Sunday, December 25, 2016

Quo vadis, Journalism? (Where is Journalism headed for?)

Editorial: Greater Lagro Gazette

Quo vadis, Journalism? 
(Where is Journalism headed for?) 

From the earliest Roman newsletter in 5th century BC to today's Social Media, journalism has indeed vastly expanded and radically evolved. 

In the Philippines the first newsletter was Tomas Pinpin's Successos Felices 1636, and the first regularly published newspaper was Del Superior Govierno (1811). Print journalism dominated media for centuries until radio and TV brought news and entertainment to the living room. Today computers and smartphones dominate media virtually at fingertip and mobile at that, involving a very wide profile of users interconnected locally and around the world. 

Millennials are often identified with their fondness of using cellphone or smartphone at any time, what with the many features of this palm-size gadget. They are wired all the time, says a sociologist. The cell phone connects practically all - libraries, shopping centers, universities, cities, public offices, homes,  irrespective of distance and time. And it is multiple linked with institutions and systems: e-mail, e-commerce, e-learning, etc. 

Social media catch the earliest news, send quick messages, and react openly, critique without reservation, in fact social media to the general public is open journalism.    

So what is journalism today? People asked.     

"There are set rules and standards of journalism embodied in the Code of Journalism which will remain unchanged," says Editor Feliciano U Galimba Jr, of the award winning community newspaper - The Greater Lagro Gazette.

Applying strictly these rules and standards, and mobilizing a staff of local talents, Editor Fil as he fondly called, succeeded in making this quarterly barangay publication a model in community journalism, albiet citations from leaders and readers. 

The Code of Ethics in Journalism is universal, summarized in four tenets.  These comprise the four pillars of journalism, and it is in defense of this sacred temple that journalists have lost their lives, many of them as martyrs. 

Seek Truth and Report It. Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Minimize Harm - Ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect. Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness.

Act Independently - The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public. Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.

Be Accountable and Transparent - Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public.
Role models in journalism, like in other professions, provide not only direction but inspiration in work and life as well. The late Teodoro "Doroy" Valencia is undoubtedly the father of journalism in the Philippines. His column Over a Cup of Coffee shaped the thinking of his readers and influenced the decisions of leaders in his time, and even to the present, which makes Ka Doroy is an institution. 

His philosophy in ingrained in his teaching to one who aspires to become a journalists. He must 
  • Be inquisitive
  • Be constant in his purpose
  • Be fair and balanced
  • Be genuinely interested in people
  • Seek the truth
  • Be resourceful
  • Have guts
  • Master his grammar
  • Know his medium
  • Read, read and read.
 Above all, he must be God-fearing, compassionate, and true to his country and fellowmen. And uphold journalism as a profession and institution. 

Another journalist of international fame is Joseph Pulitzer (photo) who initiated the pattern of modern newspaper. For him, newspaper is the ‘vehicle of truth’, and he used it to raise his concern against corruption, fraud, monopolies, gambling rings and ill practices by elected officials.

Joseph believed in the power of press and the intelligentsia involved in journalistic activities to bring a positive change to the world. 

The Pulitzer Award attests to his love and devotion to journalism. The award is equal to the Nobel Prize in the field of journalism. Our Carlos P Romulo received such award for his writing "I saw the Philippines fall. I saw the Philippine rise."  to date, the only Filipino who bestowed with this distinction. 
Our own Filipino propagandists for Philippine independence from Spain are no less models to the aspiring journalists. Jose Rizal wrote Noli and Fili; Graciano López Jaena, published La Solidaridad with Marcelo H. del Pilar as editor and co-publisher, and Antonio Luna as prolific writer. 

Taking a glimpse back in history, searching for role models in the present, while projecting the future of journalism is a most challenging situation for a any critic of what is journalism today. It is a complex crossroad indeed. 

For how can we connect the ramifications of media in the same manner like nerves of a ganglion?
  • Newspaper journalism
  • Campus journalism 
  • Magazine journalism
  • Citizen journalism (also known as "public", "participatory", "democratic", "guerrilla" or "street" journalism
  • Community journalism or civic journalism, 
  • Social Journalism is a separate concept denoting a digital publication. 
  • Online and digital journalism   
The challenge is addressed to us openly.  We are victims of an explosion of knowledge which has consequences of its own - information pollution. It has its undertone to values and to journalism.  It is up for us to devise a system through the same technology, of separating the grain from the chaff, so to speak.

It starts with community journalism, as basic unit, under the tutelage of true and dedicated journalists like Editor Fil Galimba et al. It must focus on the young, the users and followers of social media. Social media is a bridge to journalism, in fact it is the journalism in our postmodern age - if properly directed and applied. ~
20 Deadliest Countries for Journalists
1.    Iraq: 178
2.    Syria: 107
3.    Philippines: 77
4.    Somalia: 62
5.    Algeria: 60
6.    Pakistan: 59
7.    Russia: 56
8.    Colombia: 47
9.    India: 40
10. Brazil: 39
11. Mexico: 37
12. Afghanistan: 31
13. Turkey: 25
14. Bangladesh: 20
15. Sri Lanka: 19
16. Bosnia: 19
17. Rwanda: 17
18. Tajikistan: 17
19. Sierra Leone: 16
20. Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory: 16
Two thirds of the journalists killed in 2014 were in war zones, but this year was the exact opposite, with "two-thirds killed in countries 'at peace'", said RSF.
New media technology, such as social networking and media-sharing websites, in addition to the increasing prevalence of cellular telephones, have made citizen journalism more accessible to people worldwide. Due to the availability of technology, citizens often can report breaking news more quickly than traditional media reporters. Notable examples of citizen journalism reporting from major world events are, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the Arab Spring, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the 2013 protests in Turkey, - Courtney C. Radsch
Fareed Zakaria

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