Cebu media get ‘high marks’ for coverage of Yolanda

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Friday, December 6, 2013

THE Cebu media did a good job in covering super typhoon Yolanda, although their foreign counterparts were in a better position because of strong logistical support and sophisticated equipment.

This was one of the issues discussed yesterday during the 33rd quarterly meeting en banc of the Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC) presided by lawyer Jonathan Capanas, dean of the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R).

Businessman Bunny Pages, who is also a columnist of Sun.Star Cebu, asked if the report was true that the international media coverage was better than the local media, that it was more extensive, on time, wider and more comprehensive.


Mildred Galarpe of Sun.Star News Exchange (Sunnex) explained that members of the media in Leyte and Samar were also typhoon victims and their media outlets, including radio station equipment, were destroyed by the typhoon.


She also said the foreign media have better equipment, including a satellite, and they have more technical support and connectivity.

Superbalita Cebu editor-in-chief and Sun.Star Cebu executive editor Michelle So said her experience of personally inspecting devastated areas in northern Cebu and Guiuan in Eastern Samar has changed her perspective on competition in the news industry during disasters.

She said dealing with this kind of massive destruction with no communication, the media outfit that arrives at the scene first must share the information. That was why she posted some information on her Facebook account, she said.

She said Cebu media shared information in the aftermaths of Yolanda, setting aside rivalries.

Mia Mateo, a CCPC member, presented their assessment of Cebu media’s coverage of the calamity.

She said the Cebu media fairly reported the devastation, government response to the calamity, foreign aid, media efforts, in addition to human interest stories from survivors.

Mateo said the Cebu media gave daily updates on the death toll, the injured, the missing, the displaced families, the number of houses that was damaged, the evacuation centers and the damaged infrastructures and agriculture, with corresponding photos.

She also noted the Cebu media’s efforts to inform the public on where to bring relief goods, and provide airtime to encourage people to donate in cash or in kind.

Pecojon study

Ledrolen Manriquez, the acting national coordinator of the Peace and Conflict Journalism Network (Pecojon) Philippines, presented “case studies on the coverage of disasters,” where the media in Leyte and Samar were paralyzed by the typhoon.

Manriquez was invited by lawyer Pachico A. Seares, the executive director of CCPC, to share with the Cebu media the result of their study.

She said media facilities in Tacloban City, including radio stations, were destroyed and some members of the media remain missing and have been presumed dead.

“They did not expect it to be catastrophic,” Manriquez said.

She said the Philippine Information Agency in Tacloban City allowed some media members to use its broadcast facilities. When they started criticizing the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Trade and Industry, among others, the director of the government agency barged into the announcer’s booth and took over the microphone.

On the other hand, the CCPC has passed a resolution expressing appreciation to Nini Cabaero of Sunnex and Eileen Mangubat of Cebu Daily News for giving honor to Cebu media.

Seares said Cabaero is in the US as a Sandra Burton-Neiman Fellow for Filipino Journalists, while Mangubat is a Marshall Mcluhan Fellow. Mangubat will leave for Canada in two weeks.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 06, 2013.

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