April 15, 2004
I went to CMFR today with a heavy heart.
I had been expecting that I would be working as an intern in GMA-7 this summer—only in GMA-7. I had been waiting for a message coming from them since Hannah received her message 1 pm today but they did not send me a word. GMA-7 did not accept me as an intern. God has His reasons for not giving me the slot I have always wanted since the application for internship started. My friend said, “when God closes a door, He opens a window—with a prettier view.”
I arrived in Makati with my two other friends, who were not also accepted in GMA-7, just in time for Ate Evelyn’s orientation. I did not know what to expect from there. We met Ate Evelyn before when we attended CMFR’s training for broadcast media monitoring and also when we submitted our resume in CMFR. Yes, we have reserved a slot in CMFR in case we would not be accepted in GMA-7. I was accepted at Today long before I submitted my resume in CMFR. I cancelled my slot there because I was still waiting for GMA-7 and I was informed that there were a lot of students who applied.
Ate Evelyn gave assignments after she introduced the staff of CMFR—Ate Carol, Ate Sweet, Ate Jean, Ate Chu, Kuya Bryant, Miss Lara, and Mrs. De Jesus. She did not give me any assignment aside from monitoring Saksi, because two nights before, Ate Evelyn called me to confirm my internship in CMFR, but again, I told her I was not yet sure. She did asked me and my two friends why we were there, since we were not really so sure when she called us. We have opted not to tell her the “real” story and instead said that we were “enlightened.”
I was assigned to monitor Saksi and do a discourse analysis on the program from April 19 to May 7. I am to report every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday.
I was not very enthusiastic during the meeting today. Somehow, I was (and still is) hoping that GMA would call me or send an SMS, saying that I am accepted. I am not yet losing hope.
I am at Wendi Peneyra’s house now to do a discourse analysis on Insider’s March 29-31and April 7 episodes. Kuya Bryant assigned us to do this one, along with Paul Mata. Paul is supposed to give us the tapes tonight, it is 11:00 pm and Paul is not yet here. We are supposed to e-mail the DA forms to Kuya Bryant by 12 pm tomorrow. I am starting to feel sleepy. Sana dumating na si Paul.
April 16, 2004
Paul arrived past 11 last night. Wendi and I immediately started to review the tapes to avoid ourselves to feel very sleepy. It was a wrong decision though, because we did fell asleep during the monitoring.
Wendi and I started at 11:30 with the March 29 episode of Insider. Doing the DA form was very confusing at the start. We could not decide whether a particular news about a presidential candidate was neutral or slanted. We had to discussed our points on why I think, for example, an FPJ news is slanted. I was particular with the words used by the reporter. Wendi looked at whether both sides of the news were presented. By the time we were watching the March 30 episode, I fell asleep. It was only for a few minutes. It was a good thing that Wendi was still very much awake, we did not miss anything. Wendi fell asleep when we were reviewing the April 7 episode. That time I was forcing myself to remain awake because it was already past 2 am. Luckily, there were only two election-related news stories on that episode because Insider concentrated on topics related to Holy Week. We slept at 2:30 am.
I woke up at 8 am to type the DA forms. I could barely understand what we wrote, I had to recall what we watched before we slept. Wendi woke up 30 minutes later and helped me figure out what we took note. The work was finished and sent to Kuya Bryant by 11:30 am.
An interesting thing occurred while we were typing the DA forms. My friend, Virge Salazar sent an SMS saying that she called GMA-7 and they told her that she is accepted as a GMA intern. My heart literally beat so fast, I could hardly breathe when Wendi called GMA. Well, we were not really accepted. I had to accept that fact. An HR personnel said, “kung wala kayong natanggap na text, di talaga kayo pumasa.” I did not show it to Wendi, but I was really affected by our rejection. I expected too much. It felt really bad.
After some time, I forgot about the phone call. I tried to look at the brighter side of being with CMFR.
