A Journalist, A Blogger

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By LUCHIE ACLAN ARGUELLES

EditorLuchie5

As  early as 2009, there already existed unidentified bloggers and anonymous trolls who thereby posted abusive language and threats. The term “trolls” were already used as these bloggers were believed to be puppets or mouthpiece of certain groups.
Whether writing online or offline, one must self-regulate and take responsibility.

WRITERS seem to be confused with the hat they wear.

At one time, the Palace started the unconventional, giving Press accreditations to bloggers. Duh!? There were vehement objections from true-blue journalists who worked hard to get to the prime beat and did not just emerge from nowhere.

In case there is difficulty in recognizing terms, let me put my thoughts in the simplest terms.

In a regular newsroom, a would-be journalist goes through a needle’s eye to get a beat or coverage assignment. A cub reporter usually starts with police beat and evolves into a strike-everywhere, except for specialized and major assignments like Malacañang, Senate, House, the Supreme Court, and Business/Banking.

Where before the likes of Customs, Immigration and Airport, Environment, Agriculture, and other “Bopis” beats were minor assignments, most of these are now next to prime. Bopis refers to government offices around the Quezon Memorial Circle and East Avenue hospitals – Lung, Heart, Kidney.

 

The Newsroom

Editors are the generals of the newsroom. Along the hierarchy are deskmen and section editors who are the whip lashers, whose ink-dirtied fingers make the printed version come out.

The fad now is online or interactive publishing. The system remains the same except that the output is not printed on paper. Broadcast version of online publishing are what are referred to as their TV news channel. Online is more visual – photos and videos – than text.

Going back to the ranking, budding reporters don’t become deskmen until they are seasoned and had made a round of the minor and primary assignments. This is the convention. Of course, in times of need, the chief editor has the prerogative to reassign.

Correspondents are contributors covering less important beats and the provinces. They are recognized by the publication or stations and may accept assignments or submit enterprise stories. In due deference to reporters in charge of the particular beat, the latter gets priority placement or credit.

Columnists, on one hand, are specific to the theme appointed to them by the editor, say, political, educational, religious, and science and technology, etc. There is no hard and fast rule for veteran columnists, though.

All of the above are categorized as journalists with specific space, time-bound and constrained by the editorial policies, and by the strictures embodied in the Journalists’ Code of Ethics.

And, ah, yes. They are collectively called the Media. The Medium. The ones in between the source and readers or listeners as purveyors of truth. Yes, THE Truth, balanced and fair.

Where Do Bloggers Fit In?

With the inception of the information highway in the early 80s, an infinite space opened up for digital communications that eventually gave birth to the Internet. This time was when the term “social media” evolved in this alternative platform.

Bloggers of all shapes, sizes, color, creed, and persuasion occupied their own space in the Net, in their own time. No deadlines. No rules.

What I can say is that bloggers cannot claim to be journalists but journalists can be bloggers. Unless the former go through the newsroom hierarchy and reporting rigors, bloggers stay as writers in their own space.

If journalists have their own ethical standards to abide by, bloggers do, too.  There is no such thing as absolute freedom, Bloggy. Cyberlibel could be cruel, too, though, sometimes, not fair.

Of Ethics And Trolls

The Journalists’ Code of Ethics is like what Ten Commandments is to Christians. In the 1920s, Walter Williams (1864-1935) penned this creed in the hope of professionalizing journalism. Williams founded the world’s first school of journalism at the University of Missouri.

In 2007, Tim O’Reilly of the O’Reilly Media, Inc. came up with the idea to craft a Bloggers’ Code of Conduct to “enforce civility on their blogs by being civil themselves and moderating comments”.

As  early as 2009, there already existed unidentified bloggers and anonymous trolls who thereby posted abusive language and threats. The term “trolls” were already used as these bloggers were believed to be puppets or mouthpiece of certain groups.

Whether writing online or offline, one must self-regulate and take responsibility.

The National Press Club disseminates the code to advance professional standards while promoting free expression and mutual respect.

So there.(Luchie Arguelles)

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