Gender domination in newspapers

Gender has always been a big factor in what is happening in our society. When we look at our history, it will show to us how gender greatly affects what the society thinks, believes, and follows. Men have always been in a high profile. They took over the lands, held the strongest power, and had the biggest influence. Later on, women slowly emerged in the society. It took them quite some time but eventually they showed that there is something more behind their motherly and calm figures.

Despite how big our society has changed, issues regarding gender equality are still crisp. In the media industry, people always have something to say about men and women journalists. Claims of superiority and greatness are still present. Is there still a gender bias in journalism? Is hard news only for male journalists still? Or have women broke the gender barriers and are already dominating the newsrooms and newspapers?

Comparison between male and female journalists exists even at the smallest details.  In an attempt to find out who has written more articles in newspapers and who gets assigned to hard and soft news, the front page articles written in the Philippine Daily Inquirer were examined. Among the four articles on the front page, there was only one article written by a female journalist. She may not have written the banner story for the day (Tuesday, February 16) yet, the length of her article is the same with the three. Each article written by the four was hard news. It was about politics (on elections) and of national concern (ASEAN Summit in the US). In fact, it was the female journalist who wrote the article about the ASEAN Summit held in the United States were President Benigno Aquino III attended.

What has been observed showed that both men and women journalists are now given equal opportunities to have assignments that are not based on who they are. It has been an issue on female journalists that they are always given soft news to cover just because they are women. As observed on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, there was no difference in men’s and women’s assignments. They may have covered different topics, but all their topic were under the hard news. Slowly, the gender barrier built in news media is broken down.

Journalism is changing, and so is the role of women and men in the workplace. The Tuesday issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer might have published more articles written by men but that does not conclude that women are being left behind. Some may still argue that women in the newsroom are still fewer in number than men but one should not forget that we are already in the 21st century. Things can still change and right now, women are starting to make themselves known. We can say that gender bias in newsrooms and newspapers still exists but slowly, it is debunked by the people themselves. K

Pinocchio: Unmasking the reality about journalists

The pursuit for truth in the field of journalism is challenged every time. Factors like the public, the sources, the editors or authorities and the people involved are always considered. These factors put the news at risk, sacrifice the truth and certainly, not everyone is pleased.

In the Korean drama series “Pinocchio”, it showcases a reporter with a Pinocchio syndrome. This causes her to hiccup every time she tells a lie. Choi In-Ha, the lead actress in the series, tries to defy her condition by becoming a journalist. Together with Choi Dal Po, they took an internship at a current affairs news desk and was exposed to the world of journalism. The series runs showing the reality about journalists. At the first episode of the series, when a fire accident broke down, you will already see how these journalists deliver the news. Each one of them took the news at a different angle. Eager to catch the attention of the public, Song Cha-Ok, a news reporter and the mother of In-Ha, twisted and altered the story about the fire accident. Sacrificing the truth just to get higher ratings in their show, she destroyed the life of Dal Po which later on gave him the drive to be a journalist himself.

The drama was able to portray journalists in different ways. It showed journalists as one of the most influential people in our society. They hold the power to make or break someone as they are able to manipulate and control every single story that they deliver. A journalist’s word overpowers every piece of weaponry anyone can think of. This may be an exaggeration but, it is the reality that we must face. Powerful people will not waste their money paying journalists to make them “look good” or, to get them killed if their words does not matter.

As journalists, we are bound to deliver what the society asks us to but, it is also our responsibility to bring to them the truth. In-Ha once said, “A reporter must protect the public welfare. News must serve the public’s interest.” We as journalists will always have a choice. It is our choice to deliver what is well and just to the society. Some truths have been kept as secrets for protection and to avoid mass panic but we can always be objective and still manage to present credible news about it.

As seen in the show, the reporters in the story were very keen with what is happening around them. They were persistent to get a scoop even with the smallest stories. It shows that journalists will always be there, trying to unveil our world’s best kept secrets.