The first day of work was actually fun. It was an all-new experience doing the discourse analysis. Tonight, while I was watching the 6-o’clock news, I found myself critical of the stories in 24-Oras. I did not just listen to what the reports said but I also paid attention to what the reports were really saying—was that particular news in favor for that candidate or not.
I guess I am starting to enjoy my work with CMFR.
April 20, 2004
As scheduled, I went to CMFR today with Wendi. I did not go to the office yesterday because the DA is yet to start at 11:30 last night, there was nothing to do yesterday. We arrived at 10:30 at the office and I was surprised to find my co-interns there: Almi, Tim, and Ben.
Kuya Bryant immediately explained what I had to do for that day. He asked my to download the monitoring forms sent to CMFR by their volunteers. According to him, I was supposed to be doing an article today for the CMFR website but since he was not able to inform me personally, I would have to do the downloading first. He assigned other people to do the job. The downloading task was not a difficult one, although I had to ask Ate Chu what exactly I should do because I was a little bit confused of Kuya Bryant’s instructions. I nearly finished downloading all the forms when Kuya Bryant told me to stop first because he had to fix CMFR’s server problems. So I was left with nothing to do. It was almost lunch so I just waited for my other co-interns before eating lunch.
When lunch was over, I had no other things to do since Kuya Byrant was not yet finished fixing the server problems. I felt uneasy doing nothing. I thought of photocopying some materials for my co-interns but they had already photocopied their research materials. Still, I asked Angela (Jeng) to teach me how to use the Xerox machine, since she told me that she already knew how to do so. After that, Wendi asked me to help her in her article but Kuya Bryant told her that she should be the only one to do the article. I thought of going home but then I also considered that staying a little more in the office would add to my working hours in CMFR. Even though I was scheduled to do the DA every Monday and Friday, I asked the tape of last night’s Saksi episode from Kuya Bryant and instead did the DA for that episode.
After I finished the discourse analysis for the April 19 episode of Saksi, Ate Evelyn gave me another job for the next day. I should summarize the statistics of the CMFR reports, for easier comparison. Period covered include February 16 – February 27, March 1 – March 14, March 15 – March 28, and March 29 – April 11. The summary will be used in the articles to be written by my other co-interns. Kuya Bryant let me take the job home, since Ate Evelyn gave it to me at almost 5 pm.
It took me two hours to do the job. It was actually an easy assignment, but I had to read the reports first because I could start the summary.
This day was a boring one. I had nothing else to do. I wish the CMFR people will give me something to do besides the discourse analysis. I want this internship to be a memorable one.
April 21, 2004
I input my summary at Excel immediately after I arrived today. I felt that this would be a very good day for me, since I started out with something useful to do. However, I only did the discourse analysis of Saksi’s last night episode. After that, I had nothing else to do again so I just helped Almi with her readings, in search for something useful to do. I hate the feeling of being idle (did I mention that already?) when everybody else has something to do.
I am beginning to wonder, what could I be doing if I were in Today or at GMA-7? And I hate myself when I am starting to think that way. I hate what ifs because they only make me feel bad because I know that I could not find answers to those questions.
Speaking of GMA-7, I heard that Hannah, who was accepted as an intern there along with Virge and Christina, was assigned to the entertainment section of GMA. She asked GMA to transfer her to the news and current affairs section but they would not let her, “magugulo daw ang schedule.” She is yet to start next week. In one way or another, consuelo din siguro sa ‘min ‘yon. At least I do not have to worry on whether my work hours will be credited or not.
April 26, 2004
The past days had been spent with doing the discourse analysis and filling up the data gaps. Today, two other people helped Wendi and I with the DA—Ben and Tim. Kuya Bryant told us during the afternoon that the DA forms of weeks 10 and 11 should be finished by tomorrow because he will need them for the next report. He did not sound demanding though. He has been so kind and “maasikaso” to us since the first day of our internship.
