Thursday, March 18, 2010

While the media is covering our everyday life every day, trying to shape public opinion and solve our daily dilemmas, it is funny and ironic to think that the media does not cover itself and does not really provide solutions to its own problems. Whatever happened to practicing what you are preaching?

It is also funny to note that the problems encountered by the media are not as simple as choosing between Noynoy Aquino and Manny Villar. These problems are actually problems which create other bigger problems.

For example, a journalist is trapped in a situation; and the only way out is to choose between professional values and marketing mentality.

If he chooses his professional values, his credibility is spared but he would be facing another problem—low salary. And when the steadfast journalist decides to prolong the agony brought by preferring his moral values and becoming a professional with honor despite the insufficient compensation, he would hardly survive.

And in order to survive, he would consider the alternatives; and we all know that one of the options is bribery. But our journalist does not want to be bought off.

He will now go for marketing or profits mentality.

But he should be aware that his choice means being able to “sell” his stories; and one way of selling a story is also “selling the drama.” Yes, sensationalism. The journalist should now play up and over-dramatize his tales. He should cover murders, sex scandals and other crimes to cater to the human interest for his stories to be sold.

But mind you, sensationalism is not the only problem that marketing mentality procreates. Poor coverage of more important issues is also an effect. Since the journalist is busy covering sensationalist stories, he would definitely not mind taking into consideration the other issues in the society that need not to be ignored. And that is another story.

If a journalist would effortlessly sensationalize and would be ignoring the real issues, it would again give way to the birth of a new problem which is misinforming the public. And misinforming means another problem—“uninforming” the public.

See? This is the real world of the press. You have no choice but to make a choice. But do you really have a choice?

Another problem in the media which creates other problems is media consolidation. It means that most of our media are owned by huge corporations. These are the media (like newspapers) which are not independently owned. And Serbisyong Totoo is not so true this time because it is purely business; no real public service.

Some of the other bigger problems created by media consolidation are monopoly, less coverage of issues that matter, biased reporting, abuses of power and again, misinforming and uninforming the public.

Take for example ABS-CBN. During the times when the Lopezes—owners of the said network—had the biggest share in Meralco, ABS-CBN News always tried to present a balanced reporting everytime the power corporation was in the midst of controversies. But critics would say that the presentation of the news concerning Meralco was never impartial primarily because of conflict of interest. And since the Lopezes own the biggest media conglomerates in the country, the tendency is for the public to be misinformed and there would be less diversity in programming.

There are also problems in the press which have nothing to do with morality and media ethics. These are sometimes caused by the advent of new media.

Media convergence may be a threat to our old media—the television, the radio and the newspaper—but that is not anymore the problem of the public. In fact, media convergence is good news to media consumers. We now have the Internet which provides us the fastest information that the three old media can hardly grant.

The issue now is more focused on the “endangered state” of our old media especially the newspaper. Some would foretell that newspapers will be non-operational in the future because of the edge of the new media.

But I guess these old means of communication will not come to extinction. Personally I would rather read the printed materials considering the credibility that the newspapers have already established. Moreover, television for me is more preferable than YouTube especially now that I have found out that the word “buffering” pisses me off like how Julius Embile does.


The media today is facing scores of difficulties, not to mention the stress brought by proposed bills such as the Right to Reply Bill and the like. But at the end of the day, no one is expected to solve these problems but the media itself.

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