Journ Classroom

May 26, 2007

Global Investigative Journalism Conference Opens

Filed under: general — Luz Rimban @ 1:13 am

Toronto, Canada—The doors to the conference venue opened and delegates started finding their seats, surprised to find a band already revved up onstage, and what looked like African drums on every chair in the cavernous ballroom of the Toronto Hilton.

drumcafe.jpg“What are we supposed to do with these drums?” Toronto-based journalist Marites Sison and I wondered, as we got settled.

It didn’t take long for us to find the answer, and it was an exhilarating, invigorating one. For the next 45 minutes or so, we and the hundreds of other journalists who came to Toronto for the conference, found ourselves pounding away at the drums and swaying to the rhythm of the Drum Café, a group that has been working conferences like this, eliciting audience participation in a unique and energizing team building experiglobal-drums.jpgence.

“It is our job to demonstrate the importance of working as a team, playing to the same beat, listening to each other, and how individual roles/rhythms, large or small, impact the entire organization,” said the Drum Café in the flyers we found in our seats.

And so it was that Drum Café lifted the spirits of the delegates, 550 from 44 countries, who came to take part in the four-day Global Investigative Journalism Conference. Our spirits definitely needed lifting because, as keynote speaker Lowell Bergman, award-winning



May 15, 2007

Philippine Elections as Classroom – 2

Filed under: general,News — Luz Rimban @ 6:07 pm

If Philippine elections were a classroom and electoral fraud the previous days’ lesson, then the people and civil society groups listened and learned. The media didn’t. The people and civil society got it. The media didn’t (some, at least).

The one central issue in the 2007 elections is the unresolved cheating of the past. Those who are looking for or dredging up other issues are unlikely to find any that will stick, or that will draw people’s attention and interest. The one thing that mattered to Filipinos was the systematic, wholesale cheating that took place in 2004—evidence of which came in the form of the “Hello, Garci” recordings—which remains unpunished to this day.

And yet how come (some in) the media didn’t get it? Was it fear? Vested interest? Bias? A misreading of the situation?

Friends and I were talking about this while we were in Davao last month. Ellen noted how (some) media organizations had failed to highlight “Hello, Garci” as an election issue, and how they seemed all too willing to let administration candidates off the hook, specially those who deliberately ignored the “Hello, Garci” question. Bon said that one TV network’s election special focused on issues like jobs, housing, health care, and the like, which were more suited to elections for president (or maybe local executives) rather than elections for the national legislature where each candidate is expected to have his or her own advocacy, not to mention knowledge of law-making.


May 14, 2007

Philippine Elections as Classroom

Filed under: general — Luz Rimban @ 9:28 pm

There are three first-time voters in our family, and they took their right of suffrage very seriously. Last night, on the eve of elections, they sat down and carefully read the official list of candidates mailed to them by the Commission on Elections.

Then they highlighted the names of their chosen candidates, discussing with each other the pros and cons of every candidate on their list. They did not impose their candidates on others and made it a point to say they respected each others’ choices. They consulted me on some of their choices and I must say they had names on their list that weren’t on mine.

They looked forward to today with eager anticipation. After all, it was a feat just to have been able to register last December, when they braved the heat, the crowds and the notorious inefficiency of the Commission on Elections just to get their names on the voters’ list.


May 11, 2007

“The Other Journalist”

Filed under: general — Luz Rimban @ 3:34 pm

The title comes from the March issue of the Philippine Journalism Review (PJR) Reports, whose main article is a feature story on the plight of Filipino photojournalists. On the cover is veteran photojournalist Bullit Marquez of the Associated Press, and the photo was taken by PJR staff photographer Lito Ocampo.

The articles can be accessed through the PJR Reports website.


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