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 López 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.

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