Colleague exhorts fellow community journalists to travel and go global

By Danyeva Grace Donato/ PNS

ILOILO CITY – In this age of cyber technology and unlimited information, the time has beckoned for journalists in the countryside to take part in prominent activities abroad by being present in venues where the events are taking place.

This was the curt message given by journalist Alex Vidal to his fellow community-based media practititoners as the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP)-Iloilo Chapter led by Ronel Sorbito celebrates its “KBP Week” starting with a sportsfest at the La Paz multi-purpose gym, here on September 15.

Vidal, associate editor of Texas-based Philippine News Service (PNS), said: “We, community journalists, should not limit ourselves in the gathering of facts from local sources and from those spoon-fed to us by our national and international counterparts.”

“We should rise beyond this psychological barrier and go where the action is and be a witness to history as it unfolds,” Vidal said, as he exhorted his colleagues to travel and “discover the beauty and thrill of being part of the event that we are covering.”

“By being physically present,” he stressed, “we don’t only report the events as they happen; we become part of the events and we enhance our perspectives and increase our knoweldge; thus, our intellectual growth and exposure to new continues.”

Vidal, former president of Iloilo Press Club, hailed as example the three Iloilo broadcast journalists – Jay D. Balnig, Joel Tormin, and Alvin Dennis Arabang – for “making a giant step in helping shape the history of broadcast industry in this part of the county with their forthcoming historic coverage of the US elections.”

“They will make history because they dared,” stressed Vidal, who helped inspire them to try their luck in applying for visa for the purpose. “The efforts and sacrifices that they went through should serve as inspiration to their colleagues who also wish to follow their footsteps.”

The trio’s trip to the United States will be officially the first bold move of any media entity – print, TV or broadcast— in Western Visayas to send a reportorial team to do a comprehensive reportage of the event which is universally recognized and is expected to generate billions of audience all over the world.

“We should prove to our counterparts in Metro Manila that we, too, can conquer the world through our own initiative and creativity. We should show them that Ilonggo journalists are among the best not only in the Philippines but also in the whole universe,” Vidal pointed out. “Next to the Beijing Olympics, the most popular event this year is the skirmish between John McCain and Barack Obama.”

After the US elections on Nov. 4, other international events that are worth covering “live”, according to Vidal, is the Oscar De La Hoya versus Manny Pacquiao megabuck fight on December 6 in Las Vegas, Nevada and the 2012 London Olympics, among others.