The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog near the bank of the river. That is one favorite line I used to practice on with mechanical typewriters when I was young. Alas, to be honest, I have never learned to type well until now. Modern day typing with PC and keyboard is easier, especially when correcting mistakes, but this is not my point. I am more interested about the quick brown fox.
The Philippines is in the list of countries with high incidence of journalists being killed, intentional or intent killings of them, I mean. In the roots of it, maybe the system is not really perfect in protecting the rights of citizens against possible abuses by those in the guise of journalism. Or, to put it from a different angle, maybe the system lacks ample protection for those in journalism. Journalism is always opposed at any move to regulate it, which in its view is infringement on freedom of expression. This is, of course, in the assumption that journalists know what they do, they know very well where they stand, and they are disciplined capable of self regulation.
In reality, I guess they are not always the case. In places where people appears helpless and hopeless, I guess it is cute of journalists to be crusading for one cause or another. But what is lovable at a time, exercising tremendous power, might also be a monster another time. There is no guarantee that power cannot be abused, like everywhere else.
Some of those who see themselves as journalists are hardly distinguishable from PR persons, propagandists, anything other than being reporters. Maybe that is what they call hanapbuhay – political, economic, personal, cause-oriented, whatever. Added to them are also a lot of print and broadcast programs, hard hitting ones, out there dedicated and focused at fighting say graft and corruption in government, if we can call them journalism. As we know, even to imply that an act of corruption has been or not committed, whether or not a politician is corrupt, are usually perceptions and opinions. They are usually at the level of allegations that are matters for the court to conclude. Playing persecutor, or the other way around, is not one role of media.
Surely, media cannot be a place for adventurism by anybody in there. We may call some of them as witchcraft, or manipulation of facts, harboring in media. Whatever, they are no reasons to justify for the killings. Such acts can never be justified especially in a democracy, to cap the matter. Politics has always been a hot field for journalists.
What Is Journalism And When Is It Political Activism?
Pure journalism, my understanding of it, is simply simple presentation of facts or truths, or factual reporting, if that is not hazardous enough kind of work. Because, as we know, there will always be persons amongst us who cannot accept truths or do not want truths to be out. I guess that always is the least challenge for those working in the side of, or for the cause of Truth.
reporting news for the media: the profession of gathering, editing, and publishing news reports and related articles for newspapers, magazines, television, or radio
news-reporting as a genre: writing or reporting for the media as a literary genre or style
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Journalists are human beings. They are also very much affected by, say politics and governance, good or bad, like every citizen else. However, good or bad in there is not fact but matter of opinion and personal belief. Let us take government dole-outs for the poor, for example. There can be fact or factual reporting in that. However, for journalism to even denote or to suggest that government, therefore, is good or bad based on the fact is an over-shoot of the fact. Good in there is an opinion, a belief. It is an opinion of its proponents who believe that the act is good. Others might see the same fact as useless, wasteful spending that does more harm than good thus, in their differing opinion or belief, is bad. In politics there is really neither right nor wrong. Like righteous and evil they are opinions. In politics there is only majority rule after which come considered right and considered wrong. Some find their way into institutions or laws that, then again, is matter of law and not of journalism.
Opinion is different from fact. Fact has no room for dispute and what has no room for dispute must be fact. Opinion is but personal view, interpretation, or understanding, of fact or facts. Any opinion is considered partial and may be bias. To opine is to stand for a cause. To intently drive for an opinion may be activism. A propaganda movement. In highly difficult situations like we have in the country, I guess it is hard for journalists to detach opinions from facts or factual reporting. We have seen political activism and pure journalism more oftentimes overlap. There is heightened risk for those in there because of that. I suppose that explains for the high incidence of journalists being killed, intentionally hit, I mean, in our part of the world.
Pure journalism must be apolitical, selfless, classless. It is not business of journalism to pull down or prop up any politician, anybody. If bringing out truths has any of those effects, so be it. However, they are incidental. Since good and bad are matters of opinion, I might sound crazy, but I think journalists should not wear that permanent smile or permanent wry faces while in TV. I think they look better with poker faces, showing neither good nor bad of the news they bring. Good and bad must be something out from the audiences, and never any intention of journalism.
I have high regards and likes for journalism, really. In the other hand, I think I have a few things in common with George W F Hegel why he interested me – we both somehow dislike journalism for ourselves. You see I am opinionated. If you look in all the paragraphs here, you will see full of them. This whole site is a mix of facts and opinions.
Anyway, I remember organizational life when I was young. Reporting is one of the things that I did. Reports I brought to meetings were considered drafts, or taken for tentative. The body always discussed reports before they were accepted. They went for me like these: The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog near the bank of the river. Somebody doubted if it was a fox and a dog but surely, they were. How quick was the fox then?… Uh, it was not as fast as a cheetah so, for others it was not quick enough… How did I know that it was brown and not a soiled red fox?.. And how did I know that the dog was lazy and not just tired and sleepy?.. And, uh uh, OK, everything took place some distance from the river that for others is not near enough.
Ok, Peers, here it is finally The fox jumped over the dog about thirty meters away from the bank of the river if anybody has got more doubts!
Sure, opinions are always required, like when collective has to make decision based on factual reports, but they are clearly separated and different from reports.
Political activism in the guise of journalism? I am sure people do appreciate that especially when things go their way. However, is not that added danger for those in it? I think journalists are better off dishing out facts and truths, leaving opinions, what are good and what are bad, to the public, to the political activists and to the politicians. Majority will always go with truths and facts. I think we can trust humankind on that.
Meantime, as for the quick, brown, lazy, near, good, bad, right, wrong, well, maybe we can bring them all in here but not in journalism. True media is one holy ground to probably be soiled. And the world has a long long way to go, far from perfection, folks!