Monday, April 28, 2008

Economics writers needed

From Matthew Montagu-Pollock, publisher of the Manila-based Global Property Guide:

Click the image above to email Global Property Guide directly. For more information, click the publication's site.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Prestigious awards for Filipino journalists focuses on corruption, human rights and environment

Let me just make a quick post before I start another busy day today.

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), administrative and technical secretariat of the prestigious Jaime V. Ongpin Awards for Excellence in Journalism (JVOAEJ), has announced changes in this year's awards.

The 2008 JVOAEJ will focus on corruption/governance, human rights and environmental issues "in recognition of the urgency of encouraging journalistic excellence in addressing corruption/governance, human rights and environmental issues."

2008 Jaime V. Ongpin Journalism Award focuses on corruption, human rights and environment
Source: CMFR

The 2008 Jaime V. Ongpin Awards for Excellence in Journalism (JVOAEJ) will focus on corruption/governance, human rights and environmental issues.

This was among the changes announced in the country's most prestigious journalism awards by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), which administers the JVOAEJ.

CMFR Executive Director Melinda de Jesus said the changes are being introduced in recognition of the urgency of encouraging journalistic excellence in addressing corruption/ governance, human rights and environmental issues.

The country has been rocked by one corruption scandal after another, even as the human rights situation and environmental degradation have worsened.

Read more here.

CMFR is still accepting nominations for this year's awards until April 25. CMFR conducts an independent scan of Manila-based publications and the nomination process is not a requirement for consideration. For more details, click here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Gorrell and lifestyle journalism

Luis Teodoro, PJR Reports editor and BusinessWorld columnist, writes an insightful essay on the Brian Gorrell controversy. He tackled issues related to blogging and journalism, including ethical and professional standards as well as libel. The controversy, he writes, highlighted the problems of corruption and lack of professionalism in journalism.

Teapot tempest
Vantage Point
April 4, 2008

"(T)here’s a real story in the Gorrell to-do, and it’s in how journalism — or what passes for it in the lifestyle pages — is so far gone in corruption and unprofessional conduct, among other reasons because many of the people who’re into it are there not for their skills as journalists but for their claimed connections with the high and mighty. That’s what mainstream media can be condemned for — for allowing this to happen: nay, for encouraging and abetting it, to the detriment not only of people like Gorrell but also and primarily that of the foolish Filipinos who follow the lifestyles of their self-proclaimed betters more assiduously than they do extra-judicial killings."

Read more here.

Speaking of lifestyle journalism, I remember an article I wrote for the old Philippine Journalism Review back in 2003 ("The Society Page: Weddings, Birthdays and Other Earth-shaking Events"). That year, the Philippine Daily Inquirer hired society columnist Maurice Arcache. This prompted Inquirer founder Eugenie "Eggie" Apostol to ask the paper to remove her name from the staff box "forever" on the day Arcache's column appears in the Inquirer. Having his column in the country's largest and most influential broadsheet, Apostol then wrote board chair Marixi Prieto, "will be a great disservice--yes an insult!--to your readers. His froth and frippery would contribute nothing to the nation-building to which Inquirer is pledged."

Although I did not write about freeloading activities in lifestyle/society journalism (as alleged by Brian against some "Gucci Gang"members), I wrote that the lifestyle/society pages are regarded as major sources of advertising and circulation revenues for newspapers. Many advertisements, most of them catering to the social and moneyed elite, appear in these pages . It is also not surprising to see a columnist lavishly praising a certain product or service and alongside the column piece, a full-page ad on the product or service the columnist was gushing about.

Since it first appeared locally in fashion magazines such as El Bello Sexo (The Fair Sex) and La Illustracion Filipina during the Spanish period up to the present, one thing can thus be said about the society/lifestyle page, I wrote. "(T)he society page is symbol as well as representation of the divide between the classes, a clear demarcation line on who's rich and powerful, and who's poor and powerless in Philippine society."

I'm Richard Quest, and I'm from the Kinky News Network

The New York Post writes a "sexy" follow-up to the Quest incident. You have to take this report with a grain of salt however. After all, this is the New York Post (see Wikipedia entry on criticisms against the paper) which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, Fox News Channel owner and CNN's competitor.

