Saturday, January 28, 2017

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

 "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.
 Dr Abe V Rotor

From the earliest Roman newsletter in the 5th century BC to today's Social Media, journalism has indeed vastly expanded and radically evolved. 
 Editor Fil Galimba and author (right)
 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, and to millions of people all over the world equipped with portable electronic gadgets.

People would rather watch TV or listen to the radio than read the newspaper, magazines – and books.  Reputable publications like Time, Newsweek, and Reader’s Digest declined in circulation, and ventured into electronic publication with fair success. Even the world’s major encyclopedias stopped printing, and joined the Internet, Today, social media rides on cyber publication which lends to wider and quicker access by the public.

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 ask.    

"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.

Adhering to these rules and standards, and mobilizing a staff of local talents, Editor Fil as he is fondly called, succeeded in making this quarterly barangay publication a model in community journalism, earning awards and 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 many journalists have lost their lives, many of them as martyrs of the profession. 
Teodoro “Ka Doroy” Valencia (center) is regarded father of Philippine Journalism

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 an institution. 

His philosophy in ingrained in his teaching to one who aspires to become a journalist. 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.
New media technologies, 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
Another journalist of international fame is Joseph Pulitzer 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. He believed in the power of press and the intelligentsia involved in journalistic activities to bring a positive change to the world. 

Joseph Pulitzer founded the prestigious
Pulitzer Award for Journalism

The Pulitzer Award attests to his love and devotion to journalism. The award is regarded as co-equal with the Nobel Prize in the field of journalism. Our Carlos P Romulo (left photo) received this award for his writing "I saw the Philippines fall. I saw the Philippine rise."  to date, he is the only Filipino bestowed with this distinction. 

Filipino propagandists for Philippine independence from Spain proved to be the first model journalists. Jose Rizal wrote Noli and Fili; Graciano L√≥pez Jaena, published La Solidaridad with Marcelo H. del Pilar as editor and co-publisher, and Antonio Luna as a prolific writer. Other illustrious Filipino journalists joined in the struggle and eventual success in attaining Philippine independence.

Taking a glimpse back in history, searching for role models in the present, while projecting the future of journalism is a most challenging scenario for any scholar or critic of what is journalism today. Indeed he finds himself at a very complex crossroad. 

For how can we interconnect the ramifications of media in the same manner nerves are joined together to form 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 as a separate concept denoting a digital publication. 
  • Online and digital journalism   
The challenge is addressed to us openly.  We are inevitable victims of an explosion of knowledge which has consequences of information overload leading to the creation of information pollution  It has severe undertones 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. 

A disturbing predicament of media today is that media has allegedly become a handmaiden of capitalism on one hand and the government on the other, radicalism notwithstanding, What with the growing threat of terrorism worldwide. Another predicament is that broadcast journalism has metamorphosed with a personality image and public impression akin to those in the entertainment world. Thirdly, very few in media today actually write their own thoughts and ideas, much less as authors in expressing their philosophy in life and in upholding the profession as a catalyst to a better world.

  Such journalists are the likes of Fareed Rafiq Zakaria (photo) an Indian American journalist, columnist, author and broadcaster; and Hunter S Thompson, father of ‘gonzo journalism’, a style of writing where the reporter is involved in the story.

There are Initiatives to restore the integrity of journalism during the time of Ka Doroy, Carlos P Romulo, Jose Lansang, Amando Doronilla, Jose Guevarra, among others. Such efforts may start with community journalism, as a 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 ardent followers of social media.

Social media is a vital link to genuine journalism, in fact it may yet become the journalism in our postmodern age - if properly directed and managed. ~

Journalism is indeed one of the most dangerous professions. Journalism is not a job for the weak-hearted or the money-seeker. Despite that, it is not hard to find courageous and passionate journalists, who have dedicated their entire lives to relentlessly exposing corruption, reporting wars and uncovering political and economic scandals.
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 a reliable international organization.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Confluence of Nature in Mural and Poetry

Paintings and Verses by Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog

Lesson: Convert those empty walls, dead end corridors, hanging spaces, blank concrete fences, into Nature mural. Bring Nature inside your home. Instead of facing a blank wall, you will enjoy watching a waterfall. Stair case among rocks is a good idea. Pavements appear wet as a stream flows by. This is of course in the imagination. A rock breaks monotony of space, it creates a hidden view. Trees give a feeling of strength and height, and make you imagine of many creatures living there. Make the cloud a curtain, which opens in part to reveal flying birds, a rainbow, peeping sun, a stairway to the "Lost Horizon."

Make mural painting a family affair. Write a story or poem about your mural. Call the author for assistance. Or get in touch on

Confluence of Nature mural in acrylic on canvas, 9ft x 8 ft

Confluence of nature, unity in diversity,
where sky meets land, river flows to sea,
where time and space, matter and energy
are in union and joyful harmony,
omnipotence of no other but Thee.

