter, and part of the proceeds of your trip will benefit the educational programs of Cartwheel.

There are an estimated 12 million indigenous peoples (IPs) in the Philippines and they have little or no access to quality education. Cartwheel is committed to bridging the gap and ensuring that they enjoy their right to education that is best suited to their culture and life experience. You, too, can lend your support and have a blast while you're at it-- you might just discover the ride of your life!

Go with your friends or even take the whole office for an outing (special teambuilding activities are included). Reserve your trip now!

Call/text: (0922)454-0021 or (0919)204-3534

Note: Cebu Pacific promo of P99 fare to CDO available from June 21 to 27!

About Cartwheel:

Cartwheel Foundation is committed to bringing education to indigenous peoples (IPs), one of the most vulnerable sectors of the Philippines. IPs have long been neglected, isolated, and overtaken by development and suffer from a severe lack of access to basic services, including education. Cartwheel strives to bridge this gap by providing education that is culturally sensitive, appropriate, and relevant to their realities. Through the Pre-School, Alternative Learning, and College Scholarship Programs, Cartwheel works hand in hand with IP communities in allowing them to thrive in their rich culture and equipping them with tools necessary for community leadership and development.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Are you a good lover? (and some journalism quotes)

At our short refresher lecture on news feature writing by Yvonne Chua in the office today, she asked the staff some of the quotes we remember most from our experience as media reporters. I had a hard time remembering which quote struck me the most--probably because I was hungry at that time plus the fact that in front of us was THE Yvonne Chua, one of only three Jaime V. Ongpin Awards for Excellence in Journalism Hall of Famers and probably one of my few dreaded professors in college. In fact, I even had to tell Ma'am Yvonne a quote I only got from Cheche Lazaro in her Media in Focus program: "But what the public's right to know?" Had she pressed me for more, I would have said: "Are you a good lover?" (This time, from Boy Abunda's ANC program). Haha. Poor me.

Speaking of quotes, here are Public Eye's 10 favorite quotes about The Fourth Estate.

Best. Journalism Quotes. Ever.
Posted by Matthew Felling

Number 10:

The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.
Oscar Wilde

Number 9:

Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.
Thomas Jefferson

Number 8:

There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil.
Walter Lippmann

Number 7:

The liberty of the press is a blessing when we are inclined to write against others, and a calamity when we find ourselves overborne by the multitude of our assailants.
Samuel Johnson

Number 6:

A free press can be good or bad, but, most certainly, without freedom a press will never be anything but bad.
Albert Camus

Click here for Public Eye's Number 5 to 1 and the rest of its entry.

Hmm. Quotes about the Philippine press, anyone?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Harry Potter dies

With the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series of novels by J. K. Rowling, out in a few hours, below is a short take on the media coverage of the much-awaited book by the US-based CBS News's "Public Eye" and posted a week ago. The headline above came from the article and not from me. Kill the writer Brian Montopoli for such a head-turning and highly emotional headline. Haha.

Harry Potter dies
Source: CBS News's Public Eye
Posted by Brian Montopoli

Just kidding.

Or maybe not. I really have no idea. My best guess is he meets up with the kid from High School Musical and they go off to dance and fight dragons.

Anyway, here's a question: How will media outlets report on the last Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," which comes out next week? As a colleague's wife (sort of) said: "If they tell me the ending before I've finished the book, I'll never watch them again."

But it's NEWS, people! NEWS! So how do you cover it? That decision is somewhat simplified by the fact that almost no one has read the book – media outlets couldn't spoil it even if they wanted to. "We're trying to find out as much as we can, but there's really only so much we can find out," says producer Erica Zolberg, who is doing a story on Pottermania for tomorrow night's "Evening News." (For the record, Zolberg says she wouldn't spoil the end even if she knew it.)

The angle of tomorrow's story, then, isn't going to be what's in the book, but how the publishers and their partners are keeping that information quiet. Zolberg spoke to Jim Dale, the voice of the Potter audiobooks and one of the few people who has gotten his hands on the book, as well as the webmasters of two of the big Harry Potter Web sites. Everyone, it turns out, is following the "no spoilers" policy to the letter.

Read more here.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Media must denounce any law that ultimately threaten people's lives -- UP CMC students

Got this from Martha, the vice-president of the UP College of Mass Communication Student Council.

Statement against the Human Security Act of 2007
College of Mass Communication, University of the Philippines – Diliman

We, the students of the College of Mass Communication, University of the Philippines-Diliman, believe that the media, which serve to responsibly inform and enjoin, must unequivocally denounce any law, which ultimately threatens the lives of those they strive to serve – the Filipino people.

