“Local [TV] operates as an extension of the Manila head office, where sales and marketing efforts for national programs are implemented to augment revenues and ratings nationwide,” says Molina, who has been in the industry for 28 years now. “It also produces local programs that intend to provide access to provincial audiences content that [is] directly [related to] their daily concerns, as well as address the growing sense of cultural disenfranchisement of the local culture in the glut of all the national and foreign programs.”
“Local media gives us back our identity as Ilonggos,” he emphasizes.
Rhoda Garzon–Campillan, former ABS-CBN reporter and now media and communications instructor at University of San Agustin, shares that “in general, the local media operates harmoniously in Iloilo City. Media men and women cooperate to bring issues to its proper forum.”
She adds: “Iloilo media is true to [their] calling, which is to inform the people [about] vital facts they need to know. In my experience as news reporter, veteran media personalities are very accommodating to the juniors; they are willing to mentor the young breed of journalists.”
SOCIAL MEDIA AGE
Social media has become an important source of breaking news. People can know the latest events by browsing through their Facebook and Twitter feeds. Media companies — may it be print or broadcast — use social media to widen their reach.
Ilongga blogger Kathy Villalon says there is progress in the local media industry in terms of the use of technology. “More media outlets now have websites to cater to people who want faster access to news,” she says, noting that “gathering of information became easier now because of social media. A reporter can now make news reports based on updates posted online by netizens, with verification and proper credits, of course.”
Campillan and Molina say technology is very vital for the future of local media.
“We are now in an era where news reaches the public in just a blink of an eye. “The public are informed as soon as possible,” Campillan says. And “media organizations are now more dynamic in terms of technology [use]. They are not content with merely broadcasting and writing.”
Molina, who came from what he calls the “typewriter generation,” “embraced new technologies with open arms.” But he acknowledges his limits, so “I seek out young people who live, breathe and converse in the language of such technologies. [Now] I find great satisfaction in being able to tell stories in so many new audiovisual formats.”
Campillan also says citizen journalism — where participants (listeners/viewers/readers) contribute stories to mainstream media organizations — has become more than a trend since it empowers the ordinary audience.
Villalon agrees, saying the local media industry has been inspiring more people. “Some media outlets are now conscious about the balance of bad and good news, as it is always the latter that propels people to action.”
But she finds the need for local media to engage more in investigative reporting. “When I was little and maybe until the 1990s, most journalists I know were into investigative reporting. Nowadays, you can see a handful of them.”
Technology isn’t the only thing that dictates progress in the industry, Franco says; a media practitioner’s character is still more important. “In terms of character, many are stagnant. Oftentimes, survival is prioritized over credibility,” he says. “Self-censorship is lacking. Others are abusing the privilege and opportunity given them.”
For Molina, local media will flourish as soon as reporters, writers, editors, broadcasters, and producers are enabled by technology to tell better stories and reach out to more people. And “people can begin to appreciate what (the news’) worth to them is and they will start supporting locally produced programs.”
For Campillan, the local media can progress further if its workers are willing to harness their craft. It will “continue to prosper as long as there are committed media men and women who are willing to improve the state of the industry.”/PN