The portrayals shown in the series may all be true but that does not mean they are consistent. Journalists change depending on the context they are at, and changes are always bound to happen no matter how hard we try to avoid them. K.

Senatorial bets Ople, Romulo seek to improve education in PH

SENATORIAL CANDIDATES Susan “Toots” Ople and Roman Romulo said improving the country’s education system would be one of their legislative agendas should they win in this year’s elections.

Overseas Filipino workers advocate and Nacionalista Party bet Ople said she would push for the passage of a Magna Carta for Students.

The Artlet alumna also included providing free and accessible WiFi to both private and public schools in her platform, noting this learning investment would give the youth a competitive edge.

Meanwhile, Romulo laid down the educational laws he sponsored and authored as the representative of Pasig City such as the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education Act and Open Distance Learning Act.

Ang mga ginawa po natin ay [siniguro] na meron tayong mga bagong batas na masisigurado ‘yungconstitutional mandate na access to quality education,” he said.

Both senate hopefuls said K to 12 is necessary to the improvement of the country’s education system but the Department of Education is not fully prepared for its implementation.

Romulo said the lack of equipment and facilities and displacement of teachers remain as problems. “Kung pwedeng isuspende [ang K to 12], bakit hindi?”

Ople said the program gives the high school students the wrong assumption that they will have jobs right after graduation. “Let’s not delude ourselves na ang trabahong naghihintay ay ‘yung trabahong kayang buhayin ang pamilya.”

On the recent issue of legalizing same-sex marriage, Ople and Romulo said all forms of discrimination must be removed first.

Mahirap siyang (same-sex marriage) ipasa. It would be like moving mountains but I am very much in favor [of] anti-discrimination for the LGBT community,” Ople said.

Furthermore, Romulo commented on the issue of legalizing divorce in the country, saying that marriage should be taken seriously.

Ople, however, said she wanted women to be given protection and easy access to legal help, especially those living in remote areas. “Justice is at reach for the people who can afford good lawyers. It is not just in divorce but in other court proceedings as well.”

Ople also said she is open on having a federal-type government but with “proper safeguards,” while Romulo said there should be more focus on strengthening local governments.

Titled “I AM: Senatorial Forum 2016,” the event was spearheaded by the Arts and Letters Student Council, University of the Philippines College of Arts and Letters Student Council, and De La Salle University Liberal Arts College Student Government. F KRYSTAL GAYLE R. DIGAY

*article is originally posted in abtheflame.net. Click on the link to proceed to the website*

Behind the bylines: Doland Castro’s take on journalism

“Journalist ba ako, o survivor?”

The exact words that Mr. Donald Castro, a senior reporter from ABS-CBN, wittily shares to summarize his 15 years of journey in the field of journalism.

Given the odds of the highly-competitive world of journalism, Castro believes that surviving is a must. Reporting and writing for the truth will help you fight the rotten system, rather than being a slave or worse, being a part of it.

Life at risk

“Fighter talaga ako.”

This is what he tells himself when put into life-threatening situations. He is currently handling the police or PNP (Philippine National Police) beat of ABS-CBN News.

Journalists these days are faced with risks that often test their abilities and strengths in the media industry.

“Nasubukan ko ng muntik mamatay sa trabahong ito. Nasubukan ko ng masabugan ng granada, lumubog sa landslide sa Quezon at matutukan ng baril sa stasyon ng police,” he answered when asked about the issues on threats. “Lahat ‘yan may risk eh, na kahit pala buhay mo na ang nakasalayklay, ito ka parin, balik ng balik, siguro dahil dito talaga ako,” he adds.

From a person who gets to see and sometimes experience life-threatening events almost every day, he also emphasized that fear should never be an option for journalists, knowing that what you are doing is right.

On media issues

Sensationalism is the exaggeration of events that is often done by journalists these days. It sacrifices the truth value and credibility of the news. Castro believes that it has become one of the major issues that are pressed to journalists.

