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.

Continue reading “Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace conference: personal notes”

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.

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

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.

Search engine optimization for journalists

“This Boring Headline is Written for Google,” that’s the headline of a New York Times article on how news organizations are starting to practice search engine optimization in the writing of headlines.

The article says that news organizations increasingly see the need to optimize their site for search engine crawlers as search engine traffic accounts for at least 30 percent of news website traffic.

Continue reading “Search engine optimization for journalists”

CEGP seminar: putting campus newspapers online

Among the things that I’m really passionate about is encouraging student publications to go online. Not only is online publication cheaper than dead-tree publishing, it’s also very easy to pull off right now because of the existence of easy-to-use content management systems.

Online campus journalism also allows student publications to go beyond the one-issue-every-few-months-or-so publication cycle typical of campus papers.

I discussed online journalism with members of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines yesterday and I was a bit surprised that in a group of 20 plus participants, only two have blogs. I had expected more bloggers in the group, in fact I assumed more than half would have blogs.


Continue reading “CEGP seminar: putting campus newspapers online”

The glass cannot be half-full

Either there is press freedom or not, according to Sun.Stars pooled editorial.

The editorial points out the danger of making police the evaluators of media.

Why do cops make poor evaluators? They dont know the craft and its nuances. Their mind-set is that of victims, whipped frequently by media for lapses and offenses.

The paper (disclosure: I work for Sun.Star Cebu) says “The Government cannot claim to be free and democratic when it gags media by threats of takeover or shutdown.”

Proclamation 1017 declaring a state of emergency in the country has been described as a harmless weapon that should not instill fear among the law-abiding.

We disagree. It is a lethal weapon in the hands of those who exceed or abuse the power–out of ignorance, spite, or meanness.

Read the full article here.

A call for solidarity

For a few years now, the global media community has named the Philippines among the most dangerous places for journalists. In the past two years, our country has been second only to Iraq in the number of media killings. Philippine journalists have fought hard to roll back the tide of violence. Today, however, the Philippine press faces its strongest challenge.

In declaring a “state of national emergency,” President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo made media among her main targets. She and senior aides warned of government takeover of media facilities considered friendly to the political opposition.

Read the entire statement at the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines website.

Listing of top Philippine news sites

The government-owned Philippine News Agency listed yesterday the top mainstream Philippine news websites based on Netcraft ranking. The data is taken from browsing habits of users of the Netcraft toolbar. I don’t know how big and representative that user base is.

I also don’t know how PNA compiled the list, I tried looking for a listing of the top Philippine sites in Netcraft but couldn’t find one. There’s a listing of the most visited websites with site rank scores but this isn’t grouped by countries and there isn’t even a link to succeeding pages. You can also get the site ranking when you do a web server query in Netcraft. I don’t know if you can access the list if you have the Netcraft toolbar, which I don’t (I hate toolbars-except for the web developer toolbar for Firefox).
Continue reading “Listing of top Philippine news sites”

MediaShift goes live

Update your blogrolls and RSS feed readers, PBS MediaShift is now live. The blog is run by journalist Mark Glaser, who previously wrote a column for Online Journalism Review of the USC Annenberg School of Communication. He also writes the OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association.

MediaShift “is a weblog that will track how digital media technologies and techniques such as weblogs, RSS, podcasting, citizen journalism, wikis, news aggregators and video repositories are changing our world. It will tell stories of how the shifting media landscape is changing the way we get our news and information, while also providing a place for public participation and feedback.”