THE 2019 DILI DIALOGUE FORUM

CCPC attendance at Timor Leste meeting enables it to share, and compare, its experience on press councils with other media groups in the region By Karlon N. Rama AN INTERNATIONAL…

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Under-coverage of local governments: public officials’ gripes, media’s explanation

  Mayors, mostly of LGUs outside Metro Cebu, complain that their projects and programs have not been publicized by mainstream media. “They send out reporters and news crew to us…

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Godofredo Roperos: A long love affair with writing

In Manila, the almost-four-decade career of Godofredo M. Roperos, 88, covered assignments in reporting, magazine editing, and literary writing. It was interrupted by his work with the government as assistant…

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Cerge Remonde: the ‘probinsyano’ beat reporter who became Press Secretary

He spoke truth to power as a newspaper columnist and radio commentator. But in a reversal of roles, Remonde defended power as press secretary to then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who,…

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Reinventing the newspaper

A series of articles that CJJ hopes will set off a conversation among practitioners and students of journalism as well as media consumers on the crisis that afflicts print media,…

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The hard-hitting radio commentators

Is bombast gone? And do they need to look good on screen too? Bombast and other techniques in the old days of broadcasting are undergoing changes. New technology allows the radio…

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CCPC decries 'toughened' rules on media coverage at House of Representatives

  CEBU CITIZENS-PRESS COUNCIL STATEMENT May 8, 2018 News editors and reporters generally recognize reasonable rules on media coverage to make the flow of information “systematic and orderly.” We are concerned…

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Cyber libel as 'continuing crime'

Why NBI theory in complaint against Rappler might lead to a ‘never-ending’ prescriptive period, which could be used to harass journalists and bloggers  [with additional research by ELIAS L. ESPINOZA] Cyber libel is a continuing crime when the…

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Libel, ‘false’ news now carry stiffer fines

CCPC cautions journalists Libel now carries a higher penalty of fine, from the old rate of P200 to P6,000 to the new rate of P40,000 to P1.2 million. That is…

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Download CJJ digital editions

Cebu Journalism & Journalists (CJJ), founded in 2004, is an annual publication with magazine format. It has both hardcopy and digital editions, with the online edition in two versions: (1)…

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Stet: Cabal or clique?

It was the mid-1980s and a period of anxiety for several women journalists in Cebu. A list of so-called leftist supporters in media was supposedly being circulated, and in it…

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NO SHRINKING VIOLETS. (Clockwise from left) Then The Freeman reporter Nini Cabaero, TV anchor and reporter Bingo Gonzalez and Sun.Star Daily reporter Edralyn Benedicto speak in a forum during the celebration of Cebu Press Freedom Week in the mid-1990s. Lelani Echaves (second from left) hosts Cebu City’s first television public affairs program, “On the Spot,” featuring Brig. Gen. Jesus Hermosa, then commanding general of the Visayas Command, with co-hosts Jane Paredes and Frank Malilong Jr. Stet members (seated from left) Eileen Mangubat, Echaves, Thea Riñen, (standing) Paredes, Melva Java and Benedicto, with Msgr. Achilles Dakay, celebrate New Year’s Eve at the residence of Cardinal Ricardo J. Vidal, then Archbishop of Cebu. (Contributed Fotos)

It was the mid-1980s and a period of anxiety for several women journalists in Cebu.

A list of so-called leftist supporters in media was supposedly being circulated, and in it were the names of women journalists. We had a lot in common: In our 20s; graduates of journalism programs in the country’s leading universities; energetic; idealistic; and we were women.

We were field reporters who quickly built reputations as serious practitioners. It was a time of political instability following the assassination of Benigno Aquino Jr., the staging of People Power I, and the shaky start of the Corazon Aquino presidency.

Eileen Mangubat, then Sun.Star Daily reporter and now publisher of Cebu Daily News (CDN); Thea Riñen, Sun.Star reporter and now CDN vice president for advertising, marketing and circulation; Edralyn Benedicto, then Sun.Star reporter and now bureau chief of the Philippine Daily Inquirer; and I, then reporter of The Freeman and later of Sun.Star and now editor-in-chief of the Sun.Star Network Exchange. We covered the political opposition, local government, the church, labor unions, protesting activists and the underground movement.

Lawyer Jane C. Paredes, then news manager of radio dyRC and now senior manager of Smart Communications Inc.; Nene Parawan, then dyRC reporter; lawyer Bingo Gonzalez, then a television reporter and anchor and now practicing lawyer; Noemi Fetalvero, then of GMA 7 and now columnist of Sun.Star Cebu; and Lelani Echaves-Paredes, host of the local television talk show “On the Spot,” and Melva Java, then GMA 7 news anchor, but both now newspaper columnists, educators, entrepreneurs, and grandmothers.

Misunderstood, threatened

Because we gave voice to the voiceless (which is journalism’s mission), we were misunderstood, mostly by people with small minds.

We were out to do a good or even better job as journalists compared to some of our male counterparts. We exerted effort to get to the truth, resorted to “off the record” sessions with controversial news sources to have a better grasp of issues. But the threat to our safety and sanity was serious.

