Reaction: For the greater benefit of the public

I find joy in reporting. One reason is I look at how my reports help the public in general. In return, my exposure to public issues also help me understand my surroundings. This will also guide me in how I could properly interact with others.

Everytime I face a public official or a private citizen representing an entity, I look at them as people who strive to make the public understand the world better. Either they talk to the media to inform, to convince, to guide or to encourage, I respond to them with due respect.

There are instances however when they make me lose my respect. Like when they are not telling the truth as shown by the choice of words they use , their gestures that lacked sincerity and also by the sheer sound of their voice. Among them are some politicians whose goal is to gain the “pogi” points for himself and to throw mud to his opponents.

I also do not like public relations (PR) practitioners who only want to “execute” a complan and face the media with transparent desires to just get the message across never mind if they are not understood at all. With a recent experience, a PR practitioner for a new petrol product, thanked the media for coming and said, “though I have expected that the major media networks were present.” I cringed at the sight of her smile after uttering those words.

That’s when she announced that the petrol executives talking to the media were leaving right away, cutting off an “ambush” interview with the reporters. Then she said “anyway, snacks is served outside”. mailto:#@$^*&!

That was really one place to walk out from, and I did. I remembered a decision I made after a retreat: If I know that there is nothing else I could say or do but bad things, I would have to say or do nothing and walk out.

Obviously, she was either a neophyte or just plainly rude.

But they don’t have to be politicians who lie and serve only their own interests or output-oriented PR people. What I really do not like most is when public officials or private citizens face the media with just “slogan” statements and qoutable words without backing it up with facts and figures.

I feel insulted when these people call for a meeting with the press to present an idea, event or plan; and yet could not provide data or at least assure reporters the same could be provided right away.

I know the media has the duty to verify and clarify statements and to balance the story by asking many sources. I advocate for the media to research more and prepare for the stories at hand. But many of these media-attention hungry people actually look down on reporters. They think the media would just believe them for their words’ worth.

I believe the others, yes. But I still think officials talking to reporters should prepare too. The media won’t bite and are friendly, but it really takes two to tango.

I really do hope people who call for press conferences should equip themselves with the facts and figures to back their claims.

If their intention is really to seek the media’s help in increasing knowledge and understanding about a public matter, they must also commit to help the media report about it intelligently.

If they have minimum respect to the media, they should at least look at respecting the public, for whom the media works.

Well, if peoples’ goal is only to impress the public about their rhetorics and their motherhood
statements and bait the media to sensationalise for them, or to sow confusion if not conflicts, then they can choose to spin shunning a factual presentation.

I’m sure I’ll be one of the many journalists who will pick their pitch –and drop it in the garbage bin.

About mindanaw

A Journalist from Mindanao

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