Chin-Chin Gutierrez’s House Burns Down Again + How to Fireproof Your Home

N.B. – This news feature article was originally published in Female Network on September 3.

Evaluation: Allyn Baldemor said that the article is professionally-written and its form goes with the overall style of Female Network. She noticed that the tips were indeed targeted for women readers and suggested that the hyperlinks not be placed on very long phrases. Because the article follows a certain template, she also mentioned that its evaluation is different from those submitted in Asian Correspondent and UPIU.


October 7, 2010 at 8:18 PM Leave a comment

New technologies expand automated election coverage

N.B. – This is a revised version of  the news article originally published in UPIU on September 4.

Evaluation: Corinne Renes said that the lead was “sufficient enough to explain what the article was about” and that she liked how the different points of the speakers were separated into parts. A clear error committed, however, was the failure to properly name COMELEC before abbreviating. She also suggested that a link be provided in the last paragraph so that readers would have greater understanding of what the phrase ‘failure of the elections’ refers to.

Representatives from television, print, and online media emphasized how the emergence of new technologies has maximized the coverage of the first automated elections in the Philippines during a forum held yesterday at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP CMC) auditorium.

Titled “Retracing the Campaign Trail: Assessing Media’s Role in the 2010 National Election Coverage,” the forum marked the start of the Mass Media Awareness Month which is an advocacy of the UP CMC Student Council aimed at an immediacy for awareness in the existence, presence, and importance of media.

Speakers of the said event include Patrick Paez, TV5’s Head for News Production; Ellen Tordesillas, main writer and board member of VERA Files; and Howie Severino, one of the leading broadcast journalists in the country and GMANews.TV’s editor-in-chief.

New, shiny toys
Paez said that the elections have always been a major endeavor for different news organizations and often entail buying of latest toys and broadcast technology.

“This huge expense is justified by the money that the networks will be making from all the political ads that will be coming in,” he said.

Although touch screen graphics and holograms are considered ‘cool’ toys, Paez said that these made no difference in the type of reporting and had no impact on the quality of news being broadcast.

He also pointed out that elections are almost always about numbers, but networks trying to beat each other when reporting the first 10 or 20 votes cast in a particular precinct fail to realize that these figures aren’t essential as they represent only a small portion of the voting population.

“To report numbers that matter and have meaning instead of bombarding the audience with news and information is the challenge for us in media,” he said.

In this age of information, Paez stressed that the traditional media must make sense of the news and take advantage of their privilege to choose what to report and what not to report.

Re-training necessary
Aside from the high-tech tools and computerized system, Tordesillas said that many things have remained the same in the coverage of elections this year as far as media are concerned.

“Media remain the major battleground in winning the hearts of voters,” she said.

For the first automated national elections, VERA Files tied up with the Philippine Press Institute to conduct re-training for media practitioners and with several non-governmental organizations to promote more active citizen journalism.

Tordesillas explained how journalists help in empowering people by providing correct information that will guide them in deciding who to vote for.

“Media cover elections because elections, like press freedom, are an important component of democracy,” she said.

She also reminded members of the media to resist material temptations from candidates whose campaign they are following by adhering to the core values of journalism that comprise truth-telling, independence, fairness, humaneness, and accountability.

Online media’s edge
Severino said that the new media can do anything that old media can, but there are a few things that the new media can do well which the old media cannot.

“In online journalism, the question that we ask is how we can add value to the comprehensive coverage by broadcast media,” he said.

Among all the strengths of the internet, Severino focused on the breadth and depth of information as the edge of the new media over traditional media.

He explained that online media are powerful tools for presenting information because the web is a natural home for databases and is not limited by either airtime or space, thus allowing for the complete listing of candidates who are running ahead or falling behind the elections.

One of the challenges of web reporting, Severino said, was developing their own program that would automatically convert information from the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) into a format that they needed for their website so as to display election results as soon as possible.

Severino also mentioned that instead of always thinking about doomsday scenarios like failure of the automated elections, the media must give equal attention to stories of success as these may actually constitute the real news.

October 7, 2010 at 8:03 PM Leave a comment

Remembering Ninoy Aquino

N.B. – This opinion article was originally published in Asian Correspondent on August 19.

Evaluation: Jedd Hernandez said that the “writing style makes the reading experience enjoyable and keeps the article from being boring.” He also said that the “links gave sufficient background information without cluttering the article” and that the “analysis provided relevance to present-day situation.” It was discussed in class, though, that all personal opinions must always have a factual basis.

