Advice to campus journalists

Published June 21, 2021, 12:13 AM

by Ignacio R. Bunye


Ignacio R. Bunye
Ignacio R. Bunye

I have been requested by the faculty of my Alma Mater, the Muntinlupa National High School, to be a resource speaker this week during a webinar for the school’s campus journalist.   Due to a conflict of schedule, I had to politely beg off.  Nonetheless, I have prepared this short note to the  webinar participants to make up for my absence.

The webinar was supposed to cover the two topics of “Reporting Under the New Normal” and “Advice to Budding Journalists.”   To supplement my own experience, (which occurred in another generation),  I sought  an  update  from  current media practitioners in print,  radio and TV. As of  this writing,  I have received suggestions from  Juliet L. Javellana and Christine Avendaño, editors at the Philippine Daily Inquirer; Jo Montemayor Reyes, a senior reporter of Malaya; Milky Rigonan of DZRH and Leo Palo of Radyo Pilipinas Uno.

The  following encapsulates  their  observations and recommendations which I would like  pass on to the campus journalists.

What is the new normal? The pandemic forced media to get out of its  comfort zone and reinvent itself.  Like most people, journalists were forced to work from home and conduct their news coverage via Zoom or Google, via text, Viber and Messenger. Juliet Javellana and  Christine Avendano talked of ways  the Inquirer tried to  reinvent itself by offering its content in digital formats to reach a wider audience and transcend the barriers of the pandemic.  They also discussed how editors attended  Google Play Hangout to discuss content.

In the rare instances where reporters have to go to the scene, they strictly observe health protocols – like wearing the mask, face shield and keeping safe physical distance. Obtaining physical documents, not otherwise available online can be problematic. And even if they are available, the reporters have to submit formal requests for information.

What is their advice to budding journalists?

The common advice of the resource persons is:  Be informed about what is happening around you – read, watch the news (local and international) and even in social media. Read, read, read. There’s no other way to do it.

Have a nose for news. Listen to AM stations and read newspapers. However, don’t believe in everything you see or read in social media.Double check facts. With so many information especially online, there are a lot of fake, wrong or inaccurate information.

Be critical – think about why important things are happening in your barangay, community, school, society, country and what should be done about them. One great source of information would be the OpEd of newspapers. Read the columns and editorials to get a sense and context of critical events happening in our country and help you form your own opinion.

Always ask questions – who, what, where, when, why are important but even more important is the how and the what now?

Know what you’re good at – are you a digital journalist at heart? Confident in engaging on social media? Be an expert in that and be mindful of guidelines on social media to protect your credibility and that of your organization.

Are you good at features writing and analysis and want to write longform and special reports?

Or do you have a good voice and confident personality to be on broadcast?

You can try your hand at these various formats but start with where you think you are really good at. That will give you confidence and help you grow and eventually find your specialization.

Learn to adapt to the surroundings as life in media changes all the time. Never burn bridges. Turn your weakness  into your strength.  Find your own personality. Do not copy.

Institute of Corporate Directors Fellow

My daughter, Atty. Patricia A. O. Bunye (Trisha) was inducted last week as a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors @ICDPhilippines. ICD is the ‘school’ where directors of publicly-listed companies go for both basic and advanced training. At ICD, emphasis is on the responsibilities of directors as well as best corporate governance practices, not only in the Philippines but in the Southeast Asia region as well. It is not too far-fetched that one of these days, I might become one of Trisha’s “students”.

Trisha has served as Corporate Secretary of two publicly-listed companies, sat on an international board and on the board of a non-profit.

Globe Wins The Asset’s “Telecom Deal of the Year”

Globe Telecom’s  $600 -million Dual Tranche Senior Notes issued in July last year was named the Philippines’ Telecom Deal of the Year at The Asset Triple A Infrastructure Awards 2021. The issuance, which was 6.5 times oversubscribed marked Globe’s return to the international debt market since 2004. Part of the proceeds was earmarked for Globe’s P70 billion capital expenditures this year.

Look what the Koreana virus has done

The BBC recently reported: “North Korea has recently introduced a sweeping new law which seeks to stamp out any kind of foreign influence – harshly punishing anyone caught with foreign films, clothing or even using slang.”

No wonder Captain Rhi has resigned his commission in the North Korean army and now prefers to spend more time in Switzerland with his lady love, Yoon Seri.

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