He said he wanted to change this type of journalism practice for it is not necessary. He explains that it is enough that journalists are able to report to the people the facts and on what really happened, while claiming that there is no exaggeration that is further needed.

He then challenges the journalists who sensationalize the news to face the libel charges filed against them and be responsible for their actions.

“Hindi dahil alam nating binabasa ng mga tao ang mga sinusulat nating mga journalists at nakikinig sila sa atin kapag nagsasalita na tayo ay aabusuhin na natin ito,” he says.

On his solution to this problem, Castro went back to the very reason why he wanted to be a journalist, change. He says he always grabs the opportunity to interact with students to guide and help them prevent on making the same mistakes.

“Gusto kong baguhin ang ating sistema. I make it to a point na nakakausap ko kayong mga estudyante kasi ang buhay nating mga journalists ay may cycle. ‘Yong mga tao ngayon, kami, mawawala din sa industriya at kayo ang papalit.”

He urges the students to fight the system that we are locked into in order for us to stop the sensationalism that has been destroying the image of journalists.

On credibility

Being in the media for quite a long time, Castro knows credibility when he talks about it.

Credibility is the hardest thing to achieve when you become a journalist because of the pressures like deadlines, editors, publishers, advertisers and biases around. For you to find a credible journalist would be a challenge but, Castro believes that there are still credible journalists out there.

But who is a credible journalist?

“Totoo, hindi corrupt at matapang,” these are the factors that he considers when it comes to credibility.

“Ang pagiging mamamahayag ay hindi nabibili. Not for sale ang balita. Not for sale ang iyong pagkatao at iyong integridad. Hindi pwedeng isang mura lang sa’yo, o isang sigaw lang ay titiklop ka na,” he says.

For future journalists

Many tries to enter the field of journalism but, only a few succeeds. For more than a decade Castro has been filling up our news needs. As for his secret, “Hindi ko minadali ang buhay,” he shares. “Mas pinili kong matuto kasi hindi lahat ng mga journalist na napapanood or naririning sa radio at tv, at nababasa natin sa mga dyaryo, ay nagdaan sa butas ng karayom. Hindi lahat [ay] nabibigyan ng pagkakataon, pero hindi ibig sabihin na hindi niyo pwedeng subukan at susuko nalang kayo.”

Castro has always been open to students especially to future journalists and was very generous on giving pieces of advice to them.

His words to future journalists, “Huwag kayong magsawang mag-aral at huwag na huwag kayong magsawang lumaban sa buhay.”

Castro admits that competition in the media industry exists but, he reminds the future journalists not to be insecure and to always find ways to stand out from the rest.

“Kung sakaling magtagumpay ka, ‘wag kang makakalimot kung saan ka man nangaling. Bumalik ka, at huwag kang magsasawang gawin ito.”

Catalyst for change

For a person who has been in the media industry of 15 years, Castro believes on how easily the media can strongly influence the people and how fast the people reacts to the media. But even before he got in the industry, he already knew why he wanted to be part of it—change.

 “Gusto kong magkaroon ng pagbabago,” the proud Thomasian and alumna of the Faculty of Arts and Letters said.

He confidently said that he is willing to take the challenge to cover anything, may it be dangerous or not, or anything he opts to report, he will always choose to side with the truth.

He wanted to fight for the truth and what is right. His desire to change this world for the better motivated him to take the chance to be a journalist also, for him to utilize the influence of media.

Despite the challenges, being in the media for him is an opportunity to allow change to take its course.

“Minsan nakakatakot. Nakakapraning [na] minsan kasi baka mamaya may sumusunod sa sayo. Kasi alam mo yung takot na naroon ay iba, pero kapag nakita mo na okay yung sitwasyon, na maraming natututwa at, nawawala yung mga salut sa lipunan, nakakataba [na] rin ng puso,” he shares. K