Monday, February 16, 2009

Plugging - me in whohub

I got an invite to participate in whohub - a directory of interviews with professionals in the fields of communication, arts, technology, marketing, and any other activity with a creative flair.

Here goes my interview: Pardon the shameless plugging)

Interview with:
LYNDA C. CORPUZ [lyndaccorpuz]


What is your specialty? What subjects do you deal with?
I think I have no specialty at all, as my experience will show: at the moment, I do personal finance stories, business features, business process outsourcing/ICT, parenting, beauty and health articles for various publications and companies. But most of the bulk of my work recently are doing profiles with various personalities - in business, show business, and whoever who is willing to be interviewed, given a particular topic required by my publication/s.

On occasions, I also give lectures and conduct seminars/workshops for campus journalists (for grade school, secondary, and tertiary levels).

In which media do you presently work or have you worked?
Presently, I do personal finance stories for a bi-monthly magazine here in the Philippines, MoneySense (where I also serve as the managing editor). I also write parenting, business process outsourcing, beauty and health articles for various publications and companies. Prior to this, I was doing business-lifestyle features for Enterprise magazine (sister publication of Computerworld and PC World Philippine editions). Before this, I was with the lifestyle and entertainment sections of The Manila Times daily newspaper, where mostly I covered the arts and culture beat. Back in college, I was special reports editor for the 80-year-old student publication, The Varsitarian, of the University of Santo Tomas. Back in high school and elementary, I was actively joining - and luckily winning in campus journalism competitions.

Please list a web address where where one can view an example of your work.Most of my recent works, I repost them in (my personal blog which now has 109 posts) and (my topical blog which I started December 26, 2008). For my personal finance articles, some of them are posted in (...) of the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper and of ABS-CBN TV network.

Some links to my articles include:


Economic sharpshooter (Posted September 5, 2006) (...) ,113,B3,B3-3

Architect of faith (Posted September 5, 2006) (...) ,345,B3,B3-1

Raising the bar on hospitality education (Posted June 6, 2006) (...) ,236,B3,B3-4

The son also rises (Posted May 30, 2006) (...) ,113,B3,B3-3

Branding is everything (Posted May 18, 2006) (...) ,345,B3,B3-1

The moderator of Philippine business (Posted April 25, 2006) (...) ,345,B3,B3-1

Recreating old Manila’s grand parties (Posted March 20, 2006) (...) ,345,B3,B3-1

Celebrity doctors on call (Posted February 28, 2006) (...) ,113,B3,B3-3

Packaging beauty (Posted February 27, 2006) (...) ,113,B3,B3-3


Part 1 - Grand plan to change face of Cultural Center complex (Posted May 16, 2005) (...)

Part 2 - ‘Commercialized’ CCP embraces the poor (Posted May 17, 2005) (...)

What is "news"?
News, by definition, is still the same as how it is traditionally defined - it is a timely account of an event or a happening. Through the years, we see and read and listen to news evolve as not only timely and informative and accurate, it also has a great dose of entertainment, plus it is delivered in a more featurized, appealing manner.

To you, what is objectivity?
As long as you do your journalistic work in an ethical manner, you are exercising objectivity. But I no longer see objectivity as something without taking side, for the fact that journalists go out there to gather their stories, is in itself, a fulfillment of an angle or slant they're pursuing.

What is the best headline you have ever read?
So far, it is about that visual of hope the whole world has seen out of the Australia's wildfires - when Sam the Koala was given a new lease of life, finishing three bottles of water, given by good samaritan, volunteer fire fighter David Tree.

What headline would you like to see printed one day in the newspaper?
"The world is now a better place to live in" - I mean, enough of the tiring, depressing, stories we see or read or listen to everyday. But then again, news thrives on negativity (no news is good news?).

Which paper do you buy on Sundays? Where do you read it?
I don't buy newspapers anymore - I get my dose of news/features from the online edition of Philippine Daily Inquirer, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Australia's The Herald Sun, The Age, and The Australian (following Aussie newspapers is partly because my fiance is an Aussie himself, and having been there twice [and visiting again soonest], and the possibility of living there, I somehow try to equip myself with the goings-on there).

Does freedom of expression end where the editorial line begins?
I say there is freedom of expression as long as you get to air or write your side of the story. What is affecting though is when the business side of journalism gets in the way, letting the corporate goings-on rule, and disrupts the day-to-day running of what is supposed to be an independent business that is the press/media.

Do you feel that analytical and investigative journalism is being lost?
I say it is not all at lost, it is just that the press/media of today find more room for infotainment to fill their space and air time. Here in the Philippines, I say we're blessed to have the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) and Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), which have become the measure of breakthrough reportage in the country, which started to really thrive after dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos was ousted during People Power of 1986. Investigative Journalism is also being taught in colleges/universities here, offering Journalism programs, encouraging students to be more in-depth toward their attitude to an event or happening, or find something that is worth covering/writing about.

