18 May 2007

Citizen journalism

AS THE precinct count was winding down in the wee hours of May 15, Manolo texted me about John Nery's graveyard shift in the GMA7 Eleksyon2007 coverage, of which the Inquirer was a media partner, their internet business divorce notwithstanding.

"John just plugged your blog on TV," MLQ3 relayed as he sought updates on the Naga and Camarines Sur polls. I said at 1:30 am, counting of the votes have been completed and the results are being plugged into the official Comelec forms. All I can provide, as I previously did with John, are results from my wife's precinct as a sample of the city count. And the TV at Pacol Elementary was, unfortunately, only getting signals from ABS-CBN.

The following morning, I got a clearer idea of what Manolo meant, by way of this entry from the Jester-in-Exile's blog: it talked about the ideal of citizen journalism that most bloggers would and should aspire to, as blogging continues to mature as an alternative communications medium.

Of course, I am overwhelmed by the kind words coming from editors of the country's leading broadsheet, who themselves stand as vanguards -- both in official and personal capacities -- of the Philippine blogosphere. Certainly, the "citizen journalist" tag has a nice ring to it.:)

When I was still in college, the news writing seminars that are par for the course would almost always emphasize the necessity for being unbiased scribes and chroniclers of news worthy events that society should know about.

This fundamental principle continues to serve me well, even if there is an inherent difficulty that arise from my current circumstances. As all of you probably know by now, I am working for the Naga city government in a number of ways, and this definitely creates some conflicts of interest that will, whether I like it or not, color my views.

That, in a nutshell, is a caveat that everyone must take into account with citizen journalism; their take on things and the world around them must always be considered within their given contexts. Because even if the best, most dispassionate practising journalists today can never really be free from bias, that is no excuse for not being transparent about one's predispositions.

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