I may define journalism based on experience and a number of years I am into this kind of work and not necessarily how a school or an institution defines it.
For one who is journalist is itself a vocation and a commitment to serve the greater majority through gathering and spreading the information.
I confessed that I am not a believer of the so called so called “neutrality” in media works, but a believer of objectivity.
Journalism institutions usually thought their students that for one to be a journalist, he or she has to be neutral and get both sides of the stories, but in actuality particularly experiences of community based papers in the Philippines this is seldom done.
Is also a non believer of passivity in the work but that of an advocacy on matters and issues that directly affects the greater interest of the people.
That’s how I view press freedom.
While I am not a product of institutions of mass communications, I learned a little of the craft through hard work and putting into heart and mind the advises and tips given by mentors in the industry.
Neutrality could be applied into other endeavors like a volunteer of the prestigious Philippine National Red Cross and other helping agencies both in the government and in non government organizations but for me hardly in the field of media.
Let’s put it this way, a media person is not an isolated individual in a society.
If the greater majority suffers poverty and deprived of freedom, then a media person is not an exemption and could not say that he will not involve himself or herself into coming up with course of action.
Of course one of the options of his help could be in the form of journalistic work.
Other specifics could be illustrated, issues like the increasing price of basic commodities and other necessities, and a media person is still not exemption.
A media man himself or herself has its own family to feed, schooling for children, electricity, water, among others, thus he or she could not detached from the issues and concerns of the day.
Within this context, a media man is both servicing the needs of the public and himself a victim similar to the other sectors of the society.
For me, being a journalist is not only an economic activity on the part of the media man, but he or she serves as the public’s voice to concerned authorities.
He or she is part of the people’s regular activities in all aspects, thus media institutions now inculcate what is called civic journalism.
The media man is the people’s big brother when other institutions fail to address his or her problems or concerns.
For me, since I started work in the broadcast industry and eventually into the print since the year 1994, I learned a lot of concerns and issues raised by several sectors.
I even learned even the extremes, the oppressed people and the oppressor, the arrogant and the meek and humble.
For all this years, my experience in the media industry could not be matched by millions and even trillions, a kind of treasure which to me is a rare privilege and not all have been given chance to serve in the industry.
Despite the risk, threats, harassments and some even were killed, journalism stands out as one area where an individual’s commitment and sincerity to serve the larger interest of the people.