Swaying Male Domination: Gender and the Newsroom

They say you cannot explain today’s domination of women in the country’s largest broadcast companies, influential and leading newspapers and magazines, and even in the nonprofit organizations for Investigative Journalism without talking about Martial Law. During the infamous dictatorship of late former President Ferdinand Marcos, many male Journalists in all media had been sent to prison, tortured and even killed with the hopes of freeing the country from tyranny.

News Editors and Reporters who were critical of Mr. Marcos during the times of Martial Law were taken away from the helm of opposition and kept behind bars. Those gentlemen who were left in the newsroom left the clamor into shortfall. This deficit of men in newsrooms were remedied by the rise of women to the helm of the front pages and even the opposition, thus leaving the lifestyle and feature section for the years to come.

This radicalization in today’s standard in the gender equality and equity in the newsroom can be liberally seen on the primetime news on Television, on Online News Sources and also in the front pages of the leading newspapers in the country. The usual broadsheet that I read—The Philippine Daily Inquirer can be traced of the same observation with Manila Bulletin and Philippine Star’s front page with having if not equal number with men, a female dominated page.

This observation is not new and has been a work of progress through the years after the Marcos dictatorship. The reason why women were not able to write hard news back then is because Journalism was considered as a very dangerous job—even for men. Now as sexist as that concept was, it is still important to consider the social standards that was set back then. How people perceive women and society’s expectation from women were flawed and still are, but not in Philippine Media.

Women are more than just sideliners of features and less consequential jobs, women can be in the field covering a war, in a cafe electronically breaking an exposé of a drug syndicate, and even lead their own newsroom of reporters and journalists. This breakthrough since the Marcos period can be underscored but should not be dwelt upon. Society is changing, and Journalism as an ineradicable part of it can not be excluded from these changes.

Journalism is a very dangerous job for both men and women, and women being able to sway the former standards of Journalism is a living breakthrough for society until today. Despite the Journalistic achievements in the course of history, it is still important to keep in mind that ‘who’ wrote the story does not matter all of time. A he or she in the byline of a banner story, a front page, a lifestyle page, and even in a computer or phone screen is not as pressing as the lacking quality and depth of today’s Journalism that the people deserve, and both male and female Journalists are called to address this pressing issue. Neil Jayson N. Servallos

100 Words barred in News Writing

Circumlocutions are commonly used expressions wherein instead of a word, several are used to configure thoughts. Almost all of these are habitual in nature. Writers whether professional or not tend to overlook these habits in constructing sentences or thoughts into several words instead of concisely enveloping them into one. Among the thousands of circumlocutions that are used, here is a list of 100 of the most commonly used ones:

 

  1. According to our records—We find …
  2. Adequate number of—enough
  3. adjacent to—beside, by, close to
  4. afford an opportunity—allow, give, let
  5. ahead of schedule—early
  6. a large proportion of—many, most, much (or be specific)
  7. all of—all (unless followed by a pronoun)
  8. almost all—most
  9. along the lines of—like, similar, similar to
  10. already exist—drop already
  11. an estimated—about, almost, more than, nearly
  12. are in possession of—has, have, owns, with
  13. arrange to return—return
  14. as a matter of fact—Usually unneeded. Leave out.
  15. as a result of—because, because of, since
  16. as long as—if, since
  17. as of now; as of [date] about; —from, on
  18. As per [our records] …—Our records show …
  19. as regards—about
  20. assuming that—if
  21. as to—about, of, on, to (or leave out)
  22. as well as—also, and
  23. at all times—always (or leave out)
  24. at an early date—soon (or a specific date)
  25. center around—at, in, on, revolve around
  26. in most cases—often, usually
  27. in order to—to
  28. in place of—for
  29. in (the) possession of—has, have
  30. in reference to—about, for, on
  31. in regard to; in relation to about, for, on; about, in, on, to, toward, with
  32. in respect of—about, for, of
  33. in spite of (the fact that)—although, despite
  34. in terms of about—at, by, for, in, with
  35. in the amount of—for, of, the
  36. in the context of—about, for, in, of
  37. in the course of—at, during, in, while
  38. in the event that—if, when (not if and when)
  39. come to an agreement—agree
  40. comply with—follow, obey
  41. conduct an investigation—investigate or examine, explore, find out, look into, research, search, 43. study
  42. conduct experiments—experiment
  43. one of the—a, an, one
  44. on most occasions—usually
  45. on the part of—among, by, for, of
  46. over the duration of—during
  47. per annum —a year, yearly, annually
  48. per capita—a person, a head
  49. per diem—a day, daily, daily allowance, for each day
  50. present time—now, present
  51. consensus of opinion, general consensus—agreement, consensus
  52. contiguous to—adjoining, next to, touching
  53. course of—at, during, in, while
  54. desirous of—use a form of want (or leave out)
  55. despite the fact that—although, despite, even though
  56. draw to your attention—point out, remind you of, show, show you
  57. due to the fact that—as, because, because of, for, since
  58. during such time, during the course of, during the time—during, when, while
  59. time frame—age, era, interval, period, time
  60. to a certain degree—in part, less often, less so, partially, some
  61. to a large degree—largely
  62. to whatever extent—however
  63. under the provisions of—by, under
  64. until such time—until, when
  65. use up—use
  66. was of the opinion that—believed, said, thought
  67. we are of the opinion—we believe, we think
  68. whether or not—whether
  69. with a view to—to
  70. with reference to—about, for, on (or leave out)
  71. effect many changes—change
  72. except when—unless
  73. excessive number of—too many
  74. extend an invitation—invite
  75. for the purpose of—for, of, to
  76. for the reason that —because, for, since
  77. in lieu of—for, instead of
  78. in the (very near) (not too distant) future—soon
  79. none at all—none
  80. not in a position to—cannot, can’t, unable to
  81. notwithstanding the fact that—although, despite, even if, however
  82. of major importance—are important, is important, was important
  83. on a daily basis, on a regular basis—daily, regularly
  84. on behalf of—backed, for, supported
  85. prior to—before, ahead of
  86. provided that—if, provided
  87. pursuant to—by, following, under
  88. with regards to—regarding
  89. realize a savings of—save
  90. refer to as—call, name, term
  91. regards to, as regards, with regard to—about, as for, for, in, of, on, over, respecting, to,
  92. toward,—with
  93. relating to—about, on
  94. result in—lead to
  95. short supply—scarce
  96. some of the—some
  97. spell out—describe, detail, explain, specify, show
  98. state with confidence—use a form of be confidene
  99. spell out—describe, detail, explain, specify, show
  100. state with confidence—use a form of be confident

