Monday, July 27, 2009

Shutting Down Investigative Journalism Units

Article Feedback

For Article: NPR president: The biggest crisis in journalism is happening at the local level

Posted by Jane Abao 7/28/2009 12:02:52 AM

I would say shutting down the unit is okay if announced – for cost cutting measures perhaps. But to go ahead and pretend you have one is bullshit. Why have the nerve to shout to the world you are House of Truth if you even glamorize a professional liar, using him as a resource person?

My apologies to NPR for not having their case in mind as I comment here. My mind is on a giant broadcasting network called GMA7 in the Philippines that had just shown a program called Case Unclosed. The news tagline of this network says “Not siding with anyone; not protecting anyone; just genuine service.” And then it brands itself as House of Truth.

Through Arnold Clavio, host of the program, GMA7 risked the reputation of a crusading international preacher fearless for exposing false practices. Incidentally, the preacher’s camp has proofs that the network is under the influence of the Iglesia ni Cristo, a church group mighty in strength for their bloc-voting practices. In effect, the country’s system including that of justice is compromised.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

News again in the name of profit?

Article Feedback
NPR ombud defends airing girl's screams in report from Pakistan

Posted by Jane Abao 4/27/2009 12:27:42 AM

The use of screams in news per se do not make the news sensational. It is how they were presented in the whole make-up of the news. Were they repeated? Prolonged? Too loud? How do they come in relation to the other parts of the news? Much emphasized? Was the flogger saying anything while the girl was screaming? Not audible? Is there scanty background provided for the audience to understand the reason for flogging?

If the answer is yes for most of these questions, chances are the effects were calculated to be theatrical to court the attention of the public. It can be said to be self-serving and yes, sensational.

News again in the name of profit?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Liecaster steals name of Truthcaster, posts a slander and gets a shut-up

A man who stole the name of Preacher Eliseo Soriano goes online in to humiliate the owner of that name but gets a warning for closure for possible slander.

Identified as Conrad J. Obligacion in, this guy sporting the name, "Truthcaster" ironically has Eliseo Soriano as his object of destruction. Evangelist Soriano has been for years sporting the name, “Truthcaster” in his Bible Expositions online. From his many years of broadcasting truth, he is known as Truthcaster in many quarters.

The unidentified reporter with clear connections with the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) posted a story on January 21, 2009 titled “Behind Phillip Garcia’s libelous ramblings” in Garcia earlier wrote in another news site, in an article titled, “Behind the Iglesia ni Cristo’s King Maker Role: A Chain of Crimes and Mythical Numbers”.

The INC is publicly known for filing case after case against the preacher, using for witnesses people that Soriano had excommunicated from the Ang Dating Daan (ADD) group. The latest was that they had Soriano on the Interpol’s wanted list for “Sex Crimes.” Soriano had earlier excommunicated a gay from his congregation who was found out from investigations that he had raped some 14 of his subordinates. In retaliation, Daniel Veridiano, alias “Puto” filed a rape case against the preacher. This was when he had to leave Soriano’s group where he could no longer be accepted for flagrant disobedience to church doctrines.

The rape case filed by Puto against the preacher was dismissed by the regional court of Pampanga but for unknown reasons, it had been re-filed by Raul Gonzalez, the Secretary of Justice, himself who had no connections with the case. The INC is very influential with the Philippine government arising from its bloc voting practice. As a result, the INC endorsement is heavily sought for by politicians, local and national.

Soriano is widely known for exposing false prophets. When he has to discuss biblical truth, he is inevitably led to discuss the false teachings of so-called churches. One of those he had been criticizing wildly is the Iglesia ni Cristo who claims Christ is a human being aside from other claims, and collects tithes after tithes. As a result, many INC members have left their fold.

The reporter said, “After reading the piece I begin to understand that this Phillip Garcia does not have any idea whatsoever what libel is.” Garcia, however, was able to present as many sources as he could.

The unidentified INC supporter had posted Soriano’s picture and had captioned it “Interpol Wanted Poster” although it was Garcia he was supposed to deal with. He also posted Phillip Garcia’s picture.’s moderator, Amyjudd, however flagged the story and had required the unidentified reporter to improve his story. She said, "the site does not allow posts that slander someone personally" and that "we feel that the post indeed does just that." “Whatever your purpose is with this post, this may not be the way to go about it,” the moderator said.

On February 4, 2009, the moderator closed the thread saying that the poster failed to come up to expectations: “I am closing this comment thread due to the author’s lack of action to deal with the wrench on [his] post.”

