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The survival of the specie: Dana’s take July 23, 2008

Posted by acfj in journalism.

We’re posting on our front page another reflection on the whole issue of the future of journalism. This is from Dana Batnag, originally in reaction to Zaky Yamani’s concerns.

It all started with the talk Leo Magno gave at the 3rd Forum of Emerging Leaders in Asian Journalism, and his rejoinder to some comments. Incidentally, Leo has replied to Zaky as well as to Vanitha Nadaraj.

Below is Dana’s take:

Here’s my two cents’ worth:

First, i would be happy if journalism becomes a hobby, because that means everyone finally has a voice. Not only that, it also means that people are finding the strength and the will to engage with others and to voice their opinions, which should strengthen popular democracy.

Second, we’re professionals. We’re trained and we have skills. I really don’t know what my boss thinks of me (and there are days when I’d rather not know), but I would like to think that I’m not totally worthless to the company. Some of us — especially the senior ones — might be overpaid, but our skills are still worth something in the marketplace, and I think we will always find a job – although it may not pay as much as we want. Also, one of the speakers showed the difference between a story written by a trained journalist (although new to multimedia reporting) and another done by a hobbyist, and of course the reporter did a better job of it.

Third, this is the reason why we have to keep on training and studying — because the marketplace is changing, and there are always younger people out there who are better trained and who are willing to work harder. That is a reality not only for reporters, but for everyone, regardless of the profession involved.

Fourth, while multimedia is much more demanding — I really can’t hold a videocam and take notes at the same time — it allows our readers to see for themselves what really happened. It takes out the gatekeeping function of the reporter because the videocam gives readers and viewers the raw data. I think this is good because it allows people to check if reporters have been biased or even wrong in their reporting. In the end, I think people will still choose a good, well-written story instead of the 2-minute video clip (unless it’s a demonstration of something, like a computer).

I’m not sure about this — everyone, please correct me here — but I think one attraction of multimedia to viewers is that it lets readers and viewers see and think for themselves. It presents different sides of the story, in a way that the written news has not been doing lately.



1. Erwin Oliva - July 23, 2008

Dana, you can use the videcam/digital cam as a “recorder” 😉 or take notes first then if you hear something interesting, ask the person to say it on-cam, just like what broadcast journalists do. my two cents’ worth.

2. danabatnag - July 23, 2008

because erwin, it won’t be spontaneous then. i’m still a print reporter at heart…i want to watch as things happen, not make them happen. i know there’s nothing wrong with telling people to repeat themselves on cam, i just don’t like it. eventually i’ll adjust, i know. 🙂

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