With a camera on every mobile phone, is every citizen becoming a correspondent?
Yes, a medium such as a camera phone has become a powerful tool to make every citizen a correspondent - as what being practiced/encouraged here by an early prime time newscast, TV Patrol World, where it has a segment that is dedicated to citizen reporting. Then again, there is always a room to abuse, so for media outfits to use such citizen reports, a thorough examination must be made of the information presented.

How would you explain the boom of the tabloid press?
The tabloid press is booming because a portion of the newspaper audiences grab their offer - an offer presented more appealing than other newspapers stiffly present to them. The tabloid press, while it has its downsides (sensationalized reportage tops), has also, in a way, makes the press industry alive - and still makes some people to read, which is still important when we see a dwindling number of audiences preferring the Internet offer versus the newspapers.

What can you teach us about the art of the interview?
Nothing beats the basics - research about your interviewee, about your topic and listen for the answers - and the clues that might require follow-ups. My challenge in doing profiles is to present my subject in a different light - like interviewing celebrities to grace the cover of MoneySense, our thrust is always to feature them as money-savvy individuals also. Learning to adjust to these personalities' moods and schedules is also the key, as I learn to prune my questions to the essentials, at the same time, I give them more chance to elaborate on their answers by asking follow-ups if the time permits.

What is your position regarding the right to privacy of famous people?
I respect it when my sources don't want to talk about a topic - or request a certain portion of our interview to be off the record. While they are famous, they are still people who deserve some privacy. Of course, personalities who are very willing to talk makes my job easier. But then again, I always find something new with my interviewees, and that's what I present (within ethical limits, of course).

Please list well-known people you have interviewed.
Most of my interviewees are Filipino personalities; like singer/songwriter Gary Valenciano and wife/manager Angeli; host of Survivor Philippines Paolo Bediones; former swimming Olympian and celebrity mom Christine Jacob-Sandejas; TV journalist Ricky Carandang; show biz couple Anthony and Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan and their four children; TV host, Optical Media Board chairperson, and the one who popularized the Papaya dance craze (which Good Morning America featured) Edu Manzano; celebrity doctor to the stars Dr. Vicky Belo and her heir apparent Cristalle; popular celebrity endorser and a politician's wife Dawn Zulueta-Lagdameo; box-office star and multimedia artist and heartthrob Piolo Pascual. And as of this writing, I might be interviewing (or writing about) our boxing champion who's making name globally (guess who?)

Apart from such show biz personalities, I also interviewed personalities from various fields, like book author and speaker Martin Roll (Asian Branding Strategy book); Philippine central bank governor Amando Tetangco, Jr.; Cultural Center of the Philippines president Nestor Jardin; celebrity doctors and couple Dr. Manny and Pie Calayan; Philippine tourism Secretary Ace Durano; Cebu Pacific airlines and 2005 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and taipan's son, John Gokongwei, Jr; National Bookstore (largest bookstore chain here) matriarch and 2004 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Socorro Ramos; seasoned radio personality, the late Dely Magpayo, and among other personalities.

While I attended twice or thrice an event where the Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was present, I wasn't able to interview her though (even if I am five steps or 3 tables away from her, haha. She rarely grant interviews, and mostly, only with the Palace reporters).

Would you say the journalism blog is revolutionizing the profession?
Yes, it is revolutionalizing the profession. For me, I see some journalists who not only blog about the current events, but more so, use their blogs as an avenue to express their own voice about a topic, without really worrying about what their press/media outfit has to say. That way, it is cathartic for us also, as we find ourselves writing, expressing about what we want, in our very own site in the cyberspace.

Will the paper press disappear?
To borrow the line of a newspaper editor in chief (who we had a chance to interview for our master's class in History of the Philippine Press), she says, to put it simply, the newspapers will remain - you can bring a newspaper to the toilet/bathroom while doing your morning ritual - you can't really do that with your laptop & the Internet (unless your bath/toilet room has Wi-Fi).

The paper press is recognizing where it stands now, and they know their survival is dependent on how quick or slow they adapt to changes - so far, with convergence, we see them holding their own against the Internet. Advertising-wise, many advertisers still prefer to advertise with these big newspapers, apart from advertising using other media like the TV, radio, Internet, train systems, billboards, and the likes.

What are your thoughts of the free papers distributed in cities?
Of course, they have their own agenda - still they help nurture the reading culture, and with that, they're doing their significant share.

What is the book you would like to write?
I would like to try write a creative non-fiction piece, something like Tom Wolfe or Joan Didion or the Philippines' very own Nick Joaquin (a.k.a. Quijano De Manila) is very good at (while I try to inject some literary journalism techniques in my writing, I still mainly follow what is being prescribed by my publication).

Is there a motto or ethical principle that clarifies your decisions in moments of confusion?
"When in doubt, ask." There were times in the course of my work that I was in charged for the publication, while I know what to do for most of the time, but when I am in doubt, I try to reach out to my bosses for their say - if I can put things on hold to bargain some time to hear what my bosses say, I do. If I can't reach out to them, I decide and confirm that with the other bosses outside of my department (which I did most of the time when I was in the newspaper). And I would explain to my bosses since they're unavailable for comment, and the pages have to run already, I decided on that - with consent from the other authorities (or day editor/s) available at that time.

