Sunday, August 03, 2008


Since I have been studying Journalism at my own pace using information from the university library, on-line journals, textbooks, television, newspapers, journals, among others, I attempted to recognize the strengths and the weaknesses of this profession. And since I have already shared (in my earlier posts) the broad societal role of journalism, the significance of media in political conflicts, its tripartite role and other positive remarks, it's about time to flip the other side of the coin.
  • Yes, the press should present the truth about any event or story. But realistically, it can present only some facts about every story, for news reporters are not the omniscient observers that they might seem to be.
  • According to David Broder, a Pulitzer prize-winning columnist and author, press reports are flawed: (1) time pressure under which reporters have to submit their news stories; (2) inability to reach all the sources they would wish to interview or research (though, it is their duty to sniff out all sides of the truth, situations themselves sometimes do not cooperate). I remembered my Journalism teacher in grade school pointing out the relevance to get the different perspectives of the people, failure to get such may also be a failure to present a truthful presentation. We have to be reminded that reporters and journalists guided with profession ethics strive to get access to all truths, but the information they have in the end is always incomplete and is just a surface sketch of what the reality is.
  • Yes, newspapers (and other print media) are the first draft in history, they should not be taken as the final authority. Readers tend to trust the printed word implicitly and newsmen pretend to have an authority which they do not possess. The same is true with broadcast/TV/radio media.
  • The weakness of the press to be manipulated by politicians. To quote Broder, "...every good politician will attempt to work the press. If you live in a country where public opinion ultimately decides public policy, any politician who's at all serious is going to try to manage public opinion, and that means working with the press."
  • Yellow journalism, tabloid journalism - lowered standard of news journalism, most of the times neglecting the basics and ethics like objectivity and fairness.
  • Sensationalism and to what Che Che Lazaro points out, "envelopmental journalism" - to bribe journalist in favor of a media coverage.
  • Libelous practices (defamation of character) such as unchecked facts, drawn assumptions, non-supported notes, printing false information, among others. Libel laws are given in order to protect the citizens against the supreme power of the press. The usual rebuttal to this is provable truth and assertion of a story done without malice.
  • Invasion of privacy, that is, some journalists thirsty of scoops resort to improper or even illegal means to gain information.
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Going beyond risky lines - Due to the inevitable news gathering competitions, some journalists resort to go beyond risky lines -- police lines, restrictive areas, etc. (case of journalist Ces Drilon). But then, there's a lesson behind every story, "No story is worth a journalist's life."
Main source:
Journalism by Estelita Constantino Pangilinan

Tropical Depression JULIAN (10W) Strengthened (According to Typhoon2000)
as of 2PM Aug 04: 19.5N 118.1E 55 kph WSW @ 24 kph Southern China


hugo gonzales said...

What you've done (posting the weaknesses/limits of the press) is in itself a form of balance presentation of information, since all your posts before speaks for the press. Good job. Continue learning and sharing!

brokendamsel said...

yes, yes. but then, we cannot deny na kailangan ang media for political transparency as well. malaki ang pangangailangan sa kanila.

hydee lopez said...

Wala namang puro. Sana maipasakamay ng mga media practioners ang responsible media ethics. Halata naman kung sino ang pumapanig sa pamahalaan... malamang! dahil government channels sila. Ang nakakalungkot lang sa mga journalists na nasa gov't networks hindi nila mai-voice out ang negatives about the gov't. Kung meron man, limited.

Railey! said...

Sa nakikita ko, ginagawa naman ng mapagkakatiwalaang media ang kanilang kaya. Mapagkakatiwalaan -- ito yung mga may napatunayan na sa publiko. Malaki ang pangangailangan ng lipunan sa kanila, katulad ng sinabi mo sa ibang post/s -- political education, counterbalance for government's tendency to be tyrannical, cultural transmission, etc, etc...

Ienne said...

I think you have to watch Jay. No, YOU MUST WATCH JAY.

yfur porsche p. fernandez said...

To hugo:

Yes, I will. Thank you.

To brokendamsel and hydee lopez:

I agree. kailangan talaga sila for transparency. Sa mga gov't channels, kung nababayaran man sila nang mas malaki, nalilimitihan naman ang kakayahan nila bilang mamamahayag. Therefore, defeating their aim.

yfur porsche p. fernandez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
yfur porsche p. fernandez said...

To railey:

But then, kahit established na sila, kinakailangan pa ring ang patuloy na pagpapaigting sa responsible journalism and media ethics. I'm glad to know that you can still recall my earlier posts.

To ienne:

Talaga? Bakit naman?:)

hugo gonzales said...

Dapat lang! Share mo ha! para natututo pa rin kami...

Ienne said...