Relative to this kind of work, in 2008, Rizalino L. Arrabis, another member of the Iglesia ni Cristo had been posting a hundred-and-one personal attacks against Soriano. They had been deleted, however, by Rob Walker, another moderator in who had issued him a warning. Walker noticed Arrabis' penchant for starting his comments by twisting everyone's name, and then would follow up with some verbal venom.

Arrabis had been posting his attacks in relation to two posts looking for EraƱo Manalo who was not responding to Soriano's challenge to a debate to defend his teachings. The story can be found in INC shouts: "Where is Sir Erano Manalo? and INC still shouts: "Where is Sir Erano Manalo?. Both of these can be found in

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cloud Journalism: Technology-wise yes, but Precarious

Posted by Jane Abao 1/15/2009 7:40:26 PM

In response to "Cloud Journalism and the Fate of Beats"

I have doubts about this cloud journalism thing. While beats allow the reporter to immerse himself in his surroundings and get first-hand information, this cloud thing would have to depend on server credibility. While beat reporting would encourage enriching the news according to the context found by the reporter, CJ depends a lot on those handed down by servers. Lisa Williams’ Global Post, as discussed by Amy Gahran appears more to highlight these discrepancies.

It is technology helping us at the same time giving us liabilities. When misused, this kind of service can give our subject (of all that our readership can constitute) a lot of headaches.

Referring to Amazon's EC2 service, Williams is said for example to describe it as cloud computing, and are opaque. I agree.

Why? “Because you don't care what's in them, just that you get reliable utility from servers and storage that are in the cloud.” That's a quote from Williams.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Post Public Comments? Yes!

For Article: Journos: Do You Post Public Comments? Why/Why Not?
Posted by Jane Abao 6/3/2008 9:12:05 PM

I engage in public conversation online regularly mostly on concerns in the field of communication. I feel that when I read something or come to know of something that needs to be corrected, or interacted with, I do not refuse to comment. It is an obligation I set upon myself as someone educated in journalism and communication. I believe that every communicator must be responsible and that includes holding onto any form of business that deals with public communication.

I am very transparent in the fact that I use my legal name as much as possible. It is part of building credibility. I even use my own pictures. I am not afraid of enemies or people who oppose my beliefs. It is the same philosophy I teach my students.

Because of my transparency, it has somehow affected my journalism. People incognito with usernames attack me about anything if they oppose my ideas and beliefs. How do I get to fight with Working Girl, for example? What is her legal name and who is she? And yet she deigns to teach me how I should be operating on a news site as editor. She preferred that I post positives about the country for tourists to read, while I preferred posting about the corruption going on. But what does she know about journalism?

How about THE TRUTH and Meeker? These are just usernames that can change from time to time. We can never know anything about them, their credibility in what they say, and yet they can attack you, accuse you of anything. With what they say, the crawler can pick them up and place them on the web. Pronto! That’s a reality added to your metadata. Then when somebody Googles you up and read those parts, don’t expect that people’s beliefs about you have not changed a bit.

There is a way to fight this, however. Holding on to truth and taking care of your credibility over the years can work for you during times that you need them most. Then you can afford to ignore the trolls that come your way and trouble you.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

More lessons for blogsite managers

For Article: Getting Commenters to Play Nice
Posted by Jane Abao 5/8/2008 9:11:54 PM

Amy, thanks for the tips.

There's a blogsite that features news pages for 89 countries. I represent my country as editor. It was exciting in the beginning, feeling you can do something to better your country by selective posting of news and then readers comment.

Unfortunately, as time went by, the lack of moderation showed its negative character. There were more anonymous commenters who could interpolate their names at any time. Trolls abound who squat on the topics so that they are never discussed. Instead, the editor who posts the stories for the day for comments is accused of being off-topic. Meanwhile, the commenters make their day by socializing, exchanging rumors, and planning picnics. It was really exasperating.

The blogsite is relatively new [about 3 years] and has the potential of helping communities but I just guess the problem lies on management. The moderators, that is. There are not enough features for the news page editors to control the comments.

Discouraging no, critiquing si

For Article: Journalism: A Toxic Culture? (Or: Why Aren't We Having More Fun?)
Posted by Jane Abao 5/7/2008 8:25:15 PM

That's true. Journalists are supposed to be fundamentally curious and profoundly interested in what's happening around them.

You're right. It's time to stop discouraging each other.

This doesn't mean we stop trying to critique each one's work and stop debating with each other's viewpoints. It is part of our growth as journalists.

There is a world of difference between critiquing and discouraging. The second one refers more to how the one criticized reacts.

Beyond mere spoofing

For Article: Spoof London Marathon Photos Slip Past Sky News
Posted by Jane Abao 4/21/2008 8:46:51 PM

I don't know if time constraints is a good reason not to react to these spoofs people. They are fools anyway and any countering you do will motivate them to work for more.

