Portrait of the Filipino as blogger

The latest episode of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Pinoy Pod features several top Pinoy bloggers: Manolo Quezon, Abe Olandres, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, represented by executive director Sheila Coronel, Rickey Yaneza, and Bryan Boy. The “Portrait of the Filipino as Blogger” segment is too short because Pinoy Pod squeezed in two topics for the episode: Pinoy bloggers and two Fil-Am filmmakers.

Central to the very short discussion is the political blogs v. gossip and showbiz blogs issue. As you can see in Pinoy blog rankings like Abe’s Pinoy Top Blogs, showbiz-oriented weblogs hog web traffic.

Manolo told Pinoy Pod: “I was never upset about it unlike some other people because you just have to realize that it will always be a smaller percentage of people interested in politics day in and day out.”

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Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace conference: personal notes

Last week’s conference organized by the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (Seapa) in cooperation with the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) with the support of the Berkman Center Center for Internet and Society offered me a chance to meet bloggers and journalists from all over Asia.

With Sheila Coronel
Time flew so fast for the conference–an indication that I found it very interesting–that I found myself back at the airport in what appeared to be merely a day after stepping out of it.

I met Portnoy, a blogger from Taiwan, who asked for advice in choosing which Lucky Me instant cup noodle to bring back to his girlfriend. I picked my favorites: La Paz Batchoy and Palabok. He couldn’t have found a more knowledgeable conference delegate as instant noodles and sandwiches are common blogging and writing food for me–these are efficient to eat and the simplest to prepare especially if you’�re chasing a tight deadline.

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Conference notes: podcasting, CMS, and don’t open Google Reader in the conference room

I’m learning a lot both in the sessions and off-session talks with participants of the Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace conference here at the Asian Institute of Management Conference Center.

I had a long talk with Bryan Nunez, technology manager of Witness, a website that uses video to expose human rights abuses. Bryan is a geek and an open source enthusiast. We got to talk about open source content management systems, an area that fascinates me: Mambo, Joomla, Drupal, Civic Space, Props, Cofax and even Campsite. I told him about the Xinha Here extension for Firefox and how this makes developing CMS easier because you no longer have to work on integrating a what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) editor for your system. Bryan, here’s the link to the developer of the extension. Here’s a link to my post on it.
With Bobby Timonera
Bryan and I also talked about Sun.Star Cebu’s citizen journalists project. He was interested in how Sun.Star was running the site. I also got to meet Bobby Timonera (in photo) of Mindanews, Alecks Pabico said Ma’am Carol Arguillas was scheduled to arrive later yesterday.

Conference participants were treated to a dinner in a restaurant at the Manila Bay by Sen. Juan Flavier. On the way back to the hotel, I was seated in the bus with Steven Gan, editor-in-chief of MalaysiaKini, how cool is that.

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Darn, I missed iBlog2

I was all set to attend yesterday’s iBlog2 summit. I’m here in Manila for the Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace conference organized by the Southeast Asian Press Alliance and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

I was scheduled to arrive before noon yesterday but the flight I took got delayed. I arrived at the hotel at past 1:00 p.m., went through my to-do lists items of things that needed to be done by then and the next thing I knew, it was already past 2:00 p.m. It would have been great to finally meet bloggers I only knew online. It would have been great to revisit the school where I spent some of my best adolescent years in. Meeting an “old flame” and finding out you can connect to the Internet in the hotel room I’m staying in saved my day.

The Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace is a very informative conference. You can download the presentations at the WordPress blog opened by Alecks Pabico last night. I also got to meet Dean Jorge Bocobo. Some of the Pinoy journalist bloggers attending it are Manolo Quezon, John Nery, Erwin Oliva and of course the members of PCIJ.

Listening to some of the speakers brings me back to a familiar line of thought that keeps coming back to me during Martial Law and Edsa 1 anniversaries, and like Jacopo Belbo in Foucault’s Pendulum—I keep asking myself whether Id have the courage to defy fascism.

This afternoon, Rebecca MacKinnon of Global Voices and Manolo Quezon will be speaking. Manolo is scheduled to talk on “Tag-teaming against the President: Philippine case study on how bloggers and mainstream media kept a “banned” conversation going and online.”

Note to self: schedule installing of this great WordPress plugin later tonight.

Court orders PCIJ to remove blog post

Quezon City Regional Trial Court Presiding Judge Ralph S. Lee issued a temporary restraining order against the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ). The media group was ordered to remove a blog post on the credentials and background of Jonathan Tiongco, the “audio expert” presented by Sec. Michael Defensor to question the authenticity of the Hello Garci tapes. The post, though, is still cached in Google and can still be read and downloaded. PCIJ plans to question the order in the Supreme Court. Padayon PCIJ! Read the rest of the story at the PCIJ blog.

Coming soon from PCIJ: podcasts

A few months after starting its blog, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism is set to produce podcasts. According to this INQ7.net story, the podcasts are to be delivered in a radio show model, complete with speakers, guests, background music and sound clips.

This is great news. With blogging, PCIJ broke free from its previous news cycle. As I said in an earlier post: Before starting their blog, PCIJ was largely left out of the day to day coverage of news events. Youd expect PCIJs take on a news event weeks after the story breaks and it would come in a multi-page and multi-part article that would thoroughly dissect the issue.

Institutional support for Pinoy journalists who blog

A broadcast station is reportedly due to issue corporate guidelines on blogging. Among other things, the guidelines bar its workers from blogging about work. On the other hand, another broadcast station is very supportive of the blogging efforts of its Malacaang reporter.

During last Saturday’s blogging conference organized by PCIJ, the institutional support for journalists who want to blog was a common item in media workers’ wishlist. Institutional support could come in the way of hosting the journalists’ blogs or helping them set it up.

Abe Olandres tech demo Blogging's effect on mainstream media Blogging Ethics Yvonne talks on the basics of blogging

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Exceeding my plan’s bandwidth allocation

This site was unavailable for a while because I exceeded my hosting plan’s bandwidth allocation. That’s what you face when you’re linked to by Sassy Lawyer, Manolo and the PCIJ. Now there’s a link to this site from INQ7.net and Newsstand. I’m praying for this month to end already so my bandwidth counter can return to zero. I used to say it would be nice to encounter the same problems Sassy Lawyer faces-that of exceeding bandwidth allocation. It’s not nice at all. Since last night I’ve been trying to reload my page once in a while that I’ve memorized the error message.