• Churnalism, bad reporting pull scandal out of comment thread
    The accusation published by Manila Bulletin that singer Moira dela Torre was paid P5 million to perform at a Leni-Kiko campaign rally is an example of what journalist Nick Davies described in his book Flat Earth News as “churnalism.” It is described in the book Breaking News by Alan Rusbridger as “reporters with too little…
  • How not to write a news story: Manila Bulletin and “online marites” as source
    A recent story by Manila Bulletin illustrates the inanities of traffic whoring by the rewriting-social-media-posts beat. The story amplified a serious accusation – that the artist Moira dela Torre was paid a “whooping” (the amount does trigger a fit of coughing) P5 million for her performance in the Robredo-Pangilinan campaign in Zamboanga City. But throughout…
  • Google searches “accurate predictors” of presidential election results, researchers say
    Google Trends predicted the winners of the past two presidential elections in the Philippines. Except for former President Donald Trump’s loss in 2020, Google Trends predicted the winners of the previous four presidential elections in the United States and the past six in Canada since the company’s search data were made available in 2004.
  • Armchair journalism
    Miffed at being criticized over a news coverage, a reporter once juxtaposed his “real journalism” of being out on the field with “armchair journalism.” The attempted put-down betrays a dated outlook on journalism, one that’s stuck in a different era. It is the journalism romanticized by the 1976 film All The President’s Men. For the…
  • Dimitris
    Dimitris got locked inside our AirBnB unit when he visited the Philippines in March 2019. He called up his son back in Lamia, Greece, who then messaged us for help. It was his son who booked the stay, that’s why he did not have direct contact with us. You could just imagine the hassle –…
  • Mayor Ahong Chan shares questionable survey results that show his group leads in Lapu-Lapu election
    Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Ahong Chan shared on his Facebook page today results of a survey reportedly by a group called Pulse Phil Survey that shows not only that he leads bitter rival Rep. Paz Radaza (74% to 20%) but that his council slate would sweep the elections 12-0.
  • Why is Harry Roque dancing? Analysts explain in recent PPI forum
    People see themselves as fans of political candidates, that’s why campaigning in the Philippines is what it is right now, said author and political strategist Earl Parreño. Parreño, author of the President Rodrigo Duterte biography “Beyond Will and Power,” spoke at the Philippine Press Institute’s online roundtable “Air Wars: Soc Med and the 2022 campaign.”…
  • Improvisation
    The Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States reminded me of this great podcast episode on improvisation in public speaking. King was a fantastic orator who was meticulous in preparing speeches and sermons. “King lavished enormous efforts on his sermons. He would begin drafting on a Tuesday and continued to research and draft…
  • My rally crowd is bigger than your rally crowd. How to easily guesstimate crowd size
    Determining crowd size has always been a challenge when reporting an event such as a protest or campaign rally. Opposing sides either inflate or downplay the number to serve their interest. The common practice and easiest way is to ask organizers and the police officer in charge of crowd control or monitoring. But how do…
  • Breaking news and pansit
    I have a Pavlovian hankering for pansit whenever news breaks. It is the result of conditioning in the years that I worked in the Sun.Star Cebu Central Newsroom. Whenever a story broke late at night and we knew we had to stay late to prepare the next day’s issue, our editor PA Seares would ask…
  • Nganong inyong gibuhian? Naay taga Barrio Luz ato!!!
    (In a meeting at the height of lockdowns last year, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia summed up the high-strung atmosphere when she shared what she observed while going all over the province. She described how people were taking it upon themselves to set up checkpoints and “were not very courteous.” “You will be treated like a…