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‘Di lang may

silver lining,
K 3
may rainbow pa!

First Filipino online reporter tells all

From page K1 read the internet anyway and who will take of just one person. It was a team effort—of
you seriously, it’s just internet, were the the editorial group led by Getsy Selirio and
skeletal force, it was decided to make do questions they often asked. JV Rufino, and techies led by Bobby Gan-
with one reporter, but to start Big Time by
going straight to Malacañang.
‘Empty boasts’
tuangco, balanced with agressive market-
ing strategies here and abroad and the able still No. 1
There were also those who questioned
Which was why I ended up in Mala-
cañang armed with the latest Sony Erics- my saying that the page views
had already breached the million mark,
support of the administrative and finance
(For a hint of it was like then, I named the
on 8th year
son internet-ready phone/palm computer
equipped with a folding keyboard, three adding that these were “empty boasts.” The editorial room “geriatric” ward and the By Lynette Luna
boxes of callings cards and a ready expla- argument was that the Philippines did not techies’ areas as the “pediatrics ward.” Next Editor, million pageviews and 2.6
nation on what the was all have 1 million internet users. But page month, the former occupants of the “pedi- million uniques.
about. views do not refer to individuals, and in- atric ward,” who have started calling them- INQUIRER.NET IS THE OF- has been con-
One thing going for then was stead, to the number of clicks a mouse selves extINQ, plan to mark the 10th year ficial website of the Philip- sistently ranked the No. 1
Tiglao’s clout as Press Secretary. He was al- makes as it points the cursor to a page. One anniversary of the founding of the first pine Daily Inquirer that pro- news website in the Philip-
so just as gung-ho in promoting the internet user may actually make 20 hits or news website in the history of Philippine vides 24-hour news and pines by http://www.alexa brand name. Tiglao made it a page views in one sitting as he reads the media.) commentaries on Politics, .com/topsites/countries/PH,
point to plug ahead of me, and al- INQ7 headlines, the editorial and columns, But INQ7 had been criticized for one Sports, Lifestyle, Entertain- and has been adjudged
ways introduced me as a reporter from and the entertainment and lifestyle sec- main issue: That by introducing breaking ment, Business, Technology among the best by online
“INQ7 Dot Net, a joint news website of the tions. news online, it had diminished the value of and Opinion. award-giving bodies here
Philippine Daily Inquirer and GMA Channel One must also not forget the overseas one of journalism’s cherished practice of It also regularly offers and abroad.
7.” It’s the same line I heartily and shame- Filipinos’ thirst for local color, which can getting a “scoop.” Also, that it encouraged Global Nation, a channel On its third year and mov-
lessly repeated when I introduced myself come in the form of stories about food plagiarism since some reporters simply about overseas Filipino ing forward,
during press conferences. and fiestas, travel destinations and show download INQ7 stories, and with a little workers with over 30 blogs, (eight years from 2001 as
biz gossip. Short-lived political up- editing, pass these off as their own. No one special reports on relevant seeks to expand
How to start a buzz heavals can also trigger heavy internet can really help a plagiarist disguised as a issues and services like SMS its services by beefing up its
Distributing calling cards was another traffic as overseas Filipinos scramble to lazy reporter, I have often said. Let them be, (Short Messaging Service), video content and linking up
surefire trick to start a buzz. I must have find information about the Oakwood they will not last long in the industry. But a MMS (Multimedia Messag- with social networking sites
given away 300 cards in four months to mutiny, for instance, and how it would “scoop” is another issue. ing Service), and RSS feeds like Facebook and Twitter
cabinet secretaries, undersecretaries, their affect the safety of their relatives and the A “scoop” is just a one-story deal. You (Really Simple Syndica- where the audience not only
aides and executive assistants, their secre- future of the economy. have one “scoop” that everybody follows. tion). gets to read the news but is
taries, their security and drivers, their But consistently posting breaking news Based on the January- able to view these as well,
wives and girlfriends. I shook hands and
Team effort ahead of others also prompts the others to November 2009 Quantcast react and interact and be
handed out cards, then I explained what From 2001 to 2004, made follow. That is called setting the agenda. figures, enjoyed part of the global communi- was all about. gains that would have taken 10 or even 20 And it has a longer shelf-life than a a monthly average of 27 ty through new media.
Filing stories—and reading these on- years for others. But this was not the work “scoop.”
line—even while the media briefing was
ongoing brought me to an undescribable
high. I didn’t have to wait for the news-
paper the following day to enjoy my
The shameless plugs had its rewards. The
TV replays of President Macapagal-Ar-
royo’s media briefings soon had the name written beneath my image as I
asked the President a question. The word would get written in name tags
during dinners with the President and Cabi-
net members in the Palace. was a
media entity listed whenever Malacanang’s
media office invited reporters to a cover-
age. was no longer unknown. In
fact, in a matter of three months,
had become the media to reckon with.

When GMA was friendly

Those were the days when the President
was friendly to media. She was also friend-
ly to, in fact. Her aides told me
that the President was monitoring on her laptop. On a coverage in
Cavite one day, I filed a story while the me-
dia convoy was returning to Manila. As I
dropped off my bag at the Media Center in
Kalayaan Hall, my phone rang. It was the
President’s aide saying Ms Arroyo was on
the line.
It turned out that the President had
seen the story about Cavite on
and wanted to clarify some of her state-
ments and correct some I made that she
said were not right. Her call gave me the
chance to ask more questions, so I had an-
other exclusive story posted on the web-
site. All that happening in just a matter of
But not all Cabinet officials and other
government functionaries understood on-
line journalism. Often, I was asked why was
I wasting my time in an industry that they
said faced a bleak future. The dotcom in-
dustry had already collapsed, so what was I
doing in a dotcom company? How many