When Benigno Simeon “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. died 27 years ago, he showed how dying for the love of country is never a defeat but a glorious victory. He believed that in an endeavor to restore democracy in the Philippine government, one cannot let his fear of getting killed lead him towards inaction.

Because of his family’s political background, entering politics came early for Ninoy. In 1967, he became the youngest senator and the only candidate of the Liberal Party to make it to senate. He was then considered by President Ferdinand Marcos and his allies as their greatest threat, but unfortunately for them, Ninoy was not intimated by their number. He bravely exposed the anomalies carried out by the administration and warned the public of Marcos’ corrupt plans during his stay in office.

Not long after, Martial Law was declared in the country and Ninoy was one of the first arrested. As the opposition leader against Marcos, he was imprisoned for false charges of murder, illegal possession of firearms, and explicit subversion. Even under detention, Ninoy continued his plea for Marcos to step down and for a peaceful regime to take over. After seven years behind bars, however, Ninoy experienced heart attacks and was allowed by the Marcoses to have medical treatments abroad under conditions that he would return and would not speak against the Marcos regime during his stay in the United States.

In 1983, Ninoy decided to come back to the Philippines to talk to Marcos regarding the worsening political situation of the country. He knew very well that his return posed several dangers but he was willing to take the risk for the sake of his fellowmen. Despite threats from Marcos because of his continuous political involvement, Ninoy was ready to face the consequences of his actions in the struggle to attain freedom once again.

Ninoy’s assassination right after stepping down from the plane proved how Marcos was afraid of being conquered by the enemy and of losing the power he held over the entire land. It was a clear proof of injustice showing that fighting for change always comes with a cost. Having fought for his principles until the very end, Ninoy is indeed a martyr in the truest sense of the word.

Had he not been assassinated, Ninoy could have made a good president – a leader who puts his people before anything else and acts upon the boundaries of justice. Surveys during his time showed that Filipinos actually wanted Ninoy for president after Marcos’ term ended. However, every politician has his own detractors and Ninoy was no exception. Even with his clean intentions, many saw him as a representative of the familial elites who are still dominating Philippine politics today. Whether that was the case, it still cannot be denied that his assassination led to the fall of a dictator who abused the rights of the Filipino people.

As the country commemorates Ninoy Aquino Day on the 21st, may we not only consider it as another holiday but instead honor Ninoy’s heroic deeds as one of the country’s most influential leaders. Especially now that our new president is his very own son, it is crucial to look back on the past and understand what it really means to be a good example. President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III, albeit having been in office for only more than a month, must already remember that family ties will only take him so far and thus he should not rely too much on both his parents’ legacy.

Indeed, the Filipinos are worth dying for in the same way that they are worth living for. At the end of the day, we all point back to Ninoy’s heroism for starting change in the country and putting the Philippine government back to a democratic state. It might have been through rough roads over the recent years, but as long as you remain our hero, we will continue working together for the betterment of the country. You were, you are, and will always be the Filipinos’ inspiration to fight and never stop fighting.

October 7, 2010 at 5:09 PM Leave a comment

FN Flick Picks: 20 Kickass Movie Heroines

N.B. – This feature article was originally published in Female Network on July 27.

Evaluation: Mark Manalang commented that he was able to relate to the article because the list included classic action films that starred heroines who are familiar to the public and its scope ranged from the 70s up to the present. Images used also helped provide a visual representation of the heroines; however, the article can still be made more interactive by linking each movie to its official website.

October 7, 2010 at 5:00 PM Leave a comment

Fighting Impunity

Ten months have passed and still there is no sign of justice prevailing.

To commemorate the first anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre, the Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR) is holding a multimedia competition aimed at increasing public awareness on the culture of impunity in the country.

The said contest, entitled Fighting Impunity: The 2010 Multi-Media Competition, was launched Wednesday morning at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP CMC) auditorium.

The launch, which was sponsored by the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ), was opened by CMC Dean Rolando Tolentino and continued with a short lecture on impunity from CMFR Executive Director Melinda Quintos de Jesus.

De Jesus said that inconsistencies in the country’s system of law and order had long been prevalent and didn’t just start with the Ampatuan Massacre. Although there is no direct Filipino translation for the word impunity, De Jesus explained that its culture intensifies because of a weak judicial system, poor police investigation, lack of witnesses, and inadequate funds. She also said that the culture of impunity often leads to intimidation and fear, which both cause failure to prosecute.

