September 28
3:30p.m. editor-in-chief and PCIJ Board Member Howie Severino spoke about Reporting Democracy:Doing Journalism in Old and New Media Platforms in the late afternoon session of the PCIJ Conference at the AIM.

Howie of course is a multiawarded journalist who began his career in mainstream print media who has since moved on to television and new media.

Howie said there have been two revolutions in media in the Philippines: the first was the revolution of a free press with the ouster of former President Ferdinand Marcos and the return of press freedom; the second, of course, is the revolution in technology in the last ten years that has opened the doors for a new kind of information sharing.

For a very recent example, Howie discussed the impact of the new technology and the relatively newly discovered power of social networking sites during the wrath of typhoon Ondoy over the weekend. Non-professional contributors worked with professional journalists to spread information on disaster areas and people in need of immediate assistance; at the same time the two new partners worked using new technology such as Google Earth to give potential rescuers faster and more accurate information on areas that needed quick response teams.

Still, Howie stressed the continuing need for professional journalists as “verifiers of information, and moderators of comment.” While mainstream media should welcome the participation and contributions of new media participants, there are still stories that may only be told after the proper verification and vetting using journalistic standards. Blogger Marocharim pointed out it is unfortunate that there were some from both sides of the fence who have strong feelings against the other (hate each other’s guts, I think that was how he put it). There appeared to be general agreement in the audience that the two should be complementary and not antagonistic.

Mindanews editor Carolyn Arguillas asks how the networks/media organizations screen volunteers for the elections. Carol notes that some politicians may hire “volunteers” to swamp these media organizations with false or misleading information in the guise of citizen journalism.

And lastly, blogger Marck Rimorin, also known by bloggers as Marocharim, asks about the role and responsibilities of bloggers

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