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Rodrigo on the Manila Chronicle’s coverage of Magsaysay’s plane crash

From The Power and the Glory: The Story of the Manila Chronicle 1945-1998 by Raul Rodrigo:

(Pic: http://lopezseum.blogspot.com)

Raul Gonzales, who was a sud-editor at the desk, recalled: “When the Magsaysay crash happened, they had nobody to turn to. They couldn’t get anybody to cover; it was a slow day and most of the reporters had left. I got a call at the house for me to cover the Malacañang events. I stayed with Mrs. Magsaysay and covered the developments there because I am familiar with Malacañang and that helped a lot. So we were feeding the Chronicle with bits of news—until finally we confirmed that the plane had crashed and that only Mr. [Nestor] Mata had survived. I was reporting from Malacañang for a couple of days. I also wrote the story on the succession. At that time, nobody knew what the ‘P’ in Carlos P. Garcia was—‘Polistico.’”
Raul added: “I was there in Malacañang with Fernando Lopez’s son, Benito Lopez, who was also doing some cub reporting for the paper. There was a story floating around that Magsaysay had been found on an island still alive. And he passed the story on Radyo Reloj, the Chronicle’s sister radio station. And this was broadcast and Mrs. Magsaysay was so happy. [Press Secretary] J.V. Cruz was so angry when this turned out to be a hoax. Diyos ko! But in spite of everything, we came out with good and full coverage of that event.”
An Honesto Vitug photograph of Magsaysay’s family beside his casket, published on March 20, 1957, won an international award for photojournalism (worth $6,000*). It was a close-up of the hands of the widow and her three children clasped together in grief; the background, made of Magsaysay’s mourning dresses, was completely black.

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From The $64 Question Dept. According to Measuring Worth, $6,000 in 1957 is worth anywhere from $38,400 to $196,000 in 2013.

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