By Chit Estella
July 6, 2007
IN THE crush of dismal and discouraging developments in the press, one is prone to overlook an important thing about journalism: it can be fun. Specifically, there is a type of journalism that is inarguably enjoyable, and that is sports journalism. It’s one of the best-kept secrets of the trade: if you want to have fun and be paid for it, be a sports journalist.
Films about the press commonly portray journalists in any of the following molds: the crusty editor, the world-weary police reporter, the jaded political reporter, and lately, the social-climbing lifestyle reporter. A few years ago, there was also a film about an ambitious reporter who quickly fell from grace after lying his way to fame. To be sure, there are movies about idealistic journalists but they usually die in the end or, less tragically, lose their jobs. Is there no happy ending for journalists?
Well, if anyone thought of writing a story about sports journalists, he just might find himself with a happy beginning, middle, and end. It is hard to imagine, let alone meet, a surly sports writer. Surliness simply goes against the grain of the reporter whose typical story starts with hope and ends with someone’s victory. And unlike most stuff that other journalists have to deal with, sports reporters write stories showing the best that a human being can possibly achieve in his field. And the writer is permitted to wax ecstatic about it. No restraint in the name of objectivity here.
But go back to other aspects of reality we must. Side by side with this issue’s article on sports journalism is broadcast journalist Cheche Lazaro’s lecture when she received the Gawad Plaridel Award from the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication. The award, named after the nom de plume of Marcelo H. del Pilar, leader of the propaganda movement during the Spanish colonial era, is given annually by the college to the most outstanding practitioners in print, television, radio, and film.
A former professor in broadcast journalism, Lazaro identified and shared with communications students the lessons learned from decades of experience in television broadcasting. She also presented a suggestion for the more effective teaching of journalism.
Earlier, mass communication students also heard from the winners in the Jaime V. Ongpin Awards for Excellence in Journalism (JVOAEJ). The finalists in this year’s JVOAEJ told their young audience how they gathered information for their articles, what they thought about problems facing the press, and the early dreams that drove them to become journalists. This issue of PJR Reports tells that story.
And lastly, the latest developments on the newest type of journalism: citizen journalism. Conventional wisdom had it that citizen journalism would eventually change the way that traditional journalists do their job. This issue’s story says it’s really the other way around: traditional journalism is changing the way that citizen journalism is being done. And that is good and comforting news.