Pandemic affects media community

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Thousands of my colleagues in Mindanao press from electronic to broadcast, down to the print media, have lost their jobs as their respective companies closed shop due to the pandemic.

The economic crunch brought about by the pandemic has affected journalists all over the world, with print and broadcast media shifting to the online platforms when the quarantine status of the world hampered the usual operations.

The shift however has caused thousands of job loss, ranging from the most advanced countries down to those developing ones like the Philippines. Hence, its worse impact has it on the lives of the struggling community journalists such as those in far-flung Mindanao.

To date, there are over a dozen media outlets in Mindanao who opted to either stop printing and close shop, or, retrench and retain skeletal personnel to sustain minimal operations while beating the deadlines and usual grind for news.

Not to mention the pandemic’s impact on the lives of more than 11,000 workers whose fate to continue its operations was put to end on August 31, when the ABS-CBN network’s franchise was not favorably renewed by Congress. Such was a glaring double whammy for the media entity to overcome.

Indeed, many of my colleagues have become part of the figures of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) as the unemployed.

The situation does not only happen in Mindanao but it is happening worldwide — the economic condition has affected the vulnerability of the local conglomerates to wade through a stiff economic battle.

With business activity slowing down, advertisers need to prioritize their operations and not the promotions.

Revenue collection, of course, have fell beyond expectation.

The pandemic exposes the bleak condition inside the newsroom, some are not even given separation pay, nor the much deserved take home or pabaon because of the collection problem among news agencies.

It is sad to note that we become scarce in a period when we are most relevant as information is crucial to reach our people during the pandemic.

Some journalists even envy those who received the social amelioration fund and foodstuff—like any ordinary constituent. Journalists or a media practitioner is also an ordinary Filipino but may differ in ways that s/he engages to be able to bring the news or information that the public deserves to know each day.

Many would not believe that media persons also struggle to survive, especially those who are not working as regular employees or the so-called freelancers. 

People have a general perception that media practitioners are able and stable, not until one takes time to know one, over and above the prestige of working to educate and inform the people.

In these trying moments, many of my colleagues are out of the job, but journalists will always be journalists no matter what— because we believe that our job, in this time of crisis, plays a significant role in keeping the public informed.

Be it personal or professional, our solemn pledge is a commitment to serve, in and out of the newsroom, because we all deserve to know, no matter which platform the news is purveyed.

Be informed
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