At first, Tim and I did the News Central DA but Tim worked slower than I thought. Julie was using the other television so the four of us had to share with the other television. Wendi thought of systematizing the work. Both of us will do the DA, Tim and Ben would write them for us. We finished almost three programs by 6 pm.
We were about to leave when Kuya Bryant asked us to stay a little longer to find out what had been done for the day since Ate Evelyn was absent. He told us that we were really very helpful and he assured us that we will be doing other things in the next few days.
I was relieved upon knowing that I will still do something besides doing discourse analysis. It was just a little late because Jobert sent me an SMS last night. According to him, the Philippine Daily Inquirer is still looking for interns for its election coverage. He asked me if I am willing to take the job. Without thinking twice, I agreed. He told me to send Mr. Gerry Lirio a message, telling him I am interested. I immediately sent Sir Gerry a message and he replied to me telling me that I am to come on Tuesday, 7 pm for the general meeting.
Guess what I am thinking tonight… Maybe this is what my friend was talking about… “a window—with a prettier view.”
April 28, 2004
Yesterday was by far the happiest day in CMFR. We only had a little to do because we had finished the data gaps during the morning and we were waiting for the three other tapes in possession of Sef. While waiting for Sef, whom Ate Evelyn “prophesized” to arrive by 5 pm that day, Jaycee and I talked about showbiz and basketball personalities. At ang pinakamasayang hirit ngayong araw na ‘to ay ang hirit ni Kuya Bryant kay Ma’am Melinda: “Bryant, 10:30 tomorrow. Don’t be late,” Ma’am said as she went out of the office. “Ma’am, kayo din po!” Kuya Bryant said. We were all laughing. Panalo ang hirit niya!
Almi, Jaycee, and I had to leave early though because we had to go to Inquirer today. We decided to leave at 5 pm, just in time when we learned that Sef would be arriving at the same time.
We arrived early at PDI so we decided to chat for a while. A little later, Cyril arrived with her boyfriend Jem and a UST volunteer Jerica. We were chatting louder than usual when the arrogant receptionist called our attention and asked us whom we were waiting. When we told her that we were waiting for Sir Gerry, she told us to go upstairs because Sir Gerry is already waiting for us.
I was glad to see familiar faces arrived at the PDI Conference Room—Kate, Jobert, Lawrence, Hannah, UJP’s Jamie, and Charlene, even UPJC’s very own Edson and Tarra. There were also other volunteers, two from UST and a few more from St. Scholastica’s College. We introduced ourselves to each other while Sir Gerry introduced the Metro reporters to us. It was amazing to finally meet those people whom I only knew through their news reports (except for Tarra and Edson of course) that I read on the papers. After which, we were given instructions on what we are supposed to do for the PDI election coverage. They reminded us about the dos and don’ts of a reporter, and told us to observe the journalist code of ethics. If there is one thing that really struck me about everything they told us, it’s this: Pag may pumutok, dapa!
After the reminders came the announcement of our respective beats. I was praying that I would be assigned to Quezon City because of two things: it is where I live, and it is the only place I know. Luckily, I was assigned to the Quezon City beat along with Lawrence. Ma’am Tina Santos will be our trainer but she was not there tonight because she is sick.
We will be meeting again on May 6 to settle everything. We will start our election coverage on May 8. PDI is going to give us free t-shirts, as well as notepads and ball pens. Another happy thing: free load and transportation allowance. I arrived home just in time for my curfew. I was so tired. But I was happy.
I am excited about PDI.
Today, I went to CMFR later than usual because I was still very tired about last night. I realized that last night that I am not meant to work on an 8-5 schedule. I easily get tired and I am not the type who enjoys doing the same thing everyday.
Nothing new happened in the office today. It was still a happy mode for everyone in the office because everything was finished, at least for us interns.
April 29, 2004
Wendi did not go to CMFR today because she wanted to rest. She had been doing a lot of discourse analysis and time keeping lately. I planned not to go to office tomorrow. Only a few people were present today, which Ate Sweet noticed. Maybe they were also tired because the past few days were busy days for most of them.
