in Marginalia

#WEREAJOURNALIST | Selfies with Janet Napoles and other important tweets



Jaime Oscar M. Salazar deserves to have increased following among Internet users.

For one thing, Salazar–whom I haven’t met yet–offers sensible opinions.

Months before the presidential elections in 2010, he wrote a lengthy piece scoring a GMANews.TV report–a website that I worked for, at that time–about Hacienda Luisita, the plantation owned by the family of then-senator Benigno C. Aquino III.

While others may disagree about that Hacienda piece, it nevertheless raised questions about what journalism is, what it should be, and how it ought to be practiced.

On Monday, Salazar posted a tweet on his account, expressing hope that journalists covering Janet Napoles–who is involved in a financial scandal that allegedly funnels public funds to line the pockets of politicians–would avoid being preoccupied with minutiae.

After all, the pork barrel scandal that reportedly involves several lawmakers is arguably the largest story of the year by far. And journalists tweeting about the minutiae of Napoles’ routine–what she had for lunch, for instance–may not exactly be serving the public interest.

Don’t take my word for it.

You can go ask Alan Robles, who taught journalism courses at the International Institute for Journalism in Berlin. Robles, who inspired the #wereajournalist hashtag, also replied to tweets of Salazar, as found below.

Meanwhile, a seasoned reporter/friend defended those tweets–however superficial–saying that those were the only pieces of information available to the media at the time of posting.

“No one has even seen Napoles staying inside her cell,” my friend said, unintentionally opening up another conspiracy theory regarding the complex financial scandal.

And that question underscores the point–isn’t it the job of journalists to confirm and/or uncover information?

But don’t ask me. I’m just a #wereajournalist.

From the Pardon the Self Promotion Dept. #wereajournalist is no longer just a hashtag. It’s also a blog.