Is Sony Ericsson trying to buy off Cebu journalists?

What if politicians announce, during their press conferences, that they will be holding a “writing” contest and the journalist who publishes the “best article” about the press conference gets to win P5,000 in cash.

What do you call that? If you were a journalist or a blogger, what would you feel?

That, in effect, is what Sony Ericsson is doing in its media campaign to launch its new phones in Cebu.

It was a good thing I decided not to join the press junket organized to launch the latest Sony Ericsson models in Cebu. It was a curious event–curious in the sense that they decided to hold it in Sumilon Island, a slice of paradise in southern Cebu that’s hours away from the city. The launching was scheduled for the entire day last Saturday.

I asked a colleague why organizers decided to launch the phone models in such a remote area where the telecoms signal might even be spotty. I told him that if I were to launch a phone, I’d gather reporters and bloggers covering the telco and consumer electronics beat in a room, have them play with the units and have trained staff on standby to answer questions they may have about the new phone models.

He said it was just an excuse to take the journalists into a junket.

I rarely join press conferences and the prospect of spending my dayoff attending a press junket scheduled for at least 12 hours didn’t appeal to me. I’d rather be spending time with my wife and kids, blogging, or working on my web experiments.

I declined the invitation and asked a UP Cebu mass communications intern to attend. Now if Karla Bautista, who is scheduled for an internship in Sun.Star Cebu (including in my section), had started her duties with my section, I would have sent her and I would have readily exchanged hours playing with Drupal to join the junket. Just kidding, I’d take Drupal anytime.

Do you have a complaint against a Cebu newspaper? File it online

And here’s the link to the complaint form.

Our editor-in-chief, one of the driving forces behind the Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC), asked me to build the council’s website in time for the Cebu Press Freedom Week celebration in September.

CCPC website CCPC WEBSITE, as featured in a recent issue of Philippine Journalism Reports. Click on image to enlarge.

The requirements for the site were simple: the ability to post articles and reports and an easy facility to get feedback–features easily managed by my favorite open source blogging platform, WordPress.

I briefly considered using another content management system (CMS) with more advance portal features, some form of document tracking or online file repository but the person tasked with updating the site said these aren’t needed. Complaints, she said, will be handled offline.

Johnny-come-lately

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Manuel Oyson, Jr., 71

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