Jaycee and I already told Ate Evelyn that I will not be able to go to CMFR during the next few days because of PDI. We were a bit nervous to ask her permission because I had the impression that she is a little bit snobbish. I was relieved when she immediately allowed us, without having to get angry.
I did not do anything, aside from the usual DA forms I had to do. I wondered why I worked so slow today, I started my DA at around 11 am and finished two Saksi episodes almost 5 pm. Before I left, Kuya Bryant assigned me to do two news stories on the 8th Community Press Awards and the CFJ’s fellowship program. I am to submit them on Monday.
Everybody was relieved today. The deadline was met. Everything else is finished. Kuya Bryant and Ma’am Lara were in high spirits.
It feels great when you have finally accomplished something after having gone through a lot.
May 3, 2004
A new start
I finished my two stories just last night. I was in vacation mode last Friday and Saturday, I did not want to do anything at home. I forced myself to write the stories because Kuya Bryant wanted to read the stories by today.
I still did not go to the office today because Lawrence and I had a meeting with Ma’am Tina Santos at 11 this morning. I left Batangas (my province) around 7 am and I was thankful that the bus driver drove fast I was not late for the meeting. I arrived at the Quezon City Hall of Justice ten minutes before 11. Ma’am Tina was not yet there because she had an ongoing interview so she told me to wait near the altar. Lawrence came a few minutes after. We both did not know what Ma’am Tina looked like so we were surprised when she just called our name. Maybe she noticed us because we were the only pair seated near the altar.
Ma’am Tina immediately toured us around the place, made instructions on what to look for in every courtroom. She pointed the courtrooms that handle big cases. After the trip in the QC Hall of Justice, we went to Camp Karingal to look for a possible story for the day. She introduced us to the police there. Unfortunately, there was nothing big in the police blotter. Instead, Ma’am Tina instructed us to go to the area where a fire broke out last Saturday and do a feature story on what happened. The deadline of the story was 4 pm.
At 1:30 pm, we where at the entrance of Sitio San Roque in Barangay Pag-asa. Some of the victims placed their temporary tents in the sidewalk. Lawrence and I had a hard time entering the place because the once houses were really close to each other. I saw the victims cleaning their places, saving what they can still save—yero, bakal, kahoy—all burned but are still useful to them. We did not know what to expect of the place. Ma’am Tina suggested a few things on what to look for—political angle, human interest angle, etc. etc. Since we really had no time and since we gathered enough data on the issue, we decided to push through the political angle—that the fire was “politically motivated.” We never suggested this issue though; it came from the leaders of the affected areas. I wanted the human interest angle—the polio victim who died because he could not save himself because he was disabled—but his relatives were not there.
The experience was literally exhausting. We had to travel from Sitio San Roque to Bombero to Baler. We had to find people whom we did not know where to find. We had to ask so many people for information. But however tiring this day was, what happened today was a whole new experience for me. Tomorrow, we’re attending a press con with Ma’am Tina.
Somehow, I miss the comfort I had with CMFR.
May 4, 2004
Out of the comfort zone
Our story was not published today. I was not very optimistic that it would come out today because, first, we were lacking a lot (and I mean a lot!) of information on our news, and second, we crammed on writing that report. I was not disappointed not to see our names on the papers today.
Lawrence and I met at the QC Hall of Justice to do the usual round to see if there was any promulgation happening today. Ma’am Tina already gave instructions to Lawrence and we were to meet her at the Caloocan Police Station later in the afternoon. There was only one promulgation, involving not-so prominent individuals and it was postponed. Since we had no business on QC hall, we immediately proceeded to UP Bahay ng Alumni for the coverage of Anak ng Bayan’s proclamation rally regarding its endorsement of senatorial and local candidates. I thought we were late because only about 100 people were there when we arrived. Kate (nickname; he is actually a ‘he’) welcomed us and told us to wait for a few minutes because the candidates were not yet at the place. GMA-7 and RPN-9 were there but when they learned that only representatives of the candidates to be proclaimed would come, they left. We were the only media present at the proclamation, at least for the press conference. I noticed some reporters when we arrived but they were gone when the program started.
