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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Principle to Adhere


Wazzup Pilipinas!

I first got my journalism experience when I was in high school. Although we are "working" at our school, we were taught that it's still unethical even for us student journos then to be biased in our report. Time flies, and now I'm working for two (soon three) online news sites and owning three blogs.

Now working for mainstream media, I have to abide by the rules, and one of the most important rules is to not have some biases. This is especially true in sports, especially if you use to cheer for one team. It may sound easier said than done, but as mediamen, we have to be impartial at all times.

I find it a privilege that my superiors (well, they're my friends) assigned me, an alum from a UAAP school, to the NCAA last year (curiously, they, alums from NCAA schools, reported for the UAAP then) probably so that no bias will be done.

However, some journos still get caught cheering for a particular team or player while flaunting the media passes they have, so it was a no surprise when TJ Jurado sent me and many more media reporters an email regarding this matter.

According to Joey Villar of Philippine Star, the email has something to do with what happened at one Shakey's V-League game when Jun Lumibao, the president of the Philippine Sportswriters Association, was heard getting upset at an apparent cheering of a mediaman at a certain team... with his media pass worn!

The email sent to us serves as a reminder. Here are some excerpts:

"We are journalists, never mind if we are campus journalists—a journalist is a journalist....we, as champions of the vocation, should at all times be neutral, that never should we display any bias before the scrutinizing public. This, however, does not apply to all. Perhaps some of us get carried away and suddenly shed our school colors in the heat of the coverage. Thus, I—a sports journalist for 28 years—appeal to you to uphold the ethics of journalism as you exercise the privilege of a courtside view of the action, and protect the sanctity of the press card."

As mediamen, we have to shed away being alumni of a school and fans of a certain pro sports franchise or athlete. We are the authors (or reporters) of the news people see on papers, websites, and radio and TV news programs, and we should serve as role models of impartial and balanced journalism.

For a mediaman, the press pass is his all-access ticket to the games, but it should never be abused by merely using it to cheer his team live in flesh for free. For my fellow scribes reading this, we are journalists, and we should always practice impartiality as we wear our passes. Keep in mind GMA 7's slogan: "Walang kinikilingan. Walang pinoprotektahan. Serbisyong totoo lang."

PS (Exclusive for Wazzup Pilipinas): You may see a copy of this article in TLIMC, but this final part is exclusive for Wazzup since this also covers non-sports news.

This rule also applies to non-sports journos. Actually, the non-sports parts cover majority (or almost all) of the contents of newspapers, news programs, and news sites (unless if they are exclusively sports news sites like Dugout), so the "no bias" rule should more importantly be obeyed by these reporters.

For mediamen, you may like a particular celebrity, politician, place, and product, but once you register at the media booth of a certain event (almost all events don't give media passes since they're usually one-day only events), you have to shed away being a fan (or hater) of it and be there as a voice to us.

In this time that even blogs can now be categorized as online media portals, online journos, no matter if they're bloggers or news reporters, could appreciate (or further hate) something more "in the confines of our hearts and minds [but] never with our voices, never with our hands and fists, never with our actions (another excerpt from the email I got)."

Even if you like or hate the product or the influential people, you should still be unbiased in reporting the news about it or them. Again, we mediamen are "voices to the people", and we should shed even the last bit of our biases for the people.


Contributed by Ivan Saldajeno

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