By Jean Aldemer S. Salgados | Editor-in-chief
Vol. XCI No. 3 — Aug. 14, 2019
Staff from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) held a Workshop-Forum with the theme “Write on! Press on!” last Aug. 5 at the Silliman University Multi-Purpose Room. The said event highlighted key issues in Negros Oriental as well as the work and importance of investigative journalists (IJs) in the Philippines.
The workshop-forum speakers present were Floreen Simon and John Nelvin Lucero — training director and researcher, respectively. PCIJ Executive Director Malou Mangahas was also present via Skype.
Ms. Simon began with a brief summary of PCIJ, its staff, and objectives.
A video of collective reports on Former President Fidel V. Ramos to Former President Benigno Aquino III was presented. Followed by a plan to update with the current President Rodrigo Duterte’s report.
According to Simon, PCIJ prides itself as an independent yet limited news organization relying mostly on relaying their investigative reports to mainstream media outlets.
PCIJ also creates documentaries and training modules for students and aspiring journalists; and workshops for print, radio, TV, online and citizen journalism.
Second speaker John Nelvin Lucero lectured a crash course on the basics of IJ. He gave importance to persistence and humility in relation to his experience in the field.
Lucero emphasized the importance of multiple sources and thorough corroboration to achieve best by rigorous checking in wording and structure, and ultimately conduct libel checks for legal safety.
In addition, Lucero gave a concise segment on data journalism. He stated that data analysis is a key component to retrieve crucial information from vast amounts of data — taking months to years at a time for thorough study.
PCIJ Executive Director Malou Mangahas via Skype had a 30-minute “Ask me anything” with the audience. She emphasized the equal necessity yet different approach of both journalism and rule of law towards building a sustainable and healthy government with minimal corruption.
When asked about the possibility of Martial Law in Negros Island, Mangahas replied that the individual citizen and community must primarily prepare for it, prioritizing safety.
Mangahas added that President Duterte is moody and unpredictable; being able to identify these circumstances and knowing how to react is important.
She ended by advising to always act independent in the context of being impartial, to tell the story regardless of your sources, audience, and the ones in power — to be strong and brave in the face of adversity.
The workshop-forum concluded with a news pitching from mass communication students. The PCIJ which consists of 10 members who carry out editorial, training, and research functions for the organization. PCIJ was founded in 1989 and will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year.