I am an emotional person and that trait of mine is evident in my outputs. Though I really try not to mix my emotions or personal biases in my write-ups, I think they still show up in my choice of words and composition. And from that, maybe, I subtly influence my readers mind. Journalism and Advocacy 101 of Luis Teodoro struck an arrow to my heart. Upon reading, I felt that a lot of journalists are having a hard time defeating their personal biases when it comes to reporting news, of which I, myself, do admit.
As development journalists, we are highly encouraged to choose an advocacy to uphold. As of now, I don’t have a distinct advocacy fighting for but, I am inclined to education, culture, and youth issues. I had experienced writing about youth and education and I can say that my emotions meddled on the process of writing. The article of Teodoro challenged me to make sure that my desire to uphold my advocacy doesn’t only depend on my personal emotions and biases but importantly on facts. And yes, maybe, some journalists gather data of their favor.
To expound on the previous paragraph, I will share my experience when I was taking DEVC20. When I was writing for my feature article about breastfeeding, I tended to gather the benefits or advantages of breastfeeding to the mother and the child. I was in full emotions that I had to prove to my readers that breastfeeding is really beneficial to both parties. My questions to my interviewees all led to the good side of breastfeeding. Only later on the process of writing did I realize that I should also take the other side of the story. I was too busy packaging my feature to appear convincing that I forgot the need to address what’s the down side of breastfeeding for either of the parties. Eventually, I figured out that it has disadvantages to the part of the mother. After reading Journalism and Advocacy 101, I realized that journalists should not forget their main task—to inform people of the whole story not just the biased side of the story. And this, eventually, will help the readers to decide wisely.
When you fight for something, it’s quite given that you’ll put your personal feelings for it. At the first place, the reason why you’re upholding something is because you’re biased about it. It’s just that in journalism you have to report facts and not just mere feelings and personal thoughts and especially in development journalism, one’s task is to present both sides of the story with again, facts as his or her grounds. As stated in Philippine Journalism Code of Ethics, “1. I shall scrupulously report and interpret the news, taking care not to suppress essential facts or to distort the truth by omission or improper emphasis. I recognise the duty to air the other side and the duty to correct substantive errors promptly.”