Days after we won the First Multicultural Media Awards for Coverage of Community Affairs in Australia, we were invited to community radio programs to share with radio listeners our thoughts on certain issues in the community.
Dr Cen Amores, a Sydney-based community leader and one of the People of Australia ambassadors appointed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard for her community works, last September 23 interviewed us in her Radio Mabuhay program.
One of her six questions was: “To you, what is an ideal journalist? An ideal community newspaper?”
I thought I post in this site our response which reflects our publishing philosophy governing emanila websites.
Learning the rudiments of 5Ws and 1H of journalism is easy. Learning how to write a grammatically correct news story is not difficult. Learning new technologies is also not difficult as long one has the patience and the willingness to learn.
Coming out and launching a community newspaper is also not difficult. I am not saying it is easy to put up a newspaper, but it is not difficult.
If you have a few dollars, a few stories, a few photos here and there, you can put up a newspaper.
But what is difficult is how to maintain and sustain it.
I am not sure if these are the ideal ingredients in journalism or in a community newspaper.
But let me share our operating philosophy in our publications:
Information should be useful, educational, entertaining. Information should add value; kung maaari ay orihinal, hindi lang kinopya sa iba. (possibly original, not just scrape materials.)
2. Relevance. It should be appropriate to your audience.
3. Integrity. Information should be accurate, verified, di puwedeng tsismis lang. If taken from other sources, banggitin kung saan galing. (cite sources)
Under integrity is honesty and independence. Honesty should be part of a journalist’s or newspaper’s code of ethics.
A publisher should also always remain independent. I acknowledge that a publisher has his or her own personal preferences, but that should be kept personal and should not affect the reports he/she publishes.
A publisher should let his or her readers decide on their own. Do not influence them to move to your directions.
Our freedom of expression or speech should be equal to our respect for other human beings. Our freedom of speech has restrictions. Kailangan igalang natin ang privacy ng mga pinag-uukulan ng mga balita. (We should respect the privacy of those concerned or who are subject od the news.)
We need to be sensitive also to regional or cultural differences. We should be careful with our words.
The Australian Journalists Association (of which we are a member) in fact has enshrined this standard in its Code of Ethics:
Respect for the rights of others
These are our thoughts of what makes an ideal journalist or community newspaper. What do you think?