The supposedly 10 am proclamation rally began an hour later. We left after another hour. We went to Caloocan because that was where Ma’am Tina was. The press office in QC has no telephone, more so fax machine so she had to travel all the way from QC to Caloocan to send her reports to the PDI editors. We did not know the place so we had to rely on our instincts and the goodness of the bus driver to get there. Luckily, we got there, unharmed. Ma’am Tina was worrying, texting us every time and asking how we were. I saw her relieved when we finally arrived. It was actually a good experience—learning how to get to another place without really getting help from the one person who knows how to get there.
Our story was better this time. Well, I am not still very optimistic about it appearing in tomorrow’s papers, but I am more confident about it this time. Tomorrow, I’m going back to CMFR to finish my discourse analysis.
May 5, 2004
I was wrong about our first story. It was actually published just today, I was surprised to see my name there. “Even at fires, bets try to score points, win votes,” said the headline at the bottom of the Metro page. The thought was there, and I am referring to our original story, but Ma’am Tina polished the story. I will put that story in a frame. It was my first story published on the national papers. My next goal: perhaps a byline in the next few days.
I went to the CMFR office today. I still owe them a one week DA of Saksi. Wendi and I were the first to arrived there, thankfully with Ate Sweet, who opened the office. I immediately went to the television because I had to do four DA. Sadly, only two Saksi episodes were recorded. Kuya Bryant took care of that problem. He immediately called GMA-7 to request us to watch the missing episodes there, I just do not know if they allowed us.
Anyway, Kuya Bryant also uploaded my two articles on the CMFR website. I have not seen them yet though because I was so busy the whole day. Surprisingly, I was more tired today than the past two days when I was in the field.
I was planning to tell Ate Evelyn that today is my last day there, but Jaycee and Almi would still be coming back on Friday, so I told her that I would be coming back on Friday to settle everything. Besides, I still have three more Saksi episodes and other articles that Kuya Bryant said he would be assigning to me. I am planning to watch Saksi tonight and do the DA so that on Friday, I would just be submitting them to the office in case Ma’am Tina would be asking me to cover an event. Ate Evelyn also asked us to write a three-paragraph essay about our reasons for volunteering in CMFR.
I have not really thought why I volunteered. Thirteen weeks of media monitoring was not an easy job. We really had to be responsible (of which I myself was not ‘that’ responsible) and dedicated. When Donna Lampa shared CMFR’s goals why they were planning to conduct citizen’s media monitor, I was encouraged to try it out. I just told myself that it would be a nice experience and at the same time, I would be doing something for other people—for my country. I thought that I would be contributing something significant for the future. And I was not wrong about what I thought. After thirteen weeks, I found myself relieved and happy that we all survived. It was a good feeling having accomplished something. I am proud of myself and of my co-volunteers.
Tomorrow is another day on the field. Time seems to be passing very slowly these past few days. I miss going home to Batangas. I will miss Mother’s Day on Sunday because we will officially start our election coverage this Saturday.
May 9, 2004
I did not get to write for a couple of days because I had been up until 1 am because of the monitoring of Saksi and I had to get up early because I had to gather news reports in QC.
Updates: Two more stories got published, I earned my first byline today, and I did not miss Mother’s Day.
The story about Anak ng Bayan, which I thought would be published, was not seen on the papers. Lawrence was right. It sounded more of a PR article than a news story. The other two stories were election-related.
Last Thursday, we had another meeting with Sir Gerry. He finally gave the budget (*grins*) for our four-day election coverage. Mr. Isagani Yambot was also present during the meeting and gave us a crash-course on news writing. According to him, there are three words that we should not forget when getting/writing news: Accuracy, ACCURACY, and accuracy. He also lectured on accuracy, objectivity, and fairness in writing news. I was somewhat bored when he was lecturing, until Loren Legarda came in the conference room. Mr. Yambot said, “The next vice president of the Philippines” when he introduced Loren to us. I noticed that the people in the room did not receive her enthusiastically, just by judging the way they clapped their hands. “Matipid pala sa palakpak ‘tong mga batang ‘to,” Loren said. Talking about politicking.