What we do in my organization is to produce more positives and counter their negatives with them. I am not just talking about still shots but those morphed for videos in YouTube. It is not a one-time affair but a resolute attempt to destroy, so it goes beyond mere spoofing. I hope we can talk about this next time.

World of Difference

For Article: Why are Web and Print STILL So Separate?
Posted by Jane Abao 3/26/2008 11:49:40 PM

True, there is a world of difference between web and print especially as regards decisions. Web publications are fast, changing and not permanent unlike the other. When you have to submit articles for approval in the first, I guess you may only submit the URL, not the hard copy. In web, you may have to edit your posting anytime, reinforce your arguments here and there later as you deem fit, and add or delete what you may have overlooked.

Requiring a writer to submit hard copy for online posting means chopping off guarded opportunities for the writer to edit his copy at a later time. It also implies that once something is submitted to somebody who has to do some approval, the responsibility for the post falls now on that person approving, which is never true for as long as the writer has the byline.

It is a reality that those in management who check writers' work do not fully know the intricacies involved in web work as different from print work. Have you ever been involved in so-called web war? You'll know what I mean from experience.

I go for Google!

For Article: World's Publishers v. Google: The Fight Continues
Posted by Jane Abao 3/17/2008 9:17:30 PM

Advertising is not the only path to validate content. There is indeed a business model that says "I rather pay for something than have to endure a 30 second TV Commercial before I get it".

I agree.

Norbert Specker has explained it so fully.

Not my expectation of responsible journalists

For Article: Angry Journalists Can Be a Good Thing
Posted by Jane Abao 3/13/2008 9:33:13 PM

I looked into to find out what it is about. I was not impressed.

There is no sense of responsibility encouraged by the anonymity of those posting the reasons for their anger. I would prefer reading those with real names of people standing by their ideas and opinions, and wanting to defend them unless proven wrong.

It was not what I had expected of responsible journalists.

Monday, January 14, 2008


For Article: What Makes Reporting and Blogging Successful?
Posted by Jane Abao 1/14/2008 8:59:23 PM

Journalists take deadlines seriously. Yes, that should be. And yes, they generally report better – than bloggers. That is the way journalists had been trained. However, beating deadlines has nothing much to do with “bad reporting.” Looking at some writing as “bad reporting” so that the editor makes some material changes would not augur well for truth. Correct judgement is called for. I had a bad experience regarding some editing made on my story that ended as the opposite of what I had intended.

In a feature story where I wrote about a beggar child south of my country, I had intended to let the public know about government neglect on street children. My character was one that slept on cement floors in some streets during the day and roamed around the city to steal food and enjoy his world at night. The police caught up with him and had him placed at a boy’s town. He had escaped back to his world of his own when a matron brought him home for some Christmas vacation. Now, it was government neglect I had wanted to showcase but the editor twisted the story and rendered an ignorant child rejecting the confines of government with donations from benevolent spirits - not to exclude those from other countries. Yes, the child got fed up of life where he was just a specimen. Had he enjoyed those camera shots of visitors? You bet, he did. But he had wanted freedom. This beggar child was Every-beggar-child on the streets.

It’s time we ask the journalists what they think about “bad editing.”


For Article: Obama Wins in U.K. Headlines
Posted by Jane Abao 1/10/2008 8:04:39 PM

Yes, credibility is that important for any news system. But what obtains is that as though being first in the race to report is all there is to it. I had the experience of trying to buy a broad sheet one morning on my way to the city. I saw some of them displayed at one corner, and when I glanced at the headlines, they appeared engaged in a debate of sorts.

It is not only in names that newspapers struggle to get ahead and report, and then fail to make the mark when after a few hours, the day exposes them as guessing. It is also in numbers, but with this kind, they seem not to care enough. Why? Because the customer of the day might think the one with the greatest number may have covered the latest of the event.

There was a case of a tsunami that occurred south of my country not many years ago. One broadsheet stood out from among the rest for reporting the greatest number of fatalities. It was not my favorite paper, but thinking that it may have the latest accounts and the most details, I bought the paper. Tsunami and its effects stretches for weeks, even months, and so with its news coverage. Later on, I found out that this paper has the habit of bloating figures whenever there are events of this kind.

You bet, customers will find out about the truth later on – about the profit angle – after comparing news from other sources and after a time of dealing with these news systems.

Journalists' Pledge of Commitment

For Article: Denmark: Time for a Journalistic Oath?
Posted by Jane Abao 1/9/2008 8:13:39 PM

I have produced a Pledge of Commitment for my group of writers who profess to be Christians. I got a line from somewhere about pledging oneself to serve God first, last, and best in everything one is called upon to be or do. Then I selected some lines from Dan Gillmor's “Citizen Journalist Pledge.”