The main reason for launching Fighting Impunity, according to De Jesus, was indeed to improve awareness and prevent indifference among the public. As media practitioners continue to face threats and attacks, it is very important to promote press freedom and protect the fourth estate.

Professor Luis Teodoro, who is also the CMFR Deputy Executive Director, discussed the mechanics for the contest. Any enrolled college student may join the competition and they can submit original entries in any desired category: commemorative poster, radio plug, or a short video. Deadlines will be on October 11 (poster category), October 20 (radio category), and October 29 (video category). All entries will be evaluated by the board members of FFFJ and a total prize of P120, 000 will be divided among the winners. For more details on the contest mechanics, click here.

Although the cash prize is very enticing, students who wish to join must remember that the main goal of the contest is to provide a venue for them to let their voices be heard. Through their creativity, they will be able to do their part in fighting for the change that the country needs.

September 29, 2010 at 10:47 PM Leave a comment

Plagiarism in K-Pop

Plagiarism of journalistic and academic pieces is not something one may consider a new concern, especially because it has long been a common malpractice that many commit either intentionally or unintentionally. It might be surprising to know, however, that even in the world of K-Pop, plagiarism issues on artists’ songs and music videos are recently becoming the center of much controversy. For almost every latest release, accusations of plagiarism seem to tag along‒ thus tainting the artists’ reputation.

An opinion article from OMGKPOP about K-Pop music falling into a case of plagiarism plague draws balance between the illegality of plagiarizing music with the socially-acceptable arguments as to why artists often end up doing this unlawful practice.

Differences in the album production process of American and Korean artists, especially when it comes to maximizing the allotted time for album preparations, are shown in the article as primary factors leading to plagiarism.

Considering that the author is actually a K-Pop fan herself, it is commendable how she was able to write the article without letting her bias towards the artists take over objectivity. She admits that although a lot of accusations normally don’t have factual basis, many appear to be seriously questionable.

As supporters of K-Pop, fans tend to put too much faith on these artists and blame the producers instead for not carefully filtering tracks before releasing the albums. However, as what was mentioned in the article, a reputation damaged once will be hard to fix no matter who is at fault.

The author makes a clear point in saying that it is not enough for K-Pop artists to simply use an iPhone application to screen songs before they are released. I agree that probably the best way to avoid plagiarism is by actually getting themselves involved in the songwriting and album production process.

K-Pop is a very fast-paced industry with new hits coming out week after week that the article points out how unintentionally lifting lines from another song or inadvertently copying choreography may sometimes be inevitable. It’s also a matter of competition, of releasing new albums and videos sooner than the rest.

In the end, the author leaves it to the listeners to weigh whether quantity is preferred over quality. Personally, I would willingly wait even if my favorite artist takes quite longer to make his comeback just as long as he wouldn’t be caught in a plagiarism act when he does. I am an ultimate die-hard fangirl, but when it comes to ethical matters, I will always be for what is right and fair.

August 17, 2010 at 3:52 PM 1 comment

In 2008, I became a fangirl.

“Neon nareul wonhae, neon naege ppajyeo
(You want me, you’ve fallen for me)
Neon naege michyeo, hae eo nal su obseo
(You’re crazy for me, you can’t break out)
I got you~ under my skin”
(I got you~ under my skin)

I remember my sister playing this particular song repeatedly for days that it eventually got stuck in my head. For artists I had no background of and lyrics I totally didn’t understand, I can say that K-Pop music had an amazing charm that instantly sparked my curiosity. Not long after, I found myself researching about the different artists, following their activities in and out of Korea, downloading albums and concerts, watching music videos, and even trying to memorize the lyrics so I could sing along. This was when I knew that the K-Pop world has gained yet another fangirl.

As tribute to the Korean artists/groups who have shown me what passion really means since I was first introduced to their music two years back, I decided that my blog would put in the spotlight one artist/group per week (or depending on how often we’d be asked to update our blogs). They could be those who have already made a name globally or those who are still on their way to K-Pop stardom. Aside from a short history and my personal opinion on each artist/group, I also plan to include photos, videos, and audio for a more interactive experience.

Just this year, K-Pop has been making itself known in the Philippines as well. In line with this, I intend to feature the artists/groups who have recently visited the country (like SHINee, Super Junior, U-Kiss, & Beast) for more familiarity.

(Photos from Asian Fanatics)

I am hoping that through this blog, non-K-Pop fans will likewise learn to appreciate their music. Who knows? Maybe they’ll be the newly-converted fangirls and fanboys tomorrow.

August 1, 2010 at 2:06 AM Leave a comment


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