Religion beat

The global kerfuffle over a statement by Pope Francis on civil union for gay couples shows the need for a religion beat reporter to offer important context on history, church precepts and processes, and a local point of view. As it is, we’re likely to get just he said/he said reporting about something potentially epoch-marking… Continue reading Religion beat

Bad words

Ronnie was crying at the back of our classroom. We were in Grade 4 at the Mt. Matutum Christian School in Polomolok, South Cotabato and Ronnie’s crying was disturbing our class. He was standing with arms held parallel to the ground and knees bent in a position called “sitting on the air.” It was the… Continue reading Bad words

Facebook persona

Her voice was earnest, almost pleading. “Kung mamatay mo, madala na ninyo inyo sakyanan? Ang inyong balay? Ang kwarta?” (When you die, will you be able to take your car, house, or money with you?) “Unya ang basil?” I thought to myself. (What about the basil?) I was waiting at the border controls in Barangay… Continue reading Facebook persona


“Ayaw sultii si Fionah ha? Ayaw tagai si Jasmin,” I used to tell sources when working on a story I was sure would be an exclusive when I covered Cebu City Hall for The Freeman with Zeny Jainar. This was in 1996, about the time The Freeman first connected to the Web. Fionah Bojos, now… Continue reading Scoop

How AI led me to Carla Bruni

It had to be Edith Piaf, Madeleine Peyroux, or Joan Baez. It could also have been Eva Cassidy, Janis Ian, Sarah Jarosz or Joni Mitchell. More likely, it was my listening to all these artists that led Spotify to recommend Carla Bruni to me earlier this month. I have been listening to her songs since.… Continue reading How AI led me to Carla Bruni

The case for chatbots

Are you open today? What’s the number of your Ayala branch? Answers to these questions are easy to program as chatbot routines. Instead, here I am, after more than an hour of calling and searching on mobile on my way to and now attending an event, and none the wiser as to whether any of… Continue reading The case for chatbots

News: from medium to platform

We’ve moved away from needing a “medium” to co-existing on an information platform or various platforms that are centered on mobile. In these platforms, the work of professional media is just one of the streams we consume every minute. It is a valuable and informative stream, yes, but still just one of many.

Auto-update convenience: WordPress upgrades itself to fix critical vulnerability

After yesterday’s upgrading of key WordPress plugins to fix a cross site scripting vulnerability, the WordPress team released version 4.1.2, which it described as a critical security release. “WordPress versions 4.1.1 and earlier are affected by a critical cross-site scripting vulnerability, which could enable anonymous users to compromise a site,” the WordPress team said in… Continue reading Auto-update convenience: WordPress upgrades itself to fix critical vulnerability