In one of my journalism workshops back in college, we were taught the basics of news-writing. After all the technical details, the prominent newscaster who conducted the said workshop sat down on the table, removed her spectacles and said, “actually, knowing that the headline catches the attention of the reader, you have to remember just one word. Of course books won’t teach you this. I speak from experience. Write this word down: controversial.”
This is exactly what is happening now at the expense of truthful reporting.
It is preposterous to note that the taglines of most media outfits champion the cause of truth when it’s actually just after ratings.
Of course, everyone knows this already. I just had to write about it all over again to highlight that NOT everything being reported by media is the truth to a story. This, after all the blatant twisting of news stories to favor what seems to be a smear campaign to discredit the Catholic Church.
Oh yes, the neverending Reproductive Health Bill. After all the debates in social media, I noticed that those who challenged my beliefs laid down “truths” they claim come from respectable media outfits and organizations. But with the word introduced to me by that journalist who challenged us to be controversial to gain attention, I do not anymore know what to believe in.
One pro-RH I had an exchange with cited that Pope Benedict XVI agreed with the use of the condom, linking an international news agency to his post. He argued that if the Pope agreed to this provision in the bill, why can’t I, a Catholic, concede to his statement? I was greatly appalled! The Vatican strongly denounced this controversial report saying, they misinterpreted what the Pope really meant by his stand. As expected, news agencies didn’t sensationalize this side more than what they first released.
Another disappointing news report I chanced upon was that from a popular online news channel saying in its headline the number of those who attended the Catholic Church-led rally against the RH Bill last August 4. 7,000 people was reported to have attended when in fact, more than 60,000 actually attended. Where is “in the service of the Filipino” here?
Really now, what is truth in media nowadays? What should one believe in and what should not? Whatever happened to journalists being vanguards of truth?
I know not what could be the solution to this. I think it will take forever to even cause a major reform on how media works these days. So for now, I think the saying, “Don’t judge the book by its cover” rings true; never judge the news by its headline or by the structure on how it was written. Do not be deceived by what is popular. Truth has been covered up in so many layers today that one has to be a voracious reader to get to the bottom of it.
Be careful of what you read, of what you hear. It may just be another controversy gone wild.