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.

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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.

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I’m in Cebu Journalism and Journalists 2, a glossy magazine that comes out during the Cebu Press Freedom Week celebration. The magazine’s purpose is “to put between its covers people, institutions, and activities that have helped bring Cebu journalism to what it is now: dynamic and thriving.” Cebu Journalism and Journalists

I wasn’t initially picked to be among the journalists featured in the magazine. I was, in fact, the last to be included in the volume.

A few days before the magazine was to be sent to the printer, I arrived at the office in my usual getup: jeans and shirt with scruffy hair on a face untouched by razor for a few weeks. I was surprised to be told to fix myself up, borrow a polo shirt and have my picture taken.

I was then told to write something about myself and, being the hardcore blogger that I am, I couldn’t resist including my weblog URL in the text. My late addition caused the relegation of a big-shot Cebuano broadcaster from a full-page treatment in the magazine into just half a page.

Max Limpag My half-page of fame in the Cebu Journalism and Journalists magazine. Click to enlarge.

The journalists included in the magazine were also featured in a photo exhibit in Ayala Center Cebu. I wasn’t able to visit the exhibit, which ended last night, because the past few days have been hectic for me and my family. As expected, I got ribbed for the drop in sales at the mall as my picture was scaring shoppers away.

Manuel Oyson, Jr., 71

Sun.Star Cebu columnist Manuel Oyson Jr. died Monday, months after suffering a massive heart attack. Oyson, considered the dean of Cebu sportswriters, suffered a heart attack reportedly after an emotional outburst over his legal battle with an insurance company. Oyson had been claiming insurance payments for one of his properties that had been destroyed in a fire.

Attorney Oyson had been with Sun.Star Cebu since its inaugural issue on Nov. 25, 1982. Heres part of the Sun.Star Cebu story on his death:

While some of his opinions were unpopular, he was not afraid to make them known through his columns. One of his daring forecasts was the victory of Mexicos Erik Morales over Filipino sentimental favorite Manny Pacquiao in the two boxers first encounter last year.