Nymphaea wakes up in red, pink and white,
to the rising sun in glory and ease,
but ephemeral these flowers are at sunset
sinking into the night in peace.

Hurry up the bees, the flowers cannot wait,
hurry up the lovers to the morning chime,
the lonely, the old, the sick, the meek;
beauty to behold in the nick of time.

Mirage - vision beyond any sense,
not to the eye or the range of a lens;
the sun peeps under a cloak of green,
something stirs seen and unseen.

Do fish ever sleep?
I wonder like I wonder
if sheep ever sleep
on some grassy hill,
and the gentle fish
in a peaceful cove.

But where is that
peaceful cove
and that grassy hill?

Yes, you can paint.

Dr Abe V Rotor

Author demonstrates use of pastel colors. Civil Service Commission, QC (circa 2002)

An arch of trees, watercolor
Red fish in acrylic; children's art workshop at the former St Paul Museum

Author conducts summer art workshop for children at National Food Authority, QC

Art is for both young and old. Art is not a matter of “right or wrong.” It is theory, and it is your own. This is what is known as expression. Art is expression. A holistic one because it takes many faculties to create one - from logic to imagination, from visual to touch, traditional to contemporary.

Group work takes away boredom, it is collectively inspiring and challenging. But work with your own thoughts, imagination, pace.

But first, how do you begin?

1. You need only three primary colors - yellow, red and blue. Plus a lot of white and a little black. You can create all the colors of the rainbow. And you can do more in various hues and shades.

2. Red and yellow make orange; yellow and blue, green; blue and red, brown or purple. If you combine the three primary colors in equal proportion, you’ll get black.

3. Secondary colors lead you to tertiary colors. If you get lost you can trace it back to secondary. And you will not deviate from your color scheme.

4. White makes any color lighter: red to pink, yellow to cream, navy blue to sky blue, black to gray, orange to tangerine.

5. Black darkens colors. It is used to make shades and shadows. Contrast. If too much, your painting become drab, even muddy.

6. You need simple tools. Hardware paintbrushes 1/2” to 3” wide are relatively cheap. For artist brushes, buy from bookstores and art supplies. Get flat brushes - smallest 1/16”, biggest 1”). Get one or two round brushes. Because latex is water based, you need only few brushes. You can wash them while paint is still fresh. 

Experiment, don’t be afraid. Take advantage of the natural characteristics of paints and other mediums, like cohesiveness, immiscibility, blending, slow or quick drying, etc.

7. Use disposable palette board such as cardboard and plywood. You can make your own canvas. Canvas is sold by yard from upholstery stores. You can make several paint canvases from a yard of 60” wide canvas. You can use illustration board. For murals I use marine plywood 1/2” to 3/4” thick, 4 ft by 8 feet.

8. Do not be afraid to experiment. Try finger painting. Palette painting. Paint as you imagine and feel. Don’t be exacting, unless your subject requires it.

9. Foundation or primer is the same white latex you will be using. I prefer gloss white latex. Get more white than any of the colors. Allow the primer to dry, sandpaper it before you start to paint. Latex dries fast, so you have to work fast, too - unlike oil, it takes hours or days.

10. As much as possible mix colors first on the palette board before you apply. Of course, you can experiment by mixing colors now and then on the canvas itself. You will discover new techniques and develop your style. Never use oil and latex at the same time, latex and lacquer. But you can use permanent ink markers for lines and margins, and to enhance details.

11. Work on the light areas first, like sky, then proceed to the dark areas, like group of trees, bottom of rocks, shades and shadows, last. Work spontaneously. You know when to stop, then prepare for a second or third - or nth sitting. One sitting normally lasts 30 to 60 minutes. Pause and study your work every after sitting.

Paint a harvest time scenery in your province or country. Do it on-the-spot with your family or friends, picnic style.

12. Never abandon your work. Every painting is a masterpiece in your own right, as long as you did your best with honestly and lovingly. Treasure it.

Express your fear, anger, and other negative thoughts and feelings. Make the canvas a battle field, like this mural I saw in the Reunification Palace in HoChiMinh City, formerly Saigon. Painting is therapy.

And remember, painting is not just a hobby. It is therapy. It is prayer. It is universal language. It is timeless. Art is a bridge of the known and the unknown, the Creator and His creation. ~

On-the -spot painting contest, UST 2012.  

Food for a change: Jumping Salad and Chicken Dinugu-an (Series 2)

Dr Abe V Rotor

Living with Nature School on Blog

1.  This is a favorite dish of Ilocanos known as “jumping salad.”

What is it really?

In Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (school-on-the-air) program, five callers phoned to give their answers. Except one who said he learned about this rare dish from a friend, the callers apparently Ilocanos, said they have actually tasted jumping salad.

