Media's Public

Why Tomas shot down FOI ordinance

By Pachico A. Seares
Public & Standards Editor
Sun.Star Cebu and Sun.Star Superbalita [Cebu]

Mayor Osmeña may issue an executive order instead. To avoid confusion and duplication, he said

[Related article: Concerns of Cebu Journalists on Local FOIs, Media’s Public, Dec. 3, 2016)

It was the classic “I-am-all-for-it-but” pitch of those who refuse a proposal but don’t want it to sound ugly.

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, in his veto message of Jan. 25, said Ordinance #2471, which implements President Duterte’s Executive Order #2 on freedom of information, is premature as the Senate is still to enact its version of the FOI. It might cause confusion and duplication, he said. Read the rest of this entry »

Cebu papers now equal — in size

By Pachico A. Seares
Public & Standards Editor
Sun.Star Cebu and Sun.Star Superbalita [Cebu]

Newspapers, like many other things in the world, are not created equal. Juanito V. Jabat, whom I worked with for 17 years in “The Freeman,” used to say that. I would laugh, not over his wisdom-laced pronouncement but the pun that accompanied it.

Even Cebu’s three English-language dailies, called “tabloid” for their size, didn’t have the same measurements. Freeman and “SunStar” were taller and thus looked bigger than “Cebu Daily News.” That, after CDN some years ago slashed its height by about two inches, which it said would be the “fatal two inches.” Read the rest of this entry »

Calling the lie what it is

By Pachico A. Seares
Public & Standards Editor
Sun.Star Cebu and Sun.Star Superbalita [Cebu]

Soon after U.S. President Donald Trump took his oath of office, the leader of the most powerful nation in the world declared a “running war” with media, his senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said a falsehood is an “alternative fact” that may be used in public conversation, and his press secretary Sean Spicer defended his lie and condemned the press in his first briefing at the White House.

And it was all about media comparison on the size of the crowd in two inaugurals: Barack Obama’s in 2008 and Trump’s in 2017. But it was followed by Trump’s lie that three to five million people illegally voted in the last election, padding Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote. Read the rest of this entry »

Trump’s whiplash on CNN, BuzzFeed

By Pachico A. Seares
Public & Standards Editor
Sun.Star Cebu and Sun.Star Superbalita [Cebu]

It happened in the U.S., where journalism and journalists have been in helter-skelter since Donald Trump’s entry into American politics.

No sign of let-up. It even intensified a few days before he took his oath as president. On Jan. 10, CNN reported that intelligence officials gave Trump, then outgoing president Obama and eight top Congress leaders a two-page memo summing up data that Russian spies claimed were damaging to Trump. Read the rest of this entry »

CROSSING LINES. Press Secretary Andanar writes a column for a national broadsheet. The government hires blogger and Duterte-defender Uson. Media watchers deplore that the line is crossed. But lines have been blurred for some time now

By Pachico A. Seares
Public & Standards Editor
Sun.Star Cebu and Sun.Star Superbalita [Cebu]

RAUL Gonzales, then president Gloria Arroyo’s justice secretary, wrote a newspaper opinion column. So did her press secretary and Presidential Management Staff chief, the late Cerge Remonde from Cebu. Imee Marcos reportedly still writes a column for a tabloid in Manila. And President Duterte’s chief communication officer and propagandist Martin Andanar writes for a national broadsheet.

What’s wrong with that? A lot, say those who see conflict of interest and a crossing of lines. Read the rest of this entry »

DISPARITY IN NUMBERS. Headlines and stories about food poisoning victims in Sirao, Cebu City differ in reports of three papers. Numbers as part of the facts do matter

By Pachico A. Seares
Public & Standards Editor
Sun.Star Cebu and Sun.Star Superbalita [Cebu]

Two radio talk show hosts called it “low, medium, high”: newspaper A headlined “107 hospitalized after spaghetti meal,” newspaper B said “Free food hurts 130,” and newspaper C said “232 downed by food poisoning.”

The disparity in numbers couldn’t fail to catch attention of those who read last Dec. 22 the headlines of Cebu’s English-language periodicals. Read the rest of this entry »

BANNING REPORTERS. Mayor Osmeña drove away a CDN reporter from a press-con in his City Hall office, without telling why. Not the first time he did it and he’s not the only public official who has done it

By Pachico A. Seares
Public & Standards Editor
Sun.Star Cebu and Sun.Star Superbalita [Cebu]

ON May 7, 2003, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña evicted from his office Sun.Star photographer Amper Campaña who was there to cover the courtesy call of a police official on the mayor.

Last Dec. 14, Tomas also banished from a press-con in his City Hall office “Cebu Daily News” reporter Jose Santino Bunachita. Read the rest of this entry »

FACT-CHECKERS IN COMMUNITY JOURNALISM? None, not as it is understood in the world press: “a recognized and branded operation monitoring political rhetoric.” But even with the old-fashioned tool called “verification,” reporters can be fact-checkers themselves

By Pachico A. Seares
Public & Standards Editor
Sun.Star Cebu and Sun.Star Superbalita [Cebu]

If you ask local beat reporters, most likely their answers about fact-checking range from not knowing what it really is, to not having it in their newsroom, or disowning it as their job.

Fact-checking, of course, is part of reporting. In gathering news, the reporter sifts through the facts, picking the significant and interesting and discarding or filing the rest. Then he checks other sources and verifies and reconciles the various data. Read the rest of this entry »

CONCERNS OF CEBU JOURNALISTS ON LOCAL FOIs. Gag on department heads and employees and delay in release of information lead the list of beat reporters

By Pachico A. Seares
Public & Standards Editor
Sun.Star Cebu and Sun.Star Superbalita [Cebu]

LOCAL versions of President Duterte’s executive order on Freedom of Information (F.O.I.) ostensibly respond to its call encouraging local government units (LGUs) to follow its example.

While media appreciates the move of LGUs to be seen as “open and transparent,” it worries that results may not match intent. Read the rest of this entry »