Kinky News Network:
CNN's Quest A very 'Knotty' Boy

By Dareh Gregorian and Philip Messing
April 19, 2008

This is CNN? Kinky!

CNN personality Richard Quest was busted in Central Park early yesterday with some drugs in his pocket, a rope around his neck that was tied to his genitals, and a sex toy in his boot, law-enforcement sources said.

Quest, 46, was arrested at around 3:40 a.m. after a cop spotted him and another man inside the park near 64th Street, a police source said.

The criminal complaint against Quest said the park was closed at the time - something Quest should have known because of all the signs saying "Park Closed 1 a.m. to 6 a.m."

Read more here.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What happened to you, Richard Quest?

I was planning to post something today (after more than two weeks of blog inactivity) when I saw from my Google Reader a new entry from The Huffington Post.

Richard Quest, CNN Reporter, Arrested On Drug Charges
The Huffington Post
April 18

The New York Times' City Room blog reports that CNN International business and travel reporter Richard Quest has been arrested on drug charges:

Mr. Quest was arrested early Friday morning after being escorted out of Central Park for violating the park curfew, a law enforcement official said Friday. The park is closed from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.

The police noticed Mr. Quest at 64th Street and West Drive at about 3:40 a.m., the official said. As he was being escorted out, he volunteered, "I have meth in my pocket," according to an official briefed on the case. The police searched him and recovered a small amount of methamphetamine in a Ziploc bag.

Read more here.

From the International Herald Tribune:

CNN reporter Richard Quest faces drug charge after early morning bust in Central Park
International Herald Tribune
April 18, 2008

A CNN International news reporter was arrested in Central Park on Friday with a small amount of methamphetamine in his pocket, but avoided jail when he agreed to undergo drug counseling and therapy.

Richard Quest, 46, a British citizen, was arrested around 3:40 a.m. on a possession of a controlled substance count, a misdemeanor that usually refers to a personal use amount of a drug. He was also charged with loitering for being in the park after 1 a.m. when it is officially closed.

Quest told police "I've got some meth in my pocket" when he was detained, according to the complaint filed in court. The complaint said he had a plastic sandwich bag containing methamphetamine in a jacket pocket.

Quest is known for reports on business travel. He hosts "CNN Business Traveler" and "Quest."

Read more here.

We in the office always watch every time Quest reports--with his distinctive and funny style of presenting the news. I guess that's the reason why I rarely see him in the CNN studios as anchor because he's better off as a reporter.

From CNN:

Richard Quest is one of the most instantly recognizable members of the CNN team; covering an extensive range of breaking news and business stories, as well as feature programming, he has become one of the network’s highest profile presenters. Quest is firmly established as an expert on business travel issues and currently works as a CNN anchor and correspondent. His regular programs include ‘CNN Business Traveller’, as well as his own hour-long feature program, ‘Quest’.

Quest’s dynamic and distinctive style has made him a unique figure in the field of business and news broadcasting. During his time at CNN he has reported on many of the major news events of recent years. His coverage of breaking news, which has spanned over two decades, has seen him report on a range of stories from the Iraq War, the death of Yasser Arafat and the Lockerbie Pan Am 103 crash.

Read more here.

Here's Quest in one of his reports:

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The need for an investigative and critical press in these crucial times

Sometime last month, ANC's Media in Focus invited me and PJR Reports editor Luis V. Teodoro to discuss the main story in the January 2008 issue of the magazine. The story: Despite relentless daily coverage of issues, there was a lean harvest of the kind of investigative reports last year--the kind of investigative reporting that was so crucial in shaping public opinion and even moving citizens to action during Edsa 2 and the “Hello, Garci” scandal.

Here's an excerpt from the said story:

Despite another year of scandals
A Lean Harvest of Investigative Reports
PJR Reports
January 2008 issue
by Hector Bryant L. Macale, Don Gil K. Carreon, Junnette B. Galagala, Melanie Y. Pinlac and Kathryn Roja G. Raymundo

(A) more careful look at the coverage of last year’s political issues and controversies reveals a lean harvest of the kind of investigative reports that were so crucial in shaping public opinion and even moving citizens to action during the Estrada impeachment crisis and the “Hello, Garci” scandal of 2005 and 2006.

