For me, the most important thing the internet gave us is voice, thus, allowing ordinary citizens to express their views and opinions in blogs and in social networking sites. The internet has evolved from a mere connecting tool to a platform of exchange of ideas and opinions. With the wide array of information fleeting from user to user, netizens have also evolved from merely chatmates to a new breed of responsible citizens collecting together of what was known today as new media.
I do not consider myself as a journalist simply because I have no degree in journalism nor have I enrolled myself in such courses. The only journalism background I had was during high school when I Used to write and compete for our school newspaper but then again that is completely amateur. I am a blogger and I am confident and proud to say that I use the internet in order to engage with other users and opine on several relevant issues. Maybe I am underqualified but nonetheless, my voice being heard satisfies myself beyond what I expect. Writing my blog and for Blog Watch, however, I admit that in effect, I might be an online journalist no matter how much I don’t want to label myself as such.
As a “de facto online journalist”, therefore, you cannot blame me if I took offense from the arrogance the University of Santo Tomas displayed in itsstatement defending Chief Justice Renato Corona’s doctorate degree. I take offense simply because the statement itself is bullying and I refused to be bullied.
Though the attack may not be personally directed to me, UST ridiculed online journalism and its potential in developing the current state of Filipino journalism. Questioning the credibility of online journalists is out of the original argument in the first place but they continue by asserting that they are at a loss in considering online journalism having the same weight as mainstream ones. UST tries to act as an authority in journalism and starts to lambast online written commentaries yet forgets to check the quality of their journalism as reflected by their official publication. What is the credibility of an institution that allows its publication to resort to name-calling rather than arguing by pure logic? What is the credibility of an institution wherein faculty members writing for dailies try to impute malice in a supposedly straight-forward news article? This power-tripping definitely tries to discredit and bullies netizens rather than addressing the topic in question.
Online netizens may not be as qualified as the tenured UST faculties but they can provide raw, unbiased facts far from commercially spun ones they present in the mainstream media. Between the mainstream and online journalism, the latter provides a more precise reflection of public opinion. Between the two, the latter moves relatively frictionless and therefore can be easily disseminated. Credibility is not imputed by any authority; it is the reader’s judgment call as how Ms. Noemi Dado see it. Acclaimed Filipino journalist Maria Ressa recognizes the new media’s potential and asserts that both medium can go hand-in-hand in improving the current trends in news reporting and commentary making. What UST did is that they tried to create a rift between the two . As a netizen, I refuse to accept that. If they want to continue their shallow power-tripping, they may want to realize that right now, internet is the trend and continues to expand exponentially. Online media is the future— and UST should learn how to deal with it.