Monday, December 11, 2006

Flagship of good journalism in the Philippines


‘GMA may drop Con-ass’? Who on Earth understands such a headline? Needless to say, this headline comes from the first page of the most respected newspaper in the Philippines, the Daily Inquirer (9 December 2006).

GMA is the Filipino version of GWB (must be a President then….) and ‘con-ass’ could mean ‘constituent assembly’. Since the Inquirer is seen as the vanguard of journalism in the Philippines it needs to be asked for whom such sentences are written? What target groups have such ‘editors’ in mind?

One thing is clear: Such esoteric language is rather unique and not easily to be found elsewhere in respected newspapers. Often connotations are even more interesting. The editors seem not to know that ‘con’ is the French word for ‘cunt’. ‘Ass’ I am sure is understood.

So what is the President intending to drop?

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3 Comments:

At December 12, 2006 at 12:53 PM, Anonymous Mabelle said...

GMA is not a President. GMA is Global Media Arts Network (i.e a television network in the Philippines). They seem to drop something!

 
At December 12, 2006 at 7:41 PM, Anonymous Cogs said...

Absolutely brilliant, Brommel. As an expat journalist, I have been careful not to make any comment (well, fairly careful) on local papers, but you have maybe opened the door for me.

The lazy use of acronyms, particularly on a splash as is the case here, is to me a sign of an editorial team that has stopped thinking.

True, the sense of the headline is difficult to deliver in such a short space, particularly as the word "constitution" threatens to intrude. So it might need a subhead. A suggestion:

Arroyo in reform dilemma
President may back down on changes

The Inquirer is not alone in their use of coded headlines. In fact, most mornings the Star is even worse. Both papers look to anyone who has lived overseas like papers that are straight from the 1960s.

Compare them with any decent newspaper in the region -- the South China Morning Post, the HK Standard, the Straits Times, the New Straits Times, the Bangkok Post and The Nation -- and you can see how unnecessarily difficult they are to read.

So what holds them back? My guