news, Philippines, politics, television

Thoughts on Sereno Impeachment Hearings

The central character: Atty. Larry Gadon looks on during one of the latest episodes of the impeachment hearing against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. (Photo credit: Manila Bulletin)

It is officially Week 3 of the so-called ‘Serenoserye’.

At 9:30 a.m. today, the sixth episode of the impeachment hearings against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will commence at the Batasan Pambansa. And based on the first five episodes of the ongoing series, all of the people involved have exhausted all the time and effort to reveal everything that is to know.

On average, each episode of the impeachment hearings last for seven to nine hours. Because of the severe length of the hearings, the media networks that are tasked to cover the event had a hard time keeping up, thanks in large part to other concurrent events that affect the country.

More often than not, live coverage of the impeachment hearings were rudely interrupted by a live appearance and address from either President Rodrigo Duterte or any of his staff (namely spokesperson Harry Roque). The President and his men’s constant interruptions have often made the hearings irrelevant at best.

It is always mandatory for news networks to cut from an ongoing Senate or House hearing to President Duterte once he begins to speak in public. After all, the executive branch is always a priority over all other branches of government.

But what baffles many is the treatment in which media outlets approach the hearings. On the good side, GMA News and Rappler provide an uninterrupted live stream of the impeachment hearings on YouTube, with GMA News using one that is exclusive online and not on traditional media.

However, the same cannot be said for ABS-CBN News and CNN Philippines. ABS-CBN News, in particular, provides viewers the feed from the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) and not one that is an independent online feed.

News5? Consider them extinct and moribund at this point.

With the impeachment hearings to continue until January 2018 at the latest, news outlets must find a way to maximize its coverage. There is no excuse for getting interrupted by another concurrent live event; someone should look at other manners with which the impeachment hearings are utilized.

If not, let’s just hope that Congressman Reynaldo Umali and the Justice Committee end each episode at the soonest possible time. Nine hours is just too exhausting to be honest.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Thoughts on Lack of Attention Regarding Palace Press Briefings

 

Secretary Ernesto Abella (here pictured with DENR secretary Gina Lopez) is one of two primary voices behind a press briefing at Malacañang Palace. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Communications Operations Office)

Secretary Ernesto Abella (here pictured with DENR secretary Gina Lopez) is one of two primary voices behind a press briefing at Malacañang Palace. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Communications Operations Office)

Press briefings at the Malacañang Palace tend to be underappreciated by the media.

The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte features two men who represent him during media engagements at the Palace. On one corner, there is presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, and on the other corner, there is Presidential Communications Operations Office chief Martin Andanar.

Both men have the responsibility of speaking with the media in behalf of President Duterte. Much of the conversation is usually directed on top media stories that affect the country, such as natural or man-made calamities, political controversies, and even the health of the President himself.

While the two are the primary voices of the Palace press briefing, they are also accompanied by other members of the Cabinet. They are here to discuss certain other issues that require immediate resolution.

Unfortunately, such live events are not taken for granted by a majority of media outlets in the country. Apart from the Radio-Television Malacañang (RTVM) which handles all live coverage involving the executive branch, only government station PTV-4 and private news network ABS-CBN News Channel have the privilege of bringing them live.

So where is the love as far as Palace press briefings are concerned? For some news networks, it seems like the appearances of Secretaries Abella and Andanar do not mean a thing, and that their only concern is with President Duterte himself.

Before making a negative reaction, here is the reason why news networks should also look at Secretaries Abella and Andanar. Their responsibilities as spokespeople behind the President are just as important in relaying information and opinion to both the media and the general public, even if they lack the powers that the President possess.

That said, the news media must carry these press briefings since these are deemed significant items to write about. After all, the President may be the country’s most powerful person, but even he/she can be human at times.

Overall, a press briefing at Malacañang Palace is just as necessary to cover as President Duterte’s speaking engagements. Whatever words Secretaries Abella and Andanar relay to the media will determine the country’s fate moving forward.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Thoughts on Prioritizing Executive Branch Over Legislative Branch in Live News Coverage

The executive branch (in this case President Rodrigo Duterte) will always be the top priority of news networks when it comes to live coverage. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

The executive branch (in this case President Rodrigo Duterte) will always be the top priority of news networks when it comes to live coverage. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)

It is never easy to cover live news events in the Philippines.

For outlets such as People’s Television Network, CNN Philippines, GMA News TV, DZMM TeleRadyo and ABS-CBN News Channel, following a live broadcast of a news event takes sacrifice and dedication. With that, they sometimes preempt ongoing programs just to get into the meat of the action.

But what if there are two news events that take place at the same time? Like for example, an ongoing Senate or House hearing taking place alongside either a press briefing at Malacañang or a speech of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Obviously, the priority of the news networks is the executive branch, who always has the final say in political matters. That said, it is mandatory to cut away from a live Senate or House hearing just to move over to either the Palace or President Duterte himself.

But for some, cutting another live event short in favor of either Malacañang or the President can be rude at times. For them, not all headlines involve President Duterte and the Palace, and on occasion, the Senate or House hearing could be the top story of the day.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that they can do. Focusing the executive branch over the legislative branch in live news broadcasts is a long-standing tradition, one that news networks always abide.

For those who want to get the news straight, there is YouTube to take care of. Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM), the Senate of the Philippines and the House of Representatives have their own YouTube channels that focus on their respective branches, and they live stream important events that are also seen on news channels in the country.

But for those who don’t have the patience to watch, just wait for the evening newscasts to summarize them all. After all, live news coverage is only for the most informed citizen.

In the end, news coverage will always be a complicated process. But at least there are alternatives to get the necessary facts to the viewer.

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