What advice would you give to someone who has just left university and wishes to start in the profession?Be welcoming of criticisms, always polish your writing, be abreast with the goings-on around you, have the initiative, and it will not make you stupid to ask - there are people in the industry who are more than willing to help you.

Web address for this interview:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hope springs eternal

Killer thirst: Firefighter David Tree shares his water with Sam the koala at Mirboo North in Victoria's Gippsland region. Picture: Mark Pardew

I only believed it was that damaging when my fiance SMS me Sunday afternoon that the holiday house we stayed in Marysville, owned by his friend Carol, was already gone - burnt, in the horrific bushfires that swept that part of the Victorian state.

Flashes of lush green sceneries came back to me. I saw those on our way to Marysville to spend the Australia Day holiday last year. It was a refreshing sight for someone like me whose idea of sceneries are mostly the cold flyovers, the steel-laden train ways, massive buildings that dot the cities I cross over on my way to work or to any of my appointment.

The horror, the Australian officials say, is too much to handle and they are grimly expecting for the death toll to climb to 300 (as of yesterday, it was confirmed that two Fil-Aussies have perished in the fires).

I remember before asking my fiance if they encounter bushfires there (as massive as what they deal with in parts of the US - where I get my idea of bushfires, beamed through global media reports). I had no idea a year after my first visit to Australia, a horror of such magnitude was to happen.

It will take years, many years, to rebuild the towns destroyed, to revive the environment, to recover from the lives’ lost, considering the current extent of damages the bushfires made.

Arson is also suspected for one of the bushfires that happened. Fiance said he wishes the death penalty to be reimplemented in their country, to punish the one or those responsible for the bushfires. I say, it will not be enough considering all that was lost in that tragic event.

My fiance said Carol is all right, and is considering to build a new home in the same site - a site, a home, that hosted fond memories of her childhood, family, and grown-up friendships. To me, it was a place where I was welcomed by her and husband Bill, by my fiance and his friends, and it was a warm home to me in that short stay I spent there.

I am no stranger to disasters. The closest I can deal with was the July 16, 1990 killer quake that hit the greater part of Luzon (I was in Grade 3, at school, after that massive rain, there we saw our teacher was like dancing in front of us, then the trophies in the wooden cabinet fell, and we’re told to go to the school grounds, and all I remember I was really crying. And whenever it rains hard here, the images of that day 18 years ago come alive to me).

The Philippines is a natural disaster-prone country - lying in the typhoon zone and including in the Pacific Ring of Fire. While I haven’t experienced other disasters most of my fellow Filipinos endured in the recent past, I say, we have the resilience to withstand any crisis, to move on from any disaster, to rebuild, little by little.

Such we can share to those who are affected by the bushfire disaster in Australia. Be strong in spirit and all that was lost will be gained back, and hopefully more.

To Carol, if this is of any consolation, I say, your lovely house in Marysville was more than that. It was a home you graciously shared, and you shared it with me. And while it was gone, the memories you have, and the memories I have of my stay there, will forever remain.

Yes, hope shouldn’t be robbed from us no matter what problem we have. And Sam the Koala and the good samaritan, volunteer firefighter David Tree touchingly taught us that. This also made me hopeful I will still see a koala like Sam (my past two visits I haven’t seen a koala yet), and reminds me a simple act of kindness can truly, improve lives.

Let that photo of Sam and David inspire us, and hope for the best to come, not only from the disaster there in Australia, but let us always remain hopeful (and work for the best) to better our daily lives.

For the video of Sam and David, click here.

Photo of Sam and David, from The Herald Sun.

For my photos of Marysville and the rest of my stay in Melbourne, click here.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Plugging - MoneySense's 2nd anniversary

Improved MoneySense
New look, new sections for the magazine’s second year

It maybe sporting a new look, but MoneySense, the country’s only personal finance magazine, has just improved, in time for its second anniversary.

A more compact and more attention-grabbing magazine is how MoneySense welcomes 2009. Still information packed to arm its audiences with practical tips to aid their financial lives, the issue is also adding additional sections, like Savvy Investor, offering investment primers and comparing stocks and funds, and Income Earner, featuring money-making opportunities and career advice.

Its regular sections, like Easy Money has become more interactive, while Smart Spender is now more diverse in advising how you can get the best value for your money.

This special issue also carries features like where to invest in 2009, know if your bank is safe, keep your money secure this year of crisis, and how actress and multi-endorser Dawn Zulueta, continues to enjoy her hard-earned success. MoneySense also has stories on global franchises under $50,000, money market funds, personal loans, health insurance, and dollar time deposits.

Currently available in over 200 outlets nationwide, MoneySense is founded by veteran business and finance journalists with a combined 50 years of publishing experience. To learn more about MoneySense, visit For subscriptions, contact 339-3361, 728-1073 or email