After you finish viewing the Media in Focus segment last January 15, 2009, please scroll below to understand the interconnectedness of our journalistic and blogging relationships (from my point of view). My sister, Noemi Dado, who is a new media publisher, has her own blogging community that strongly supports each other. There are many blogging communities. Noemi belongs to a group of mom-bloggers — its friends and allies.
Greg B. Macabenta, our NaFFAA National Chair who was elected in September, 2008 recently appointed me as NaFFAA’s Online Coordinator. This appointment clearly acknowledges the evolving power of cyberspace. With this appointment also comes great responsibility. As a coordinator, I am both in a position of support and front-line activity in advocacy empowerment and online reputation. Since I have always publicly stated that I am a community publicist for the Filipino community — and not a journalist — then it is the community’s experiences that mandate my overt efforts in making this constituency understood to the community-at-large.
I believe I am the first person to use the label, “community publicist,” to distinguish it from its more entertaining cousin, the “celebrity publicist.” I recall that sometime in 2005, during a radio talk show that Caroline Ocampo, Jacquie Lingad-Ricci, and I co-hosted on Saturday mornings, California State Senator Leland Yee (Assemblymember Yee at that time), called in — and upon recognizing my voice, exclaimed, “Lorna, you’re all over the place!” He was referring to just having met me the night before at a Filipino community event. And I replied, “But of course, Mr. Yee, I’m a community publicist. I’m all over the place!” (Something to this effect.)
As a community publicist, my goal is to highlight my community’s triumphs, achievements, trials, and tribulations to the larger communities — with one major aspect: I believe that I am being a “town crier” for the right reasons. It is not a paid position because the effects of my actions cannot be quantified right away. It is qualified by inter-linked and enhanced relationships that weather storm after storm — after storm.
Since I started maintaining and expanding my relationships via e-mail in 1996, I could not have imagined how viral my methods have become in announcing our events and activities to our Filipino American community. Thus, in 2004, I asked my sister to host my website, www.RadiantView.com. At that time, WordPress was just gaining its notoriety for its simple content management system — except that I wasn’t comfortable with HTML. I would just send Noemi the articles I wrote and she would put it inside my website. It would take me another three years to finally make the time to “teach myself” (with my sister, Noemi Dado, coaching me on yahoo messenger) the basics of blogging.
And here I am today, extremely grateful for the learnings I got from my patient sister. She is truly a major inspiration in my growth process. If it weren’t for Noemi’s guidance, I wouldn’t have reconciled (in my mind) the similarities between a journalist’s ethics and a blogger’s ethics. I would never have thought of pushing my friends at NaFFAA to focus on documenting and archiving our programs and activities online so that media would have an easier time fact-checking their news and views about us. I would never have been featured by Jeremy Zilar, the design technologist of The New York Times (in his blog), for announcing to the 350-plus attendees of the WordCamp 2007 (for WordPress users) that “My sister has this online campaign to take back the word ‘Filipina.’” I was startled by the resounding claps after I made my one-line statement. I had just announced that we were using blogging as a medium to impact social change. Imagine that.
As a board member of the Philippine American Press Club-USA, I am an active proponent of using new media to complement traditional media. Our Philippine-based Filipino journalists are wa-a-a-a-ay more sophisticated and knowledgeable — and our Fil-Am media has a lot of catching up to do.
I found the January 15, 2009 Media In Focus quite provocative. I was emotionally involved. I could relate to the heartaches of maintaining a blog. I remembered my fearlessness in defending a good friend when he was crucified by online critics and pseudo-journalists (and you know who you are).
I am mystified by many of my peers’ nonchalance in pursuing digital literacy.
We will persevere!
I can only appeal to my media and NaFFAA colleagues to “start somewhere today!” Thank you to Nanette Alcaro, my “partner in crime” at FilipinoVillage.com, for understanding what a bumpy road we have to traverse, with lots of detours along the way.
My initial comments after Noemi alerted us about the TV segment were:
Noems, I had so much fun viewing this segment because I could truly relate to the dilemma of journalists, bloggers, and pseudo-journalists who truly use the blogosphere to destroy the credibility of our Fil-Am community leaders. I can validate that you did try to contact the Pangandamans to get their story because I also used my own resources to help you. But no one wanted to speak out… The part about editing ONE WORD OR PHRASE really spoke to me. You see, bloggers can self-edit, especially the typos that they missed or crazily-arranged words that don’t express the message clearly. In my world wherein we use a blog’s easy content management system to have a website that archives or documents our programs and projects that impact social change, we try to self-edit responsibly. So, there are times that we can’t always disclose every typo when we’re very busy advocating for change . My conclusion: Do Your Best. Be accountable in public forums. And use The Bloggers’ Code of Ethics.
I have a long journey ahead this year as I struggle to stay 20 steps ahead of my colleagues in helping them become the “Techy Non-Techie” in using new technology and internet tools for effective communications.
It’s going to be a wild ride!