Journ Classroom

October 23, 2007

Glorietta Stories: Putting a human face to the news

Filed under: general — Luz Rimban @ 11:03 am

“In extraordinary times, there are no ordinary lives,” goes a line from the World War II documentary by Ken Burns simply titled The War.

These are extraordinary times for us Filipinos. And there doesn’t seem to be anything ordinary in the lives of the 11 people who were killed in the bombing (was it a bombing or an accident?) of the Glorietta last Friday.

It’s the fourth day since the tragedy hogged the front page and we’ve been reading since of lives violently cut short, of people who nearly suffered the same fate, and of grieving and unbelieving relatives and friends. I resisted writing about this since so many people have already, until my husband Boyette mentioned that he didn’t want to read the papers anymore.

“So sad,” was all he could say after glancing at the headlines today. What saddens him are the stories of those who died–how ordinary, how common, how everyday–and yet it is this very ordinariness that now makes them extraordinary. They were just celebrating at a restaurant, he was just waiting for his wife to finish shopping, she was just supposed to check out some items at the mall. And then they were gone. We were doing those exact same things last week, weren’t we? The more he reads about them, the sadder he becomes. So he has resolved not to read them anymore, and instead opts for the other sections of the papers.

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More such stories will surface, I am sure, because it is part of the journalist’s job to put a human face to the news. Reporters who tell the stories and choose the small but significant details in the life of each person struck down by that blast at Glorietta help us understand other people’s grief and anger.

True, so many bloggers have written about their own personal stories of being there that day and of feeling the earth shake, of seeing the roof cave in, and running toward safety. So many have taken pictures and video with their digital or cell phone cameras.

But the difficult and distasteful job of finding the victims and talking to their families still falls on the shoulders of the reporter from the newspaper, radio or television station. They will pry, eavesdrop on the sobbing and the quiet conversation, shove a microphone in people’s faces, barge in on the sorrow and possibly even bear the brunt of relatives’ anger at why this all had to happen to their loved ones.

It’s a difficult job but the reporter’s gotta do it. That’s what crosses my mind each time I read news reports that tell human stories, especially those that need to be told in times of tragedy.

As far as the journalist is concerned, no life is ordinary.

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2 Comments »

  1. […] very poignant reflection by Luz Rimban on journalists and their having to pry into the sorrows of individuals in times of crisis or […]

    Pingback by Manuel L. Quezon III: The Daily Dose » Blog Archive » The gathering storm — October 25, 2007 @ 8:40 am | Reply

  2. Dear Ms. Luz Rimban:

    Greetings!

    I, the undersigned, a graduate student of De La Salle University-Manila, am writing a paper on bloggers as journalists/journalists as bloggers. This is in partial fulfillment of the requirements in my Online News Publishing course.

    In line with this, I would like to get your thoughts on the said issue by answering the questionnaire found below.

    Should you have inquires on this request, please feel free to get in touch with me through these contact details:

    Mobile: (0917) 846-6971
    E-mail: torrecampor@yahoo.com

    I hope to get a favorable response from you. Thank you very much.

    Respectfully yours,

    Randy C. Torrecampo
    Student Number: 10694471

    QUESTIONNAIRE:

    1. Do you consider yourself a journalist? Why?
    2. Does your blog have a print counterpart?
    3. Who are your regular readers?
    4. Are the comments moderated?
    5. What are your reasons for starting a blog?
    6. Are you a techie?
    7. What is your typical session/day like as a journalist/blogger?
    8. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this new medium (as far as you are concerned)?
    9. Why do you blog?

    Comment by Randy Torrecampo — November 13, 2007 @ 11:40 am | Reply


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