Day 14

I’m still in Makati and Sir Marlon Ramos is still unsure with what to do with me. I’m thankful with Ms. Allison Lopez, however, for agreeing to be my temporary reporter-partner whenever I’m in the Makati Press Office. I pass all my stories to her and she edits them before sending it to the desk. I hope Sir Marlon also edits my stories, but he seldom does. He was trained the U.P. way so he does not spoon-feed me.

Not that Ms. Ali is spoon-feeding her interns, but the mentor-trainee relationship was more evident with her. I also appreciate Sir Marlon’s style, however, because it keeps me on my toes. He allows me to explore and to find stories for myself. Because of his style, I experienced being a journalist in search for stories to write. Though I seldom left the office and transacted only through phone, I still felt like a journalist in the real world.

I would have wanted to be like the older journalists, however, who went out to literally search for news. They walked the streets and visited police stations to find stories. Today, with the advent of press releases and fax machines, going out is no longer necessary. Though I have to admit that relying solely on a single source for information is a no-no in journalism.

But there was not much I could do. When I entered for internship the system was already like that. As much as possible, however, I corroborated the information in the spot report with the actual investigators who wrote the information. Even so, I’m not always sure of the credibility of my data since there is a good chance that the police I’m talking too is also relying on the same spot report I have.

It takes skill and resourcefulness to corroborate the information. Sometimes I call the institutions or organizations mentioned in the press release to confirm what was written about them. On other occasions, if the people in the story are affiliated with offices or groups, I search for them online. Usually the phone number of the organization can be found there. I use it as a lead to find the person I want to talk to.

Like yesterday, today’s relatively quiet. There was nothing big in the South Manila beat throughout the day. No news broke out and no incident happened. We attributed it to the Pacquiao mania. Whenever Manny Pacquiao makes the news, crime rates tend to go down throughout the country. This may have caused the reduced crime rate today.

I still managed to write a story, however, but it was from a press release furnished by the local government of Makati. It was about the city’s housing project for their displaced informal settlers. The local government partnered with the Gawad Kalinga (GK) foundation and Banco de Oro (BDO) in creating a GK village in Bulacan.

The project would build 28 houses to benefit the homeless and landless of Makati. Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay said this was in line with the city’s vision to provide for the less fortunate members of their community. He added that if needed be, they would create a mini-Makati in the resettlement area in San Jose del Monte City just to make the displaced citizens feel at home.
The project is a continuation of the partnership between Makati and GK and was funded by BDO. Employees of the bank even volunteered to help in the actual building of the homes for 10 Saturdays. They offered their time and energy for man power and in doing hard labor to finish the project on time.
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