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Buzzwords: Ultratight writing and editing, MOJOs July 15, 2008

Posted by luzrimban in ACFJ, ACFJ alumni, journalism.

One of the more memorable sessions during the 3rd Forum of Emerging Leaders in Asian Journalism was the

Inquirer.net executive editor Leo Magno talks about "Transformations in the Newsroom" at the 3rd Forum of Emerging Leaders in Asian Journalism held July 11 and 12, 2008.

Inquirer.net executive editor Leo Magno talks about "Transformations in the Newsroom" at the 3rd Forum of Emerging Leaders in Asian Journalism held July 11 and 12, 2008.

one in which fellow Ateneo alumnus and Philippine Daily Inquirer executive editor Leo Magno talked about “Transformations in the Newsroom” brought about by media convergence.

I call it memorable because there was some heckling from the back, particularly the table where Carol Arguillas, Joyce Panares, Bert Apostol and I were seated. What were the points that drew some heckling:

Leo talked about how news writing has evolved in the multimedia age, specifically, he said news writing is now marked by fast, ultratight writing and editing
– breaking news
– running account
– blogging
– live blogging
– microblogging

He also talked about how breaking news was coming in the form of twittering, (the present progressive form of the verb to tweet, although how twittering can be a verb form of to tweet beats me).

Twittering is the popular form of microblogging, where news comes in one-line, 140-character spurts of information.

Leo says this has become the news media’s way of adjusting to what readers want, and it was evident in the earthquake in China, where news came in the form or twitters from citizens. Citizen journalism, it seems, has dictated how journalists should deliver the news.

Says Leo: what’s the difference?
– we (media) were late
– reports came from unverified sources
– what if we harness that social news gathering process to deliver the news?

The changes are forcing the news media to examine what kind of content our readers are both producing and consuming.

At the inquirer.net newsdesk, editors now edit not only text and video.

Photojournalism professor Dave Clark talks about mobile journalism on Day 1 of the 3rd Forum of Emerging Leaders in Asian Journalism.

Photojournalism professor Dave Clark talks about mobile journalism on Day 1 of the 3rd Forum of Emerging Leaders in Asian Journalism.

Six out of 14 reporters are multimedia reporters—they have to write, blog, microblog, do breaking news stories, take video, write scripts, do newscasts and podcasts. They’re training and hiring reporters Leo calls “inter-disciplinary”, multi-skilled multi-tasking personnel capable of what Dave Clark called MOJO or “mobile journalism” in the previous day’s session.

But the question uppermost in the minds of the reporters listening to Leo and Dave was: If editors want multi-skilled multi-taskers, are they willling to pay people who would be hired to do all these things all at the same time.

Leo’s answer: passion. If you have enough passion for the job, you’ll do it, no matter the remuneration involved.

Did I understand this right?



1. vanitha nadaraj - July 17, 2008

On the subject of twittering:
During Malaysia’s last general election on March 8, the newsdesk was waiting for the reporters at the Elections Commission to give out the results. The results should have started streaming in from 8pm onwards. But the Election Commission was mum. So mainstream media could not post the results on their websites because they had to wait for the official results and not just plonk in the figures given by reporters on the ground. Malaysiakini, however, was posting results from their reporters / readers on the ground and not waiting for the commission. The reason the results were coming in late was because the opposition parties were winning big and the results were appearing to be disastrous for the ruling coalition, and the commission was hesistant to release the results just yet. It was only after midnight that most of the results came in.
So in this case, citizen journalism was working well for Malaysiakini but for mainstream the fact that it needs to comply to policies and rulings has held it back.

Btw, Leo: Passion does not put food on the table. Many of us have the passion and have given an arm and a leg for journalism but there is only so much that we can and should do for the media owners who are raking in millions of pesos/ringgit/dollars.


2. acfj - July 18, 2008

Hi Vanitha. I agree that in situations where truthful reporting is suppressed, citizen journalism or even mobile journalism fills the void.

Passion is what keeps most of us going in this profession, because there’s no other incentive (the rewards are more psychic and psychological than financial). But at some point you get to thinking that passion can only take us so far. In Leo’s case, of course, the passion comes from his being head honcho, so he has the drive, the passion, the fire (and all those metaphors). I guess he is also amply remunerated. 🙂

3. luzrimban - July 18, 2008

By the way, Vanitha, that was me in comment # 2.

4. slaksmi - July 21, 2008

Passion is the most important thing in this life, I think. But passion only does not work to fulfill the reality.

Balancing between passion and everyday reality is what makes life beautiful.

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