Newly caught juvenile shrimps, promptly dressed with tomato or calamansi and a dash of salt. Pick them up individually by the head, put it into the mouth in reverse, severe the rostrum (unicorn) and antennae with the teeth to avoid injury. It is the kicking in the mouth that gives this unique dish its name jumping salad. (Photo acknowledgement, Internet)

This dish is prepared from newly caught small to medium shrimps from the estuaries and rivers, and while they are still very much alive are served right there and then with calamansi and salt, momentarily agitating the ill-fated creatures.

Pronto! The shrimps, on removing the cover, frantically jump out of the plate, save the dazed ones. You should be skillful in catching them from the table (and even on the floor) deftly picking them by the head, taking caution so as not to get hurt by their sharp rostrum. You can imagine the danger you face as the creature makes its last attempt to escape. You must get a firm hold before putting the struggling creature into your mouth, tail first and quickly bite off the head, severing the sharp dagger in your hold. The creature wriggles in the cave of your mouth and you can actually feel its convulsion fading as it undergoes the initial process of digestion.

Being an Ilocano myself, eating jumping salad is an adventure and rarely do you experience having one nowadays, unless you are living near the sea, river or lake, or a good friend brings live shrimps to town in banana stalk container to keep them alive.

Try jumping salad. It’s one for the Book of Guinness.~
2. Glutinous rice with chicken blood is a rare treat.

The practice of gathering the blood while dressing the chicken is now rare. Well, it is because we get our chicken from the supermarket or grocery already dressed or frozen. But in the good old days, chicken blood is mixed with glutinous rice (malagkit).

This is done by getting just enough rice, wash it quickly in a small shallow plate, and blood directly coming from the chicken is mixed and allowed to settle, solidifying in a minute or two. It is easily dislodged from the plate when it is time to cook it with the chicken when cooking tinola (stew).

We kids would automatically pick the solid rice-blood even while the stew is still in the pot, but our elders would rather divide it among ourselves to settle the issue. ~

Acknowledgement: Internet image of live shrimp

Food for a change: Caliente (ox's hide), pinapa-itan and kilawin (Series 3)

Dr Abe V Rotor
Caliente, ox hide. Hide is cleaned, and softened under low fire for 
hours, sliced thinly, spiced heavily with onion and pepper, and salt.

Favorite goat recipes: kilawin (left) or medium rare; and pinapa-itan (soup made of entrails and chyme, which gives the bitter taste. Chyme is extracted from the partially digested grass, and heated to pasteurization temperature, around 70 degrees Celsius. Gall is often used as substitute.)

Food for a change: Himbaba-o and Malunggay pod (Series 4)

 Dr Abe V Rotor

Alukong (Ilk) or Himbaba-o (Tag) is a favorite vegetable 
for dinengdeng or bulanglang. It is actually the staminate 
or male flower of a large tree.

Malunggay pod is skinned, and cut into pieces, cooked into 
dinengdeng, with kamote (buridibud) and alukong. Broiled 
tilapia or bangos is excellent sahug.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Beware of Lead Poisoning

Cumulative poisoning affects the brain, the nervous system, the blood, and the abdominal system characterized by severe stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, weakness and confusion combined with decreased alertness.
Dr Abe V Rotor

Be sure toys are Lead-free.
1. Slow lead (Pb) poisoning, the case of the sickly little boy.

Here is a case of slow lead poisoning. There was this sickly boy of five, and the kindly old family doctor was puzzled of his condition. One fine Sunday morning the doctor happened to drop at the boy’s residence. While having coffee with the family the doctor exclaimed, “Ah, now I know why my young patient is sickly!”  It was like Archimedes who got out of the bathtub shouting, “Eureka! Eureka!” (I found it, I found it) He pointed at the gold lining on the rim of his coffee cup which has faded. It means that the user has been slowly taking in the poisonous lead in the gold paint! On inspecting the other china the doctor found the same revealing condition.

Lead is generally used to fix many kinds of paints. For years lead is mixed with gasoline to improve combustion and reduce engine knock. Today the use of lead is strictly regulated all over the world. When buying paints for school use or as house paint, be sure to get one with a lead-free label. Use only unleaded gasoline. And fix that crumbling wall.

2. Mass lead poisoning stakes the cities.

Lead in china wares and glazed items
As people move from the countryside to live in cities, among the risks they encounter is lead poisoning. Our old folks seldom suffered from this malady because they were living in a more pristine environment, and technology then was not as developed as it is today.

The first case of mass lead poisoning occurred among the Romans when they changed their cups and vessels from bronze to lead. Today it is estimated that over 400,000 children in the US have an excess of lead in their systems. This cumulative poisoning affects the brain, the nervous system, the blood, and the abdominal system characterized by severe stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, weakness and confusion combined with decreased alertness. Lead in the bone marrow interferes with the formation of red blood cells as well as damaging existing ones leading to anemia, pallor and weakness, and to a severe extent, delirium, coma and even death.