The next night, I went to the miting de avance of Sonny Belmonte and his party. I went there alone, asking Paul for directions, since before that, I was at CMFR. That was actually my last day in the office, and I was in the verge of crying when I said goodbye to Ate Evelyn. Going back to the rally, I arrived very early at the place (COA, Commonwealth) because I was anticipating that there would be a heavy traffic before the rally. The rally started at almost 8pm, I was already there at 6 pm. As instructed by Ma’am tina, I just observed at what was going on and got a few interviews from the organizers. When the candidates arrived, I was at the backstage, talking to the police officers. I could not go back to the front because there were already many people at the place. Good thing that Ma’am Tina was already there I did not have to cover the whole event. I ended up talking to SB supporters, asking about their knowledge of SB’s platform and why they support SB. I was planning to go home when I saw a banner posted along Commonwealth, saying “Chuck Mathay, nasan ang aming bigas? Ninakaw mo na, pinagtubuan mo pa.” “Huwag kalimutan ang Payatas at Ozone tragedy. Singilin si Mathay.” I thought that it would be a good story so I asked a few people in the vicinity whether they knew who placed the banner there. Apparently, nobody knew who placed the banner.
The next day, we went to the schools assigned to us to get the feel of how the preparations were going. I was assigned to the Third District. I went to the three schools with the largest number of registered voters—Matandang Balara Elementary School (MBES), Aguinaldo Elementary School (AES), and Balara Elementary School (BES). Of course I did not know where these schools where so I had to call the TOC and the police stations covering these areas. After asking for directions, I immediately went to these three schools.
I first went to BES. I talked to the school principal, asked how they were preparing for the elections and why the computerized voters lists (CVL) were not yet posted. I was glad that she was very easy to talk to and was very eager to help me with my roundabouts. After that, I went to MBES, which was a tricycle away from BES. I was not able to talk to the school principal because everybody was busy preparing for Monday. MBES has the largest number of voters, with 12, 209 registered voters. The last destination was AES. I had to ride a bus to get there, then another jeepney ride to get to Murphy, Cubao. (This is what I love and hate with being on the field—I am able to know and go to different places, and I get to spend a lot!) I arrived there almost lunchtime. I easily got an interview from the principal, whom, after I asked what preparation they had been doing, showed off. She gathered her co-teachers, and showed them what to do with the election paraphernalia. After “showing off,” I again interviewed her and asked about the problems they had been encountering since the election fever started.
I left the place around 2:30 pm, and went to Kamuning to type they news article needed to be submitted by 3 pm. I finished typing half past 3, and I had not had my lunch then. (This is the other reason why I love being in the field—pumapayat ako!) after sending my articles to Ma’am Tina, I went straight to Batangas.
May 10, 2004
Twelve hours of being in the field! I am so tired all I want to do tonight is sleep until tomorrow afternoon.
As instructed, I covered the elections in the Third District. It was generally peaceful, I was thankful that nothing violent happened. The usual problem was of course, missing names. The situation was worse in MBES than the two other schools that I covered. The CVL were crumpled and were laid on the ground as the voters looked for their names. Also, the school was very crowded I could barely breathe. I was not able to interview anybody except for the voters because the school principal was very busy. Nobody was helping her in looking for the names of the voters with missing names in the master list.
After typing my article, I spent the whole afternoon in BES for the counting of the ballots. I was bored because there was nobody to talk with except for a few people, who were also busy. I left the school around 7pm but there was still no partial official result from the COMELEC. Well there was no COMELEC representative in the area anyway. NAMFREL volunteers could not be reached.
I was so tired.