Corruption in media and transitioning from print to cyberspace are among the problems facing Philippine media today, according to renowned journalist Marites Vitug.
Vitug, who has worked with media organizations such as ABS-CBN and Rappler, shared her experiences with Journalism and Communications students on Monday during the monthly F. Sionil Lecture Series hosted by The Manila Times College.
She recalled that the biggest challenge for her was the transition from the conventional print media to a more diverse multimedia. “It’s like a vast empty space waiting to be filled up,” Vitug said, as she described what it was like creating content for the web in 2007, when multimedia was still in its infancy in the Philippines.
She said that although it was more financially sound to maintain a publication online, the demand for news was constant.
“Before the demand used to be every other day, now its every minute,” she said. Vitug said that because of the constant breaking news online, most media practitioners would forget to “see the bigger picture, see the trends and connect the dots.”
The speed of work in multimedia reporting was also a challenge. She shared that she was “glued to her desk” the whole time she was working for the website of ABS-CBN.
Another problem, Vitug said, was that the problems reported by the media were not give solutions. She added that “media will have to help” in finding solutions to problems facing the country, not only through raising awareness but through tangible acts that will help combat corruption and ease poverty.
She cited the philanthropic work of some big international media organizations in India, Africa or Southeast Asia.
Another issue, Vitug said, was fighting corruption in media, citing a study that 85 percent of media practitioners are corrupt. This figure, she said, goes up to 90 percent during election season, because politicians are always ready to give out money for good publicity.
This is why, she said, it is important for “media to report on media,” and to expose the institution to public scrutiny to end this malpractice and to avoid criticisms from the same institutions that the media practitioners are supposed to report on.