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]

JOURNALISM

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 www.descovrir.blogspot.com (my personal blog which now has 109 posts) and www.lyndaccorpuz.wordpress.com (my topical blog which I started December 26, 2008). For my personal finance articles, some of them are posted in http://business.inquirer.net/money/personalfinance/ (...) of the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper and www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/moneysense of ABS-CBN TV network.

Some links to my articles include:

FROM ENTERPRISE MAGAZINE:

Economic sharpshooter (Posted September 5, 2006)
http://202.91.163.124/?_s=8&_ss=P&P=3&PN=2050&L=S&II=113&I (...) ,113,B3,B3-3

Architect of faith (Posted September 5, 2006)
http://202.91.163.124/Default.aspx?_s=8&_ss=P&P=3&PN=2052& (...) ,345,B3,B3-1

Raising the bar on hospitality education (Posted June 6, 2006)
http://202.91.163.124/?_s=8&_ss=P&P=3&PN=772&L=S&II=236&ID (...) ,236,B3,B3-4

The son also rises (Posted May 30, 2006)
http://202.91.163.124/?_s=8&_ss=P&P=3&PN=717&L=S&II=113&ID (...) ,113,B3,B3-3

Branding is everything (Posted May 18, 2006)
http://202.91.163.124/Default.aspx?_s=8&_ss=P&P=3&PN=660&L (...) ,345,B3,B3-1

The moderator of Philippine business (Posted April 25, 2006)
http://202.91.163.124/Default.aspx?_s=8&_ss=P&P=3&PN=528&L (...) ,345,B3,B3-1

Recreating old Manila’s grand parties (Posted March 20, 2006)
http://202.91.163.124/?_s=8&_ss=P&P=3&PN=290&L=S&II=345&ID (...) ,345,B3,B3-1

Celebrity doctors on call (Posted February 28, 2006)
http://202.91.163.124/?_s=8&_ss=P&P=3&PN=134&L=S&II=113&ID (...) ,113,B3,B3-3

Packaging beauty (Posted February 27, 2006)
http://202.91.163.124/Default.aspx?_s=8&_ss=P&P=3&PN=117&L (...) ,113,B3,B3-3


FROM THE MANILA TIMES NATIONAL NEWSPAPER:

Part 1 - Grand plan to change face of Cultural Center complex (Posted May 16, 2005)
http://www.manilatimes.net/others/special/2005/may/16/2005 (...)

Part 2 - ‘Commercialized’ CCP embraces the poor (Posted May 17, 2005)
http://www.manilatimes.net/others/special/2005/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.


© LYNDA C. CORPUZ
Web address for this interview: http://www.whohub.com/lyndaccorpuz
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