Media's Public

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 »

COMPLAINTS ON UNFLATTERING PHOTOS. Trump confronted an NBC News executive: the network didn’t run his “nice” photo, instead used “this picture of me” as he made a face with a double chin. Some local politicians earlier made similar complaints. How are photos picked in a newsroom?

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

NEWS sources, especially politicians, often suspect that when unflattering photos of themselves appear in the news, someone in the media outlet must dislike or hate them.

Donald Trump, the U.S. president-elect, raised complaint during a post-election TV media meeting last Nov. 21 with 30 or so anchors and executives at Trump Tower in New York. Read the rest of this entry »

JOURNALISTS AND ILLEGAL DRUGS. “I don’t have the capability to become a drug protector,” says a Leyte journalist who was identified by Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa in a payola list. The broadcaster is one of three media persons charged before prosecutors

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

THE three media workers linked to the illegal in drugs trade in Leyte have limited influence and authority.

Leo Dumon is a reporter of dyKC radio and the weekly local paper “Sunday Punch.” John Kevin Pilapil works with Power FM radio and “strings” for CNN in Manila and Sun.Star Superbalita [Cebu]. Lalaine Jimenea is a publisher of the community paper “East Visayas Mail.” All three journalists are based in Ormoc City. (Two others, Janet Pulido and Rodel Hugo, were also in Albuero Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.’s Oct. 5 supplemental affidavit but have not yet been charged.) Read the rest of this entry »

‘TRIVIALITIES’ OF MEDIA. Duterte complains against media attention on his talk about ogling at Robredo’s legs and knees. The press reports both the important and the ‘trivial’ when it concerns a major newsmaker such as the president

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

Why (make) an issue? Sexist? There goes the media again. What should I say? It’s true anyway. Is that the trivialities of media? It’s so trivial.”
— President Duterte

IT’S not just President Duterte who has complained about “trivialities” of media.

During the Group of 20 summit in Hangzhou, China last September, U.S. President Obama asked the press corps not to “over-crank” the staircase episode which set off speculations that it was a plot to embarrass him. The “China Daily” commented that Western journalists are “easily distracted by minor events and fail to focus on the big issues.” They “lose objectivity by focusing on trivialities.” Read the rest of this entry »

BASHING THE MEDIA. Candidate for U.S. president Trump has expanded and intensified media-bashing: his is not the regular form of right of reply, his is sheer bullying. He insults or bans media he finds offensive. Filipino politicians have yet to come close to the depth and intensity of Trump’s attacks on the press

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

“I’m not running against crooked Hillary (Clinton). I’m running against crooked media.”
— Donald Trump

LAST Nov. 2, at a rally of 4,000+ people in Miami, Florida, Donald Trump berated media for not reporting on the size of his crowds and singled out NBC reporter Katy Tur. Read the rest of this entry »

ANONYMOUS SOURCES. National police chief ‘Bato’ de la Rosa complains about media’s use of anonymous sources. Media has its own rules on withholding names of informants but compliance or enforcement has been uneven

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

“That’s the problem with you. You don’t want to say who the source is. It’s unfair if you work that way.”
— PNP Inspector General Ronald de la Rosa to news Reporters, Oct. 25

TWO news reports, less than three weeks apart, drew complaint from PNP chief “Bato” de la Rosa, a high-profile news source: Read the rest of this entry »