Yes, I picked the one on accuracy as in “I report and produce news explaining the facts as fairly, thoroughly, accurately and openly as I can.”

I noticed the way Dan Gillmor couched connections and I think this is crucial. Connections should also be hashed out.

In the Pledge, it says, “I may also provide reviews (such as a critique of a movie or book) and commentary with a point of view based on facts, but I will have no significant financial or otherwise direct connection (membership, affiliation, close relationship, etc.) with an interested party. If I do have such connections, I'll disclose them prominently, and my work may be labeled and/or categorized appropriately.”

Sixth “W” Smart but of a Different Level

For Article: The New "Sixth W"
Posted by Jane Abao 12/26/2007 8:59:55 PM

Yes, that’s smart! “What’s next” as the sixth “W” of Rich Boehne, that is. Too often, we deal with just reproductions of events. Highlighting on what’s next gives the reader a view on future plans and perspectives. It gives reporters outside of the organization an idea on what to watch out for. Once the “What’s next” is given, it behooves the subject of news to realize the “What’s next” as announced and as expected by the audience or readership. The problem with this is that the “What’s next” is of a different level. It has not yet happened and subject to time and its vagaries – and the audience may mistake it for fact.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Name the Source

For Article: Should File Photos be Identified?
Posted by Jane Abao 12/21/2007 6:31:15 PM

The audience has all the right to know the source of whatever information is being given it, whether in print, in television or whatever medium. The importance of identifying the source is that it is tied to the credibility of the news being presented. Without the source being named, the information stands as mere gossip.

Miss Embargo

For Article: China's Netizens Want More Government Control
Posted by Jane Abao 12/19/2007 8:01:56 PM

China's middle name is actually "Control" or "Embargo." How about a research telling us in what way this practice of controlling publications has helped their people? I would also want to know what kind of journalists they are breeding in there since they cannot write freely.

Your added info

For Article: Matthew Murray and The Dark Side of Support Forums
Posted by Jane Abao 12/12/2007 8:44:57 PM

Amy, thanks a lot for all these information. I would not have understood better that news written in Denver Post had you not given these info on Murray's postings. They provide a rich background into appreciating the shooting story. I was thinking it was more of having no room at the inn.

AP doing that?

For Article: Controlling Crawlers on News Sites
Posted by Jane Abao 12/5/2007 8:42:42 PM

Time was when AP was synonymous to objectivity. I likes it's role when it comes to newswriting. I hope times haven't changed its mindset.

Time Check

For Article: How & When to Credit Bloggers?
Posted by Jane Abao 12/5/2007 8:32:02 PM

Consider the time the story was first posted. So the phrase, "First posted in xx by xx" may be used. The overriding consideration, however, should be the reporter's sense of ethics in properly giving credit to whom credit is due.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Gatekeeping considers more the what and why

For Article: OJR: Decline of the Gatekeepers
Posted by Jane Abao 11/28/2007 7:42:38 PM is But as long as it purports to teach newswriting out of jokes and imagination, any gatekeeper of legitimate communication should sit up and take notice. That it should teach newswriting out of its kind of news is not in proper order. In fact, it has come to a point that some think there is such a thing as satiric news.

Gatekeeping doesn't consider much the WHO, more than the WHAT and WHY

AP doing that?

For Article: Controlling Crawlers on News Sites
Posted by Jane Abao 12/5/2007 8:42:42 PM

Time was when AP was synonymous to objectivity. I likes it's role when it comes to newswriting. I hope times haven't changed its mindset.

Time Check

For Article: How & When to Credit Bloggers?
Posted by Jane Abao 12/5/2007 8:32:02 PM

Consider the time the story was first posted. So the phrase, "First posted in xx by xx" may be used. The overriding consideration, however, should be the reporter's sense of ethics in properly giving credit to whom credit is due.

Be original, please!

For Article: Five W's + H That Should Come AFTER Any Story
Posted by Jane Abao 11/20/2007 10:37:46 PM

I rather think that using the 5W’s and H in the way you did, robs the learner’s attention away from the 5W’s and H in presenting leads of the story. Over the years, journalism students have been honed to take care of their leads this way.

Can’t you be original?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Military blogging has found its time

For Article: Milbloggers to Journos: Can You Hear Us Now?
Posted by Jane Abao 11/9/2007 6:37:33 PM

This is exciting! So, will there be no categories such as classified information, secret, confidential, for your eyes only, and such terms? No holds barred?