When journalists don’t know what they’re writing about

RECENTLY, in a forum at the university where I work, Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez revealed something about journalists reporting on the reproductive health (RH) bill debate.

“[Some reporters] haven’t read the bill,” he said.

He recalled his disappointment in finding out that only some of the reporters interviewing him have actually read the entire HB 96, touted as the foremost RH bill today.

After Golez’s lecture, the lone journalist who attended the event interviewed the congressman privately in a nearby room. The young reporter was supposedly writing an in-depth story of the issue. And being part of the event’s facilitators, this writer overheard the lawmaker ask the other gentleman: “Have you read the bill?”

Three-second silence.

“I’m still reading it, sir” was the  reply.

“So you haven’t read it.”

But the statesman was gracious enough to let go of the awkward situation and gestured to start the interview.

Now that kept me thinking. If the reporters on whom we rely for truthful information haven’t read the most basic material of the issue they are writing about, what credibility can they hope to have?

But then, readers often don’t get to know about such journalistic mediocrity.

The more apt question, therefore, is: what hope can we have in having responsible journalists?

Perhaps it begins with us, protesting.

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