A reminder for journalists

Police Director Roberto Rosales confronts reporter Arlyn dela Cruz during a press conference in Camp Crame. Photo credit: J.R.Labanero

Pepe Diokno clearly made a point with his statement posted in tumblr. And it goes:

Calling out PDI: shame on you

Dear journalists, when doing a story on the “existence of a report,” verification doesn’t mean checking if the report exists, it means checking if the report is truthful. ‘Cause if the report is false, why run it? And if it’s true, wouldn’t you want to support your sources with hard evidence that corroborates them?

See, what you’ve done, publishing this story, is say, “Hey everyone, the boy cried wolf!” without checking if there really is a wolf. Of course, for eighteenth-century village folk, that would be understandable — they would’ve had to run up hills to see the wolf. But you’re the Inquirer and last I checked, it’s 2011.

Now, your contributor Arlyn de la Cruz says: “I’m not saying that the allegations against (Police Director Roberto Rosales) are true. It’s a different thing. What I’m saying is that there’s a report that exists.”

So to paraphrase, de la Cruz is saying, “The subject of my report was that the boy cried; not that there was a wolf.” Meanwhile, the villagers have evacuated their houses for nothing.

The thing is, PDI ran this story on their front page on a Sunday. Makes you wonder what their editorial process is; I mean, what do they consider news? If I told them that my sister had smelly feet, would they take my word for it and consider me an inside source?

Real journalists would insist on smelling my sister’s feet first.

So look, PDI, we’re not eighteenth-century village folk here. Until, of course, this brand of journalism brings us back to those times.

Being a journalism graduate, I believe that every journalist has a huge responsibility of reporting authentic news. And we’re not just talking about the existence of the source but also its credibility. The thing that de la Cruz did and more with the PDI’s publishing the story without proper verification didn’t just misled the people but also marred the image they have built for years.


Wacky ultrasound baby. A repost

While we’re at it, here’s the man‘s column about the junior on our way:

Wacky ultrasound baby, (SUN.STAR CEBU, FEB. 1, 2011)

Last weekend, I and the wife had an amazing encounter with modern prenatal technology – the 3D Ultrasound. Yeah, I know, 3D ultrasound is ancient technology. It is 30 years old.  For all I care, it could have been invented by obstetrician-gynecologist dinosaurs to determine the sex of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. But when it’s your baby right there being scheduled for the first photo op of his entire amniotic life ever, all technology in the world becomes modern and high tech, and beautiful.

So we decided to have this 3D thing for the same reason as those of other expectant parents: to determine if we’re not expecting a dinosaur. No, just kidding. But yeah, we wanted to take advantage of this technology that would tell us if there was nothing wrong with the baby inside. We would count the fingers and the toes and examine the nose, etc. Oh, it’s grandpa’s nose. No, it’s lola’s nose. Stuff like that. And on a deeply personal note, I wanted to know if the baby was not sucking at a bottle of beer instead of his thumb.