Monday, January 23, 2006

DAKIT launched

One of our back-breaking, mind-bending, not to mention wallet-stripping projects for this semester is to INITIATE a publication of any school/non-government organization/community and SUSTAIN the publication for our Development Communication 142 class. We have gone as far as publishing the maiden issue through the collective efforts of the following: our monthly allowances; a lineup of “generous” donors which includes our uncles, aunts, friends, relatives, and yes, parents (to our parents, a tip of the hat to all of you for maintaining composure throughout this ordeal); and the miscalculations of the alleged sleepy risograph personnel that slashed off quite a big chunk from our total expenses. (HINT: If you want a discount on risograph printing, I advise you to rush into the store minutes from closing time.)

This week, we are involuntarily excusing ourselves from classes to conduct a 2-day Basic Campus Journalism Training for the students of Punta Princesa Night High School (PPNHS), wherein we would teach them the essentials of news writing, feature writing, editorial writing, and editing/lay outing. Involuntary – because our schedules are all out of sync even if we have to skip meals and totally miss out the beer-bonding sessions.

I am praying real hard for the success of the whole activity. We are quite lucky that the students are as enthusiastic as we are, and that the principal of the school, Mrs. Maritess PatiƱo, is more than supportive of our endeavor.

After the training, we’ll work on our next issue. Yey! But before that, we’ll have to devise new money-making schemes to finance it. I think the risograph scheme won’t work this time as the other personnel have heightened their senses for any suspicious sign of our shadows. I bet they now have to give themselves extra caffeine boost to stay alert. But alas, amidst all the endlessly piling quizzes and projects, I need a caffeine boost myself.

To all those who need the same, cheers! Enjoy the moments of slavery and torture...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

eThIcS UnLiMiTeD

Note: This entry has been stalled for almost a month due to piles of workload in Development Communication 142 and Communication 140 subjects. Peace!

When the Yuletide season’s up and kicking high in the sky, everyone’s supposed to be gay and bright with the generous giving and sharing of blessings. But even when you’re (mis)placed about a few notches “higher than ground level” (and makes you nearer the sky, and therefore heaven?), surrounded by the most Christmas-eous ambiance of flaming torches, dashing gladiators in chariots, and cuddly baby Jesus in His swaddling clothes, you still can’t miss out the humanly flaws in this “divine” grace.

Consider this: The second our teacher dismissed us from an afternoon class, I dashed out quickly to take the next jeepney that would take me to Bethlehem’s alter ego, only to find out I would be trapped in a hellhole the next few hours.

I had taken up a media ethics class the previous semester. Whether I like it or not, a stinging voice in my head reminds me each time how to behave as a journalist whenever I’m thrown on-field for an article assignment. That day, I was in the company of older, more experienced, and expectedly more ethical media persons. To my dismay, I found out that they have either forgotten or have chosen to ignore the ethical standards of being in the media.

Rule on freebies: When you’re covering an event, it is a basic ethical rule not to accept freebies given only to you or to media persons covering the event. If it is given to everybody, it is safe. But to ask for it? And blatantly at that? “Oi, (motioning to the media escort), asa naman amoang freebies?” to quote one media person. Then without another word, grabbed the nearest giveaway the hand could reach and started thrusting the giveaways to other media persons. I was a neophyte and they didn’t know me that well yet so I was quite thankful that they didn’t pay attention to me at that moment. But then, another media person saw me and was feeling a bit generous that day so the media person said, “Give her one, too.” The escort gladly handed me the giveaway – not really expensive but utilitarian. It was as if the escort stuffed the giveaway into my mouth. I could not utter a word. He handed it to me with a wide smile (I could not fathom if it was genuine wholeheartedness, hypocrisy, or just plain submissiveness) and simply uttered, “Thank you.” I was about to refuse it but the escort got ahead of me and I didn’t want to appear ungrateful. I accepted it submissively.

To date, I still have that giveaway, making me feel sad that some people in the media bend the ethical rules and lower the ethical standards at times. I blame myself too, for not refusing it. But my greatest disappointment was that they have portrayed a wrong example. I was supposed to look up to them, recognizing their experience in the field. They were supposed to be mentors to younger and amateur media persons.

But well, what do I get for ranting and raving about something that won’t make those people hand the giveaway back? It’s ONLY ethics anyway. Where the greatest compromise lies with a not-so-great value of TRUST towards a not-so-important chunk of the PUBLIC.

If not for me, then doesn’t the society deserve better?