Thursday, February 23, 2012

Technology as the downfall of journalistic integrity

I've always been critical of how journalism is done in the Philippines. It's sensationalist and it factors in the "usyoso" mentality of Filipinos. The lowest point was of course, the Quirino Grandstand hostage crisis, wherein TV media charged their way into the middle of the action, providing the perpetrator real-time updates via the bus television as to what was going on around him. Worse, they totally ignored the perimeter set by the responding police, which is the fault of the media as much as it was the fault of the police.

The media is also known to not only wait around for stories, but also sometimes, all but manufacture them. The incident of Christopher Lao going through a flood is one example. The media were waiting on the other end with cameras rolling just waiting for someone to not think things through and just go for it. Bystanders, seeing the chance to be on TV, of course, would rather have played the part of the action hero, pushing a stranded car to safety, rather than be a real good samaritan and warn of the flood.

Now, the standards of journalism are going down yet again. I read my news online because it's convenient. I don't have to set aside a specific time to watch the news. I get to take news from several sources at once and compare the differences in bias and whatnot. I usually get international news from the larger, recognized news outfits. However, whenever I read articles for local news, I have to limit myself to the standard GMA, ABS, Inquirer and Philstar. Hence, I have to expose myself to "news" articles like this: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/lifestyle/02/17/12/whos-prettiest-cj-trial.

Wow, really? As a warm-blooded male, I can appreciate that people would fall for the beautiful products of our proud College. What I don't understand, however, is that ABS seems to be propagating it as much. First of all, when did Twitter become a real source of information? Its contents are not representative of what a general public thinks, as only individual quotes are taken. Worst of all, ABS shoots itself in the foot and kicks itself in the balls for manufacturing this hashtag, trending frenzy by saying that "The beauty pageant has not really caught on—as of posting time, there have been less than ten people tweeting using hashtags #TeamJimeno, #TeamPilares and #TeamJimenez.."


So what's the point? Nothing. What's the source? Nothing. What's being reported? Nothing but the fact that someone assigned to cover the impeachment got so bored that he just spent his time with wandering eyes and checking his Twitter, and decided to get a paycheck out of it.

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