Saturday, May 07, 2005

Death of a newspaper/Patay na Peryodiko|What we truly are/Ano na ba tayo? (PJI editorials 8-9 May 2005)

Death of a newspaper
BACK in the 1990s when P26.50 equaled a dollar, this publisher of a movie magazine was clearing a neat P40,000 a week.

It didn’t take him three years to buy himself a printing press plus the land it’s housed on, a few hectares of farmlands and two or three sweet young things to plug into—he plied out two more of such reading fare. He admits his product is a trashy no-brainer. Admittedly, trash sells like proverbial hotcakes.

He was quick to add that he wanted a put out a decent paper, something that wouldn’t pull wool over the eyes of the star-struck and dumb-struck. He also conceded that the readership for a decent paper for the low-income groups isn’t broad enough— it would be financial suicide to put out a paper like that.

So think about it. Either dwindling readership or acute lack of advertising placements finally killed the Pangasinan-based Sun*Star Dagupan. There’s no touch of irony: the paper’s death came after Dagupan City trotted out a long, long stretch of barbecue stands to grill less than a ton of milkfish to install the city into the world record books.

It was likely kabaleyans have set their sights on bangus that can be nourishing food for tummies rather than a newspaper that may offer tidbits of food for thought. Maybe, Sun*Star Dagupan wasn’t much of a terrific read. Or like their counterparts in other key urban centers, readers opt to splurge over P300 a week to read fractured text messages on their mobile phones.

Dagupan-based Archbishop Oscar Cruz, as recent reports have it, has trotted out a list naming five incumbent governors, a vice governor and a mayor among the nation’s jueteng lords who ante up some P13 billion a year in payola to keep the illegal numbers game going.

We can only surmise: the P13 billion yearly sop money represents a measly fraction of the actual gargantuan proceeds generated by the nation’s passion for numbers.

It is worse enough that some journalists get shot for doing reportage, probably in an earnest bid to keep the people informed.

Then again, apathy can actually kill the paper in which a journalist plies out his report.

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Patay na peryodiko (Free translation in Tagalog-based Pilipino)

NITONG dekada 1990 nang P26.50 ang katumbas ng isang dollar, tumatabo ng P40,000 sanlinggo ang isa naming kaibigang tagalimbag ng pampelikulang babasahin.

Hindi umabot sa tatlong taon—nakabili ang lintek ng imprenta’t loteng kinatitirikan nito, ilang ektaryang sakahan at 2-3 batambatang parausan ng init. Dalawa pang ganoong uri ng babasahin ang inilabas niya. Inaamin naman niyang basura ang mga inililimbag ng kanyang imprenta. Pero humahakot ng pera ang basura.

Balak din naman daw niyang maglabas ng matinong peryodiko, ‘yung hindi naman pulos kabalbalan na gagatong sa kagunggungan ng balana. Pero andap siyang gumawa ng ganoong babasahin—napakaliit daw ng bilang ng mga matinong tao na nag-aapuhap ng matino ring babasahin kaya tiyak na pagpapatiwakal kapag naglabas ng matino.

Maiisip tuloy na katiting na bilang ng mambabasa at kakaunting pasok ng anunsiyo ang tuluyang kumitil sa Sun*Star Dagupan sa Pangasinan. Parang pinagtiyap ng mapait na pagkakataon: napalibing na tuluyan ang peryodiko matapos maghanay ng napakahabang ihawan ang Dagupan City para paglutuan ng bangus para mapasalaksak sa Guinness Book of World Records.

Baka mas nakatutok ang paningin sa bangus na pambara sa tiyan kaysa mag-ukol ng pansin sa peryodiko na may maidudulot kahit katiting na pagkain sa isipan. Walang kuwento marahil basahin ang Sun*Star Dagupan. O talagang mas maglalaan ng kahit higit P300 sanlinggo para makabasa ng balu-baluktot na text messages sa cell phone.

Sa mga ulat kamakailan, pinansin ni Archbishop Oscar Cruz ng Dagupan na mahigit sa P13 bilyon ang tinitipon ng mga panginoon ng jueteng sa bansa para ipansuhol sa samut-saring hudas at herodes upang manatili ang kinagigiliwan ng balana.

Maiisip tuloy na ang P13 bilyong pansuhol ay maliit na piraso lang ng dambuhalang halagang nahihigop sa bulsa ng sambayanang mahilig sa jueteng. Marami nang lokal na peryodiko ang lalago sa ilang milyong pisong maitutustos.

Masaklap: nahahagip ng punglo ang ilang peryodista sanhi ng mapangahas na pag-uulat para maghatid ng kaalaman sa taumbayan.

Mas masaklap: namamatay ang peryodiko sanhi ng kawalang pagpapahalaga dito ng mga taong wala nang hilig sa pagbabasa’t kaalaman.

