Maanne Ilagan Lopez
A WORK IN PROGRESS

Journalism Internship: LOG 2 “A Question of Ethics”

Maanne Ilagan Lopez

DAILY TRIBUNE

Log 2

Sept 14 to Oct 1

A Question of Ethics

As a student journalist, I have very well kept in my mind the Journalist’s Code of Ethics, but now that I have been sent to the field, my frustrations (that I have been mentioning in my Log 1) have gone more severe. Words from the persons who are supposed to be models to me had been playing repetitively in my memory, making me feel disappointed and depressed.

“Wag ka ng sasama sa’min ulit kung ayaw mo tumanggap… Lahat ditto tumatanggap.”

“Blessing yan, wag mo isiping suhol. Pakain lang yan sa atin. Tanggapin mo na.”

“Kumita ka din? (referring to P500) Sa mga ganun (P500) kami kumikita. Kaya sama ka lang pag may aattendan kami na ganun.”

“Wag ka basta-basta tatanggap ng papel (press release). Pag inabutan ka, itanong mo kaagad kung magkano.”

How I heard these words, I can very well remember, clear and detailed. I have my three stories ready to be written when a reporter invited me to join them in covering a press conference. I hesitated but he insisted. At the press con I was immediately confused why an attendance sheet for press people are being passed around. It’s not more of a press con for me, it’s like a friendly meeting. The media practitioners were laughing and joking with the news source. That’s the first press conference I’ve attended, far from what I imagined – media interviewing the source seriously.

I’m smelling something fishy, and as I stayed longer with my colleagues, the stink had gotten worse. I wondered why the journalists are being called by publication inside the office. As I got my turn, I prepared myself to brace my observation and was alarmed as I saw the envelopes, with the journalists’ names written and a 1000 peso bill inside. A red alert immediately alarmed inside of me saying: Danger! Danger! Credibility at stake! Leave at once! The first thing I thought as an escape was to pretend that I have to answer a phone call so I had to leave the room. And so there I was, acting as if I was talking to my mom. I kept on talking until all the other journalists are ready to leave. Just when I thought that I was saved, one of the reporters handed me P500. I refused, but he insisted. I was really disappointed and depressed. The media had been digging through the corruption of the politicians, the police, of other people… It’s as if they are so clean. But in reality, they are also blinded with money. Grrr… I’m really mad!!! I want to scream!!! All of the media persons were bribed and sadly, one even belongs to a well respected national broadsheet. I don’t like to name the publications. I’m trying to convince myself that not all of them are “dirty.” I don’t want to lose my respect to journalists in general. Haayy…. I may be biased, but I’m thankful that I have not seen any reporter from the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Did the reporters from the radio stations and TV networks receive money— that I don’t know.

After I submitted my story, I went to the Daily Tribune office to report the matter. I will donate the money and send the letter of appreciation. I also told my internship instructor about it. And by the end of the day, somehow I feel relieved. My frustration subsided when I heard him say that he’s proud of us. No money or any form of bribery can go beyond the feeling of hearing someone you look up to being proud of you for doing the right thing.

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