I got a call last week from ABSCBN asking if I’m available to cover a press conference of The Bottomline with Boy Abunda in line with their 5th year Anniversary. They said the press conference will be taped as well too. Being an admirer of how Kuya Boy Abunda elaborates an answer, I said yes and started to think of what to ask the Bottomline Team.
When I went there, my friend Aaron accompanied me to dressing room 5 for the make up and told me that it is no longer a press conference but a tape episode for the show. I was surprised because all I know is that we are the ones to throw questions to Kuya Boy but it was the other way around.
After dinner they gathered us for a short briefing about the taping. I learned that the topic will evolve around media practitioners’ life. How a media practitioners collect stories, share stories, including the apprehensions we encountered in making a news. During the briefing, Ive learned that all platforms are well represented. From Television (TV) we have Doris Bigornia and the people from The Bottomline, from Radio we have Ahwel Paz from DZMM and DJ Chaha from MOR 101.9, from Tabloid, they also invited Julie Bonifacio, Reggie Bonoan and Vinia Vivar, from PR perspective is Aaron Domingo, Crispina Belen from Broadsheets and me from the online/blogging community as an entertainment blogger. Nini Borja, a regular bottomliner also joined us in the discussion.
Kuya Boy asks us about job security as a media practitioners. Julie, Vinia and Reggie says their jobs are based on the number of article. And can write as long as they have materials even for other publication – a freelancer style.
Tita Crispina, Chacha and Ahwel share that are secured because they are employed by their respective companies. Me on the other hand replied differently. I shared blogging is not actually a job, but just a mere passion. However as the blogging in the country evolves, one can potentially earn from advertisements and various campaigns.
Some important questions were also raised by how low the pay, media are getting from a single press conference invitation. It raises interesting thought on who protects the press from the system. Julie shares a single article will only costs 70-200 pesos, a way lower since the 1970 era.
Ahwel and Chacha from radio shares that the pay on radio is not really impressive that is why they opted to have rackets and other gigs such as hosting an event from various celebrity and campaign launches. They were very happy on the other hand with the kind of exposure radio is giving them because from here they get invitations to gigs as well as establishing a semi celebrity status in the industry especially going abroad.
Aaron now works as a press and media relation in ABSCBN mentioned that he used to write for magazines and various publications. But now that he joined the corporate world, his contributions to various publication are now for free because of the code of ethics and company rules. He happily shared that he can still write but only for exposure.
Tita Crispina Belen from Manila Bulletin shares that there is actually a special distinction and treatment if you are from broadsheet. She always got that importance at all occasion everytime she was invited to cover an event. Kuya Boy elaborates maybe because of the reach and circulation of broadsheet compare to tabloids.
Perks of being a media practitioner. Majority of us mentioned friendships that were build along the years of covering an event.
Suits? Threats? Doris Bigornia shares that she receives threats in the past while covering an important situation in Mindanao. She was prevented to cross another street as something bad will happen to her. “Ako hindi naman natakot. Mas nacurious nga ako kaya dumaan pa rin ako.” However she recalls one incident wherein they are covering a war in mindanao and both parties are throwing explosives at each other. “Sabi ko sa sarili ko, no news is worth our lives. Iisipin mo yung mga mahal mo sa buhay talaga.”
Reggie and Vinia and Julie remember they encountered threats on old articles they published. Reggie shares her editor always check on her article as her material were very prone to a suit.
It was indeed a very entertaining discussion with Kuya Boy. All the while I forgot that we were taping an episode for The Bottomline because Kuya Boy was very good in making the discussion a fruitful one. I was never pressured to make a point, as all of us are just telling our experience. It was a great opportunity for all of us there.
Of course we raise our opinion based on how we felt, what we experienced and how we saw things from the past. And we don’t represent the group we belong. We only speak for ourselves. I am very happy to get to know them more.
Thank you Bottomline and happy 5th anniversary to the entire team. The awards you received are testimonials of hardwork and dedication to your job! More power to you guys!