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What we truly are

TOLLED like a bell into the head of budding warlock Harry Potter was this reminder: "It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities."

Four major TV advertisers chose to stop the flow of advertising support to two top-rating weekly noon shows that took sneak peaks into the lives of movie and television personalities. A gaggle of whiners must have badgered the advertisers to pull out their ads as it was pointless to throw money on programs that celebrate banality, hearsay, and dysfunction.

TV viewer ratings boil down to mere numbers. Quantity not quality racks up the numbers. There are lots of viewers eager to join the celebration of banality, hearsay, and dysfunction. These are matters of taste— de gustibus non est disputandum. Matters of taste ought not to be disputed.

The stoppage in advertising cash flow won’t spell the death of shows of such sort. Viewers will still continue to tune in to such viewing fare to trigger increasing approval of audiences. Thus, other advertisers who want to reach out to prospective buyers can be called on to replace those who quit.

Meanwhile, a recent survey plied by Pulse Asia revealed that dirt-poor Filipinos didn’t have too many choices to cope with increases in prices of commodities and services. The top of list choices were (1) seek new sources of income, (2) reduce food consumption, and (3) borrow money. For those who can afford, they coped primarily by reducing consumption of non-food products and services.

Policy-makers and take-charge honchos in government can dovetail their strategies with such meager choices to help the poor grapple with poverty— create and ensure availability of (1) jobs, (2) adequate, affordable food, and (3) micro-lending.

The government has to heed the danger signs from the choices in the course of action that the poor are taking to escape poverty’s clutches: (1) look for a job in another country (inferring that decent-paying jobs are scarce hereabouts), (2) pray to God for help (and these prayerful people are dwindling), (3) steal or engage in illegal livelihood, and (4) support those seeking to overthrow or change the government.

These tough choices can provide a reality check. These are warning signals. These choices can show what we truly are more than our vaunted abilities.

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Ano na ba tayo? (Free translation in Tagalog-based Pilipino)

TUNOG-KAMPANA na umalingawngaw sa bumbunan ni Harry Potter ang ganitong habilin: "Hindi kakayahan kundi ang mga pinipili natin ang tahasang magpapakita kung ano talaga tayo."

Apat na higanteng advertisers ang pinili na itigil na ang kanilang mga patalastas sa dalawang lingguhang palabas sa TV. Tiyak na nasulsulan ang apat na tigilan na ang ayuda sa mga palabas na nagdiriwang ng kawalang katuturan, tsismis, at kabalbalan.

Binibilang lang ang mga miron na tumatangkilik sa palabas-- hindi na susuriin ang katangian o kakayahan at talim ng pang-unawa ng manonood. Higit na marami ang nahihilig sa mga walang kabuluhang panoorin. Kani-kaniyang panlasa lang. De gustibus non est disputandum. O hindi na pinagtatalunan ang mga bagay kaugnay sa panlasa.

Tumigil man ang buhos ng pera mula apat na advertizers, tiyak na hindi naman titigil ang sandamakmak na miron sa pagtangkilik sa kanilang ibig panoorin. Tiyak na makakahagilap pa ng ibang advertisers na magbubuhos ng kanilang pera para suportahan ang ganoong programa.

Nailantad naman kamakailan sa mga panayam ng Pulse Asia na kaunti lang ang mapagpipilian ng mga hikahos para umangkop sa pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin at serbisyo. Tatlo ang pangunahing pagpipilian, (1) maghanap ng bagong pagkukunan ng kita, (2) bawasan ang pagkain o tiis-gutom, (3) mangutang. Sa mga maykaya, natukoy ng Pulse Asia na binawasan lang ang gastos sa mga bilihing hindi pagkain at serbisyo.

Sa mga bumubuo ng paiiraling patakaran at diskarte ng pamamalakad sa sambayanan, madaling humubog ng mga maiaakma para maitaguyod ang mahirap-- lumikha at tiyakin na may sapat na (1) mapapasukang hanapbuhay, (2) murang pagkain, at (3) payak na programa sa pagpapahiram ng pondo.

May masisipat ding babala sa mga napipiling hakbang ng mga busabos para umahon sa kahirapan: (1) magtrabaho sa ibang bansa (isang pag-amin na katiting lang ang mapapasukang trabaho dito), (2) magdasal sa tulong ng DIyos (bumaba na ang bilang nila, ayon sa ulat ng Pulse Asia), (3) magnakaw o gumawa ng labag sa batas, at (4) tulungan ang mga grupo na nagtatangkang pabagsakin o baguhin ang gobyerno.

Tila mahinang dagundong mula kailaliman ng lupa sa sasambulat na bulkan ang mahihiwatigan.

Ang mga nalalabing pagpipilian ang tahasang nagpapakita kung ano na ang ating kinahinatnan kahit ano pa ang ipagmalaking kakayahan.
















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