Through the initiative of Office of Public Affairs, the University of Santo Tomas featured seasoned documentarists Jay Taruc and Cesar Apolinario in the second leg of the Digital Media Leadership Series last October 20, 2017 (Friday) at the Dr. Robert C. Sy Grand Ballroom, Buenaventura G. Paredes, OP Building.
‘No story is worth dying for’
According to Taruc and Apolinario, there were stories that risked their lives. Moreover, Taruc said it is important for every aspiring journalists/reporters to examine themselves first and must have a reason to what they will do. “[You] always have to ask yourself: ‘Why am I doing this at the first place? Why am I in this field? Why am I telling the story? Mahalaga ba ito?'”
Apolinario added that reporters must be always cautious and, at the same time, backed with courage. “No story is worth dying for,” he said.
Keeping emotions in every reportage
While in the process of gathering data for the story, According to Taruc, the reporter must constantly manage their emotions. “If [emotions] get in the way, hindi mo maikukwento nang maayos ng mnararapat ang istorya,” he said.
Apolinario said the emotions can be articulated to the way a story must be told. “[Dapat] subdued [ang emosyon] para maka-relate ang mga taong nakikinig sa iyo.”
I-Witness documentaries “Inan” hosted by Taruc, which depicts a day in the life of a child with congenital genu recurvatum o “backward-bending knee” and “Body Collector”, hosted by Apolinario which depicts a funeral parlor owner recovering bodies of alleged drug addicts killed in Operation Tokhang in Manila, were also shown.
Educating FB Users Instead of Fighting Fire with Fire
Online content producer Mr. Jules Garcia gave a brief overview of the digital team of GMA Public Affairs. In the time where social media can also be a platform of online trolls, Garcia said one must still be a responsible journalist by addressing the comments without being hostile at the same time. Garcia presented a screenshot from GMA’s Facebook comment section wherein they replied with hyperlinks or sources without risking a negative tone.
“At the end of the day we are still journalists,” Garcia said. “Our job is to educate them.”