By Harmony Valdoz, Literary Editor/ Copy Editor |
Experienced journalists imparted their wisdom to college students at the Jaime V. Ongpin Journalism Seminar (JVOJS) held last June 27, 2013 at AIM Conference Center Manila.
This year’s discussion theme was “News Media Coverage of the Campaign and Elections”. The panel of journalists includes Deo Dominic Bugaoisan of GMA 7 Network, Henry Omaga-Diaz of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp., Pia Hontiveros-Pagkalinawan of SOLAR TV, Lynda Jumilla Abalos of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp., Malou Mangahas of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), Raissa Robles of raissarobles.com and Ryan D. Rosauro of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI).
Melinda Quintos de Jesus, Executive Director of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), started the discussion with questions to get to know the panelists better.
The classic, “What made you decide to be a journalist?” came up first. Both Mangahas and Bugaoisan originally took up Journalism as a pre-law program but somehow got stuck in the profession. Lynda Jumilla and Ryan Rosauro were campus journalists in their high school lives, who decided to stick to writing; Jumilla added that “failing in Math 11” was another factor. Henry Omaga Diaz had his On-the-Job Training(OJT) at Radyo Veritas and was later hired by the radio station. Raissa Robles was convinced to become a journalist when her mother told her that she “asks embarrassing questions” and is therefore fit for the job. Pia Hontiveros-Pagkalinawan got the idea of becoming a broadcaster when she used to visit ABS-CBN, having relatives who worked there.
For the next round, the panelists were asked to cite three events or issues that are “most exciting to cover”. Election is the most popular answer as it landed on the lists of Jumilla, Hontiveros, Rosauro and Diaz. Corruption is also a favorite among Robles, Diaz and Mangahas. Impeachment trials and asset investigation hype up Jumilla, Hontiveros, Robles and Mangahas. Other answers include coup de etat for Hontiveros, armed conflict and MILF peace process for Diaz and Rosauro; crime stories for Bugaoisan; public health stories for Mangahas and stories of individual people for Jumilla.
“I think the excitement comes generally from the discovery process, whatever the story is,” Mangahas said. “You don’t have joy in your heart when you find out that somebody is corrupt or crooked. You actually just want to be in the clear,” she added.
Going back to the discussion theme, the next question was about the May 2013 elections: “What did you find out about voters’ needs?” For Diaz, voters need more information on candidates, seeing that many deserving candidates lost. Bugaoisan realized that there needs to be more focus on the kind of voters we have, not just on the candidates. For Jumilla, many voters are still “in the emotional stage of voting”.
“Many of the Filipinos are still in that stage; no matter how much you bombard them with information about issues, backgrounds of candidates, the issue of political dynasties, the issue of fake party list organizations. This is a source of frustration for many of us in the media,“ Jumilla said.
When asked about the issue of political dynasties, Mangahas said media coverages helped a lot in putting out dynasties in some provinces, although it is not enough because the media focused largely on the senatorial race.
For the last question, all the panelists were asked; “Did we have a good election?” and “What are your recommendations?”
“I admired the Comelec for their very good initiatives, but I think from the management and administrative level, there was a huge failure or omission on their part,” Jumilla answered.
“Many voters still do not appreciate the power that they have,” said Bugaoisan
Hontiveros and Robles both agreed that ladderized process must be used in vote-counting, to avoid confusion and invalidation of votes.
An open forum was held after the discussion. Journalism students and campus journalists asked questions to the panelists.
The next part of the event was the presentation of the Sandra Burton Nieman Fellow and the Marshall Mcluhan Fellow. Nini B. Cabaero, new media editor of Sun Star, is the Sandra Burton Nieman Fellow. The program includes a year of study at Harvard University.
Malou Mangahas is the Marshall Mcluhan Fellow of 2013. The award entails a 10-day tour and familiarization of Canadian Media.
The JVOJS is a yearly event organized by the CMFR in cooperation with the National Endowment for Democracy and Ateneo De Manila University that began in 1995.