Then, someone thought of picking a name for the group. Some names were considered until I remembered our department publication at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. “Stet” was the newsletter name of the journalism department.

“Stet” is a proofreader’s mark to mean disregard the change and let the original stand. In the age before computers, when editing was done by hand, an editor may change a word but on second thought find the original more apt. To signal to the typesetter to let the original stand, the editor writes “stet.”

We decided on the name “Stet” for our informal group. Our practice of journalism was questioned, but we soldiered on and stood strong in our belief in journalism principles. Let it stand. Let the practice of good journalism regardless of the journalist’s gender stand.

A Manila newspaper columnist once wrote about Stet and described us as “naughty” for choosing a name that means “Let it stand.”

When night fell

But Stet was not all work. We had fun in almost nightly outings to bars, sing-along joints, and at times the beach. We finished work by 9 p.m., left newsrooms after deadline and returned home past midnight or at dawn. The group grew to include men and spouses who understood us and were behind us in the struggle to prove that women journalists can be serious and ethical practitioners in this then male-dominated industry.

Twenty-five or so years down the line, Stet is still around with the women journalists and the extended Stet (also called “Stuts”) remaining as friends and bearing witness to weddings of children, births of grandchildren and deaths of parents.

Birthdays and the holidays are occasions for us to gather, reminisce, laugh, gossip and dish out commentaries. Our favorite hangout is the Nivel house of Judge Meinrado and Jane Paredes. New Stet members and friends join our gatherings. Non-journalists in Stet include a monsignor, a priest, a justice, a judge, lawyers, an official of a regional government agency, an educator, and telecoms people. There is no application form or opening or membership committee.

With women holding leadership positions in media now, Stet has become simply a gathering of friends kept together by shared beliefs and passions.

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NEWSROOM TALES: “Press photographer ko!”

Most guidelines of newspapers and broadcast stations include the reminder to wear one’s press ID “and other visible insignia.” That’s more useful in crisis situations such as protests, riots, and…

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Most guidelines of newspapers and broadcast stations include the reminder to wear one’s press ID “and other visible insignia.”

That’s more useful in crisis situations such as protests, riots, and the like to tell clashing groups that one is a journalist and not a participant in the conflict.

Not all the time though.

During a standoff in Bogo, Cebu, still a municipality at the time, when supporters of the mayor prevented Commission on Elections officials and the police from taking ballot boxes containing election returns from the town hall, thugs pounced on Alex Badayos, Sun.Star Cebu chief photographer. Continue Reading

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Cebu Press at a glance

The only community media gallery in the Philippines is found at the Museo Sugbo on M.J. Cuenco Ave. in Barangay Tejero, Cebu City. Called the Cebu Journalism and Journalists (CJJ)…

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The only community media gallery in the Philippines is found at the Museo Sugbo on M.J. Cuenco Ave. in Barangay Tejero, Cebu City.

Museo Sugbo

Called the Cebu Journalism and Journalists (CJJ) Gallery, the project was initiated by the Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC) in 2009 after CCPC executive director Pachico Seares sought to put up an exhibit dedicated to Cebu media.

After initial talks between broadcaster Bobby Nalzaro and Seares with Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia on locating the gallery in the Cebu Provincial Government-owned Museo Sugbo, Seares obtained approval for the project from the CCPC en banc on June 25, 2009.

On March 11, 2010, the CCPC en banc approved the memorandum of agreement between the Province of Cebu, represented by Garcia, and the CCPC, represented by its president, Dr. Pureza Oñate, to use space in the Museo Sugbo for the exhibit for 25 years, free of charge. The contract is renewable for another 25 years. Continue Reading

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Who pays for the microphone?

Five radio commentators (picked by CJJ for their broadcast experience, audience reach, and popularity) know who pays for the microphone. When a radio opinion maker takes a stand on an…

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Five radio commentators (picked by CJJ for their broadcast experience, audience reach, and popularity) know who pays for the microphone.

When a radio opinion maker takes a stand on an issue, castigates an erring public official, or praises him to the heavens, he considers the payor, his “boss.”

Not the station manager or owner, although the radio commentator needs to obey station and broadcast rules, but the public.

Remember what Ronald Reagan, in a debate during the 1980 New Hampshire primary, said when the host ordered the soundman to cut off Reagan’s microphone? He shouted, “I am paying for this microphone, Mr. (Breen)!”

It turned out that Reagan’s campaign did pick up the tab for the debate. And he claimed his right with honest vigor, which virtually won him the presidency. Continue Reading

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On the trail of a missing marker

To remember the sacrifice of Antonio Abad Tormis in the name of press freedom, a marker was installed at the site of his 1961 murder. But in July 2010, his…

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To remember the sacrifice of Antonio Abad Tormis in the name of press freedom, a marker was installed at the site of his 1961 murder.

But in July 2010, his son Antonio Jr. told Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC) assistant executive director Cherry Ann Lim that the marker had disappeared.