WHEREAS, Republic Act No. 9372, also known as the Human Security Act (HSA) of 2007, through the surveillance of unsuspecting civilians and the interception of private communication UPON MERE SUSPICION, violates freedom of speech and freedom of the press as enshrined by the Philippine Constitution;

WHEREAS, the vague definitions of terrorism and arbitrary qualifications for terrorists and terrorist activities promote a chilling atmosphere for the public and especially for media practitioners and students of mass communication who repeatedly and necessarily invoke the right to free speech and free press;

WHEREAS, the power to interrogate and detain a “suspected terrorist” on grounds of MERE SUSPICION is open to abuse and misuse for political ends;

WHEREAS, the HAS can easily be transformed into a repressive legal instrument under the implementation of the Arroyo administration whose integrity and intentions are still in question in the context of unsolved killings and enforced disappearances of media practitioners and individuals critical of the government;

WHEREAS, if a law as powerful as the HAS, which can be used to tag virtually any citizen as a terrorist, is enacted without Implementing Rules and Regulations, and whose substantive interpretation is determined at the discretion of the Anti-Terror Council, the police, the military and the few who are given authority, then it intends to sow fear and intimidation upon the very public it purportedly tries to secure;

We strongly condemn the Human Security Act of 2007 in its entirety and call for its immediate repeal by the Congress.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Brzezinski reacts to the world's response to the "Paris" incident

Mika Brzezinski, the MSNBC anchor in the United States who became an international internet sensation after refusing to read a story about celebutard Paris Hilton's release from prison (which Cheche Lazaro mentioned in her recent Gawad Plaridel speech), aired her reaction to the public's overwhelming response to the issue in a follow-up segment aired by MSNBC itself.

The controversial episode, aired last June 26, showed Brzezinski refusing to read the Hilton's story on air. She later attempted -- but failed -- to burn the story's script on air. She then tore up the script, and one hour later, got up and ran another copy of the script through a paper shredder.

"An excerpt of the episode has been viewed around three million times on YouTube," according to (where I learned about the follow-up segment), "giving Brzezinski, who has worked in TV news for 17 years, far more attention than she normally commands in MSNBC's early-morning slot."

"The incident was quickly popularized on the Internet," the Wikipedia account on Brzezinski said, "and in the days that followed Brzezinski received large quantities of fan mail supporting her on-air protest as a commentary on the tension between 'hard news' and 'entertainment news'."

Says "Many YouTube commenters have praised the anchor for refusing to tolerate celebrity news high in the editorial agenda."

In the interview, her interviewer and co-anchor in their morning program said to Brzezinski: "The journalistic community has heard your statement and it thanks you."

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Crowdsourcing and pro-am journalism

Last Friday, I attended a short lecture on new trends in investigative reporting by Sheila Coronel, who is right now in Manila after several months working in New York as the inaugural director of The Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. In her lecture, the multi-awarded investigative journalist and former executive director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (one of only three Hall of Famers of the Jaime V. Ongpin Awards for Excellence in Journalism) discussed several new journalism techniques, including "crowdsourcing."

What is crowdsourcing, and why is it rapidly becoming a popular form of journalism in this era of Web 2.0 and citizen journalism?

Here's an article on Assignment Zero, the leading proponent of this journalism technique.

Crowdsourced Journalism - Assignment Zero: an Experiment in Pro-Am Journalism

Assignment Zero is an experiment in professional-amateur journalism: amateurs write/report, professionals edit. Everybody wins. And with this, “pro-am journalism” enters the lingo of the new world of media.

This win-win-win models solves one of the problems related with citizen/crowdsourced journalism: separating the chaff from the wheat. Very simply, to create a check on citizen journalism sources, including blogs, that influence opinion and pass on as “news.”

Citizen journalism/ my-blog-is-a-newsroom phenomena have many issues associated with them: everything from spelling & grammar matters, to fact verification, to having coverage diversity has been an open question. There are proposals of self-regulation and external control.

Journalism Professor Jay Rosen, in association with WIRED magazine, has found a pro-active solution somewhat Wikipedia style. Wikipedia is a self-governed content system where the contributors choose the editors - and create patrols such as the ”Association of Deletionist Wikipedians.”

Click here for more.

In a letter posted in the AssignmentZero site, Jay Rosen (a prominent American journalist and media critic) explains the reason behind the creation of AssignmentZero, which involves both professional journalists and internet users in reporting.

Why We're Doing This
by Jay Rosen

Welcome to Assignment Zero.

Inspired by the open-source movement, this is an attempt to bring journalists together with people in the public who can help cover a story. It's a collaboration among NewAssignment.Net, Wired, and those who choose to participate.

The investigation takes place in the open, not behind newsroom walls. Participation is voluntary; contributors are welcome from across the Web. The people getting, telling and vetting the story are a mix of professional journalists and members of the public -- also known as citizen journalists. This is a model I describe as "pro-am."

The "ams" are simply people getting together on their own time to contribute to a project in journalism that for their own reasons they support. The "pros" are journalists guiding and editing the story, setting standards, overseeing fact-checking, and publishing a final version.

Click here for more.

Bryant, the dancer (and please support Sizzle in Move!)

Sigh. I have been so busy with the activities at the office that I have almost forgotten I am a dancer -- online.

A few months ago, I was addicted to Audition Online, a popular online dance game where you compete with other players in a dance room by dancing some Korean and other Asian songs using the space bar and direction keys. Being the poor dancer that I am in real life, the thought of competing with other "dancers" was quite thrilling, and the fact that I have a number of relatives and friends (especially the younger ones) that play the game encouraged me to try the game (and unleashing the inner kid in me). When I told my friend Mae-mae, who is an Audition addict as well, that I play Audition, I think I was in level 5 or 6. And that was what? Maybe five or six months ago.