Apparently lead is associated with the Good Life. Avoid the following to get rid or at least minimize intake of lead.

• Automobile exhaust fumes

• Industrial wastes and air pollutants

• Paint of toys, walls, and windowsill

• Eating food or liquor prepared in lead containers

• Prolonged job contact with lead paints, batteries, solder.

• Eating food tainted with lead passed on through the food chain. Kangkong (Ipomea aquatica) has high lead residue. Fish liver contains lead more than any part of its body. ~


Lead Poisoning Symptoms and causes

(Acknowledgement) By Mayo Clinic Staff Initially, lead poisoning can be hard to detect — even people who seem healthy can have high blood levels of lead. Signs and symptoms usually don't appear until dangerous amounts have accumulated.

Signs and symptoms of lead poisoning in children include:
· Developmental delay
· Learning difficulties
· Irritability
· Loss of appetite
· Weight loss
· Sluggishness and fatigue
· Abdominal pain
· Vomiting
· Constipation
· Hearing loss
· Seizures
· Eating things, such as paint chips, that aren't food (pica)

Lead poisoning symptoms in newborns
Babies exposed to lead before birth might:
· Be born prematurely
· Have lower birth weight
· Have slowed growth

Lead poisoning symptoms in adults
Although children are primarily at risk, lead poisoning is also dangerous for adults. Signs and symptoms in adults might include:
· High blood pressure
· Joint and muscle pain
· Difficulties with memory or concentration
· Headache
· Abdominal pain
· Mood disorders
· Reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm
· Miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth in pregnant women

Lead is a metal that occurs naturally in the earth's crust, but human activity — mining, burning fossil fuels and manufacturing — has caused it to become more widespread. Lead was also once used in paint and gasoline and is still used in batteries, solder, pipes, pottery, roofing materials and some cosmetics. 

 Lead in batteries 
Lead in paint
Lead-based paints for homes, children's toys and household furniture have been banned in the United States since 1978. But lead-based paint is still on walls and woodwork in many older homes and apartments. Most lead poisoning in children results from eating chips of deteriorating lead-based paint.

Water pipes and imported canned goods
Lead pipes, brass plumbing fixtures and copper pipes soldered with lead can release lead particles into tap water. Lead solder in food cans, banned in the United States, is still used in some countries.

Other sources of lead exposure
Lead sometimes can also be found in:
· Soil. Lead particles from leaded gasoline or paint settle on soil and can last years. Lead-contaminated soil is still a major problem around highways and in some urban settings. Some soil close to walls of older houses contains lead.
· Household dust. Household dust can contain lead from lead paint chips or from contaminated soil brought in from outside.
· Pottery. Glazes found on some ceramics, china and porcelain can contain lead that can leach into food served or stored in the pottery.
· Toys. Lead is sometimes found in toys and other products produced abroad.
· Cosmetics. Tiro, an eye cosmetic from Nigeria, has been linked to lead poisoning.
· Herbal or folk remedies. Lead poisoning has been linked to greta and azarcon, traditional Hispanic medicines, as well as some from India, China and other countries.
· Mexican candy. Tamarind, an ingredient used in some candies made in Mexico, might contain lead.
· Lead bullets. Time spent at firing ranges can lead to exposure.
· Occupations. People are exposed to lead and can bring it home on their clothes when they work in auto repair, mining, pipe fitting, battery manufacturing, painting, construction and certain other fields.
Risk factors

Factors that may increase your risk of lead poisoning include:
· Age. Infants and young children are more likely to be exposed to lead than are older children. They might chew paint that flakes off walls and woodwork, and their hands can be contaminated with lead dust. Young children also absorb lead more easily, and it's more harmful for them than it is for adults and older children. 

Excavated lead pipe, suspected to be the cause of lead poisoning, unknown to the Romans as the cause of a "mysterious" disease.

· Living in an older home. Although the use of lead-based paints has been banned since the 1970s, older homes and buildings often retain remnants of this paint. People renovating an older home are at even higher risk.
· Certain hobbies. Making stained glass and some jewelry requires the use of lead solder. 

Refinishing old furniture might put you in contact with layers of lead paint. 
· Living in developing countries. Developing countries often have less strict rules regarding exposure to lead than do developed countries. American families who adopt a child from another country might want to have the child's blood tested for lead poisoning. Immigrant and refugee children also should be tested. 

Lead poisoning blood cells

Lead can harm an unborn child, so pregnant women or women likely to become pregnant should be especially careful to avoid exposure to lead.
Complications Exposure to even low levels of lead can cause damage over time, especially in children. The greatest risk is to brain development, where irreversible damage can occur. Higher levels can damage the kidneys and nervous system in both children and adults. Very high lead levels may cause seizures, unconsciousness and death. ~