CCPC executive director Pachico Seares thereafter sent Lim and Sun.Star Cebu assistant news editor Gingging Campaña on a mission to gather information on the marker.

Campaña called the Cultural and Historical Commission of Cebu City Hall, but it had no record of a marker built for Tormis. Neither did the Zoning Division, which keeps all records pertaining to markers, nor the City Council secretariat records section.

What the City Council secretariat had was an ordinance and resolution, passed on July 13, 1966, naming the road from P. Del Rosario Ext. passing Aznar Coliseum to the TB Pavilion after Tormis. Continue Reading

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Watching media cover the elections

A year-long effort to enrich election coverage In the highly politicized Philippines, elections are major events. In the May 2010 elections, candidates, promises, foibles and scandals fell under media scrutiny….

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A year-long effort to enrich election coverage

In the highly politicized Philippines, elections are major events.

In the May 2010 elections, candidates, promises, foibles and scandals fell under media scrutiny. But the media were themselves subject to examination.

As part of its mandate to improve the journalism craft, the Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC) held a series of consultations from June 2009 to March 2010 to improve local media’s coverage of the 2010 elections. Continue Reading

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The Elliptical man

This article originally appeared in a UP College of Communication magazine devoted to the awardee and circulated during the awards ceremony. In the beginning was the printed word. Growing up…

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This article originally appeared in a UP College of Communication magazine devoted to the awardee and circulated during the awards ceremony.

In the beginning was the printed word.

Growing up in Sibonga, some 50 kilometers south of Cebu City, Pachico A. Seares recalls being a wide reader. This preoccupation was not unusual in itself as the town was as sleepy as any in the 1950s, and the young man nicknamed Cheking was not only the son of Ramon Seares Sr. and Purificacion Alicaya, public school teachers, but also distinguished by a total lack of athletic prowess.

But as with all first loves, the passion for reading, which was to spawn Cheking’s enduring affair with writing, flourished at great cost. To reach the town’s two bookshelves, the diffident, gangly teenager had to enter the town hall, walk up flights of stairs and go down corridors, and run the gauntlet of officials and petitioners hanging around public offices. Continue Reading

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NEWSROOM TALES: Veteran broadcaster

Those were the days when broadcast stations had no reporters and relied on the newspapers for their local news. One morning, S.D. Tecson, handling the morning prime news slot of…

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Those were the days when broadcast stations had no reporters and relied on the newspapers for their local news.

One morning, S.D. Tecson, handling the morning prime news slot of dyRC, marked stories on a copy of “Republic Daily” (fetched by a messenger from the paper’s office and printing plant along Colon, near D. Jakosalem St.). He numbered the stories in the order in which he would read them. Continue Reading

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Beginnings of Cebu media professionalism

By Godofredo M. Roperos IN AUGUST 1947, kzRC was revived under the management of the Cebu Broadcasting Company, becoming the first postwar commercial station outside of the national capital. When…

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

IN AUGUST 1947, kzRC was revived under the management of the Cebu Broadcasting Company, becoming the first postwar commercial station outside of the national capital. When the government required in 1949 that the radio stations in the country should carry henceforth the “dy” in its name, it became dyRC. The following year, in 1950, the Philippine Broadcasting Corporation opened dyBU as a competitor of dyRC.

The friendly competition went on until September 1972 when dyRC came to an abrupt end. It was ordered to cease operation at the onset of Martial Law. When it reopened in January 1975, the two pioneering Cebu radio stations had fallen under one ownership: the Elizaldes. And it remained so until August 1999 when dyRC permanently stopped operation after 60 years of being on-air, reportedly due to heavy losses.

On the other hand, the Cebu dailies fought their way to survival through sheer courage and determination. And because the staff members in the meantime agreed to work with only the assurance that they could get cash advances when ad payments could be collected.

Professionalism in the print media did not begin until the decade of the 1980s. In a sense, until Sun.Star Daily’s entry in the print media industry, it was largely a touch-and-go affair where the paper’s next issue would depend on the good will of the printer. Continue Reading

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The Early Cebu Press

By Resil B. Mojares Excerpted from “Cebuano Literature,” San Carlos Publications, 1975 It is in the pages of local tabloids and magazines that the great bulk of Cebuano printed literature…

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By Resil B. Mojares

Excerpted from “Cebuano Literature,” San Carlos Publications, 1975

OLD CEBU NEWSPAPERS. They started local journalism. Not one paper, however survived.

It is in the pages of local tabloids and magazines that the great bulk of Cebuano printed literature is to be found. For this reason, Cebuano literary history is intimately connected with the rise of local journalism.

Cebuano journalism began towards the close of the 19th century. Though Cebu is the oldest Spanish settlement in the country, it was not until 1886—seventy-five years after Del Superior Govierno came out in Manila—that the first Cebu newspaper was established. The early transfer of the seat of government to Manila relegated Cebu to the realm of the provincial. Since then Manila has been the center in the centrifugal dissemination of, among others, western technology in communications. Continue Reading

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Cyber libel as 'continuing crime'

Libel, ‘false’ news now carry stiffer fines

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