Poor me. After several months of almost-zero activity in Audition, I only managed to move up by just one level, level 7. And now, seeing how many players are well beyond level 7, I don't think I have the energy and time to improve my level. Sigh. I don't know.

Here's Bryant, the Audition Dancer.

Well, as far as dancing in real life and online go, I pale in comparison with my sister Hazel. Not only is she an active member of a dance group called Swipez Crew (a hiphop/R 'n B/breakdance group in our local community), she is also currently a level-16 dancer in Audition. Life can sometimes be so unfair. (Haha.)

Here is Hazel's Audition avatar:

Here's Hazel doing a hollow back, a breakdance move.

Speaking of dancing, I hope Sizzle, currently one of the finalists in Billy Crawford's dance reality show in GMA-7 called Move!, win the contest. I don't watch the local shows anymore, except for a number of news and public affairs programs. But since Sizzle is there competing, I try to make it a point to watch the show especially when I'm at home. Just like today.

Like Hazel, Sizzle is a member of the Swipez Crew, which always practice near our favorite hangout in our place. She seems to me a kind and caring kid who always smile at me every time I see her. I've seen some of their practices, and man, her moves are really awesome. You can count on her to give her very best whether they are just practicing or performing. You can really see how passionate she is -- and her group are -- in dancing. Man, if I only have those moves. I think one reason why my playlist carries some trance, hiphop, and R 'n B songs -- often to the surprise of my friends because they know I love rock songs better -- is because I hear a lot of these by watching the group practice, or even when I'm at home when Hazel plays the songs full-blast in our speaker while cleaning the house.

Here's a group pic of Swipez:

Here's a photo of Hazel and Sizzle, with my cousin Joanna (who's also a Swipez member):

I don't usually do this, but I hope you guys support Sizzle. Text votes are a big factor in determining the six winners of this contest (which will become Crawford's back-up dance team in his concerts in and outside the country), so if you could just text MOVE SIZZLE and send to 2344 (for Globe and Sun subscribers) and 367 (to Smart and Talk and Text), that's a big help already. A text message only costs P2.50 each. Come on guys (including you, avid Crawford fans Rocel and Scent), please help one kid's dream come true.

Friday, July 13, 2007

It's not the Exorcist or the Ring, but it can scare the hell out of you as well

Yes, this has been a stale blog. But now that I am done analyzing the news media coverage of the elections (except for the coverage analysis of the elections day itself which is definitely way lighter than the analysis of the three-month campaign), I think I can breathe for now. Thus, this new post (finally).

But oh, in case I falter in updating this blog (again), I invite you to visit our Freedom Watch blog, which we hope is going to be updated on a fairly regular basis sometime soon. We in the office are really excited on the plans we have for the official blog of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR). Can't tell you the full details yet, but some things are for sure: the writers will be given a chance to post in the blog, and that the blog is going to be interesting, relevant, and exciting. So please, please, make it a regular habit to visit Freedom Watch.

I have been wanting to post this video ever since I read about it in Robert Kuttner's piece in the March-April 2007 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review. Mentioning the film EPIC 2014 (which now has an updated version entitled EPIC 2015) in his piece, Kuttner talks about the dire future of the newspapers. "By the usual indicators, daily newspapers are in a deepening downward spiral," Kuttner writes in "The Race." "The new year brought reports of more newsroom layoffs, dwindling print circulation, flat or declining ad sales, increasing defections of readers and advertisers to the Internet, and sullen investors."

"The dire future predicted by the now-classic video, EPIC 2014, in which Google, Amazon, and an army of amateurs eventually drive out even The New York Times, begins to feel like a real risk," Kuttner writes.

Here's EPIC 2015 below. Watching this movie gives you little shivers, don't you think? It's as if you're watching a short horror film intended for journalists. Creepy.

For more about film, click here and here. The film's creators explain the origins of the movie here. Wikipedia entry here.

With more and more reports about newsroom layoffs, decreasing advertising and circulation sales, and the rise of Internet and bloggers as a primary source of news and information, should the press -- and the public which it serves -- indeed fear this dark prediction of the future of newspapers? Will the end of the newspapers also signal drastic changes in the role press plays in our society, and the journalistic principles -- accuracy, objectivity, fairness, balance, context, among others -- it dearly hold?

Kuttner ends his piece with a more encouraging note. It's a contest that newspapers might win, he pointed out. How? One way is for newspapers to to make the transition to the "promised land" (Kuttner's words) of hybrid print-Web publishing. "Newspapers have started down a financially and journalistically viable path of becoming hybrids," he writes, "without losing the professional culture that makes them uniquely valuable," adding that "whether newspapers are print or Web matters far less than whether they maintain their historic calling."

Read Kuttner's piece here. I have read a number of news articles and in-depth pieces about this issue, but I think this one takes the cake for its comprehensive and well-researched analysis.
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