For the most part, the press limited itself to updates from the key actors involved in the controversies. Reporting was largely dependent, for example, on developments in Senate or House of Representatives hearings, as well as public officials’ admitting knowledge of, or committing, certain acts of corruption and other wrongdoing.

Without the pro-active commitment to look into the controversies, this dependence proved pivotal in diverting public attention, away from some of the most crucial issues of governance that have arisen since the Marcos period. No matter how serious, issues of public concern eventually disappeared without closure from the news pages and the airwaves whenever the Senate postponed or ended its investigation, or if another controversy erupted.

Read here for more.

It seems that the decline in investigative journalism is not just happening in the Philippines, but also in other countries such as the United States--although the Philippine press should not make this an excuse for the local decline. In a three-part series, the SF Weekly, a California-based news weekly, discusses the fall of investigative journalism in the United States, the reasons behind the decline, and its repercussions to the profession and society itself.

Investigating the Future of Investigative Journalism
Part I: ‘It’s a Very Scary Time’

Jan. 14, 2008
By Joe Eskenazi

In order to investigate the present and future of investigative journalism, you needn’t sift through buckets of shredded documents. You don’t have to fill out a Freedom of Information Act request or pore through court records. And you certainly shouldn’t waste your time meeting with shadowy sources in poorly lit parking garages.

Just talk to an investigative reporter. They’ll readily ‘fess up – things are bad.

“I think the state of the business is actually worse than most people are willing to admit or can really grasp,” says A.C. Thompson, former investigative ace for both SF Weekly and the Guardian.

“There is the possibility … what we do becomes not irrelevant but nonexistent. There’s always a relevance for someone doing this kind of work and exposing crooked politicians and cult leaders and nefarious, predatory corporations – but it just ceases to exist because we haven’t found a [business] model for it.”

Read here for more.

Investigating the Future of Investigative Journalism
Part II – Journalists and Bloggers: ‘Let’s Not Throw Grenades at Each Other’

Jan. 15, 2008
By Joe Eskenazi

Cats and dogs. Charlie Brown and the kite-eating tree. Rain and the Wicked Witch of the West. Bloggers and journalists.

The disdain between professional journalists and “citizen journalists” is well-documented. They think we’re a jaded bunch of ineffectual dinosaurs unable to cope with the wave of the future. And we think they’re a derivative bunch of hacks dressing up snarkily written links to our work as actual reportage (we may or may not make reference to propeller caps and living in mom’s basement).

But the truth, says Paul Grabowicz, is that they need us. And, let’s admit it, we need them.

Read here for more.

Investigating the Future of Investigative Journalism
Part III: Who’s Going to Pay For All This?

Jan. 16, 2008
By Joe Eskenazi

When Robert Rosenthal took over the Philadelphia Inquirer 10 years ago, the paper’s profit margin was a hefty 20 percent.

And still, “the pressure on the newsroom over the next four years to increase the margin was astonishing. [Newspaper chain] Knight-Ridder made a shitload of money, and now they’re out of business.”

The Hearst Corporation, which owns the San Francisco Chronicle, has been losing a shitload of money. And, after they last year dismissed a quarter of their newsroom employees, “Rosey” resigned as managing editor to take over Berkeley’s Center for Investigative Reporting.

He maintains there is a future for investigative journalism in print media – so long as newspaper owners are OK with not making shitloads of money.

Read here for more.

It seems that this year proves to be another year full of scandals and controversies--and another opportunity for the Philippine press to prove its mettle.

Explaining the repercussions of the crucial role of an investigative and critical press amid the barrage of scandals, the PJR Reports said: "The dearth of investigative reporting and pro-active coverage that can help provide the public with complete, relevant, and comprehensive understanding of the issues weakened the coverage of political and governance issues in 2007 by letting them die the natural death that follows any media failure to keep their focus on them."

"The immediate consequence is to get erring officials off the hook, but the long term damage consists of the political class’ growing brazenness as a result of the impunity with which it has been clothed," PJR Reports wrote. "The country has hopped from one controversy to another, but what is astounding is that not only have these controversies multiplied; the actors involved have basically remained the same incorrigible lot."
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