Lourd de Veyra: On the Fluidity and Foolishness in Online Media

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HE walks in a newsroom of din and the scent of coffee wafts through the air as he is handed his script for today’s newscast. Having driven through EDSA for the third time today, static noise from the radio and the dreadful traffic never seemed to break his spirit to bring in today’s weather report.

Lourd Ernest Hanopol-De Veyra has practiced Journalism for more than two decades and pioneered satirical broadcasting since setting foot into the world of broadcast in 2008, in the newly re-established TV5.

Inking the Blots

“If my mom never brought me to EDSA Shangri-La to watch her college classmate play the guitar on the lobby with no one watching, I would’ve graduated with a degree in Music.”

De Veyra had no plans on taking Journalism by storm as he wanted to take up Political Science.

But being able to take up a Creative Writing class under the great Dr. Ophelia Dimalanta for one semester gave him all the reason to write all his life.

“I had no regrets in choosing a writing course [Journalism], dun ko kasi narealize na masarap pala magsulat, na gusto ko siya,” he adds.

De Veyra was a Philippine Daily Inquirer scholar in his last two years in UST but was regretfully unable to work there as the paper had a hiring freeze and worked for Teddy Boy Locsin Jr instead.

He also worked for other newspapers from time to time, having freelance writing and editorial jobs in various publications until he was approached one day by TV5 News Production head Patrick Paez to work for the newly relaunched evening news of Channel 5.

“I had no plans at all to do TV reporting,” he said explaining how he prefers writing news in print media above all the media he did Journalism in.

He adds that in writing, one has control over his content unlike other media.“I can say writing news pa rin yung pinaka gusto ko, kasi in writing may control ka sa ginagawa mo. Sa TV ang daming factors. Mostly ako yung nagsusulat nung nirereport ko sa TV, kahit may writers, ang bottomline sa akin parin dumadaan lahat [ng materials].”

Aside from Television and Print, De Veyra also practiced Journalism in Radio and currently, online.

Foolishness and Fluidity

Patrick Paez yet again whips up another program where De Veyra can do news as he does it best— satirically. United with his real-life friends Ramon Bautista, Jun Sabayton and RA Rivera, De Veyra now spearheads the future of Online Broadcasting.

The satirical news program Kontrabando is well known for its coverage of tabloidized crime news and opinion segments of a Security and Counter-terrorism expert-turned security guard.

When asked about sensationalism in Kontrabando, De Veyra emphasized the scoff it brings to the practice. He admitted that what they do in Kontrabando was mere foolishness and such jibe in the profession should not be practiced in much more formal setting in the media such as Television, Radio and Print.

“Sensational na nga yung ginagawa naming satirical newscast, mas isesensationalize pa namin, gaguguhin pa namin yun, so gaguhan lang talaga yung programang iyon [Kontrabando],” he asserted

De Veyra described Online Journalism as to being a very fluid medium where errors can be quickly rewritten and foolishness is oftentimes not admonished. “Maganda din kasi minsan yung format ng online, napakafluid hindi gaya sa print na parang may pagkakataon ka na hanggang bukas na pag aralan yung mga bagay-bagay, yung mga development at maprint sya sa isang solid at frozen sya forever as a document pag sa dyaryo.”

Aside from online broadcast, De Veyra also writes online in his blog in Spot.ph, airs podcast in Soundcloud. De Veyra also discerned on the future of Journalism as the times become more and more advanced.

“Online Journalism is still evolving and we’ll never know what will come next, we are living in the future and we are still sculpting the future according to our needs and psychologies,’’ he said.

Fine Line Fading

With his blogging being mentioned, it has also called his attention that bloggers and Journalists are becoming more and more alike and as technologies and demands become more advanced.

He argues that reading well-written and professional Journalists is still better as they are trained in the classical discipline of writing and reportage. But De Veyra adds that online writers have an advantage of instant gratification and hyperlinks.

He then states, “Good writing is good writing regardless of the format, regardless of where and in what medium you read it in.”

Serenity in Manila 20141018_172655

Although usually seen and read while strongly expressing his opinions about social, economic, political issues and even mocking prominent celebrities, politicians and public figures, De Veyra mentioned he has never been under the brink of death while working as a Journalist.

“Kung sa probinsya siguro oo, matagal na akong patay, pero we’re at Manila, It’s ‘somehow’ safe here,” he said.

He also added that one of the strong factors that his life and profession was never challenged by external threats is because no one important dared and cared to watch, read and listen to him.

“Walang importanteng taong nanonood samin, wala naman silang paki,” he said.

De Veyra expressed his desire to keep on writing (journalism, fiction, etc.) until his last breath and expressed having no desire to stay in Television.

“Tingin ko hindi talaga ako pang TV, whatever happens babalik  at babalik parin ako sa pagsusulat. Pagsulat sa sarili, mas [ok] yun. Basta sulat,” he said.

In his defunct talkshow in TV5, WASAK, he always asks his guests at the end of the interview what their last meal would be if they are to die tomorrow, and when it was his turn to answer, he swiftly answered, “Steak.” Neil Jayson Servallos

Grammar and Semantics for Journalists

                  Aside from being oriented and familiar with the basic styles, structure and rules of writing, Journalists of today are facing a pressing challenge of staying professional and white-collared in this age where Journalism can be explored and innovated due to the significant and widespread changes in technology and society.

Many sub-kinds of Journalism had sprouted over the course of today’s technological revolution, many of which can be found in the internet. These kinds in fact create ways of attracting readers wherein a very important factor of maintaining professionalism and Journalistic style—specifically in rules of grammar are continually compromised.

With Journalism being a very recognized and well-known profession around the globe, it is imperative that a Journalist should always sustain the esteem of professionalism in the field.  A Journalist should always keep in mind the importance of the proper use of grammar in writing.

Essentials of grammar in all the fields of studies and profession that are associated with writing are very critical and very necessary. It makes a lot of sense for a Journalist to know the basics and intermediates of grammar, punctuations and spelling in order for them to be taken seriously.

The tone or approach of news or a report can drastically change with the modest to considerable inconsistency in the use of proper grammar and style. Grammar and style can affect the communication of the context of a write-up or a broadcast with a simple deviation from its rules and elements respectively.

A broadcast from the nationally followed primetime news of say— TV Patrol or 24 Oras conveys a descriptive, narrative and informative tone whereas a broadcast from the popularly known Kontrabando covey a tone of ridicule and satire, the same goes with online news sources from blogs, and broadsheets from tabloids.

All of the aforementioned comparisons have the same difference in context all because of the tone and choice of words used in their broadcast or write-ups— with the first one using more formal and sophisticated choice of words and the other using informal and crude language. Although it is not necessarily saying one has supremacy over the other, but rather it is a matter of maintaining the principles of professionalism.

Journalism is a very essential facet of living and it is important for people who practice the profession to keep the verification of discipline and professionalism.  Everyone who practices the different fields and kinds of the Journalistic profession can help in making the future of Journalism intelligent, unambiguous and credible.

 Grammar is the foundation of all kinds of writing and it is the very pillar of a professional and sophisticated means of upholding the very nature of Journalism which is the proliferation of truth and information all around the world. Its essence is all the Journalist needs in maintaining the trailblazing legacy of commitment to truth by Journalism and what makes of the world’s populace deem the profession as to being a field of integrity, discipline and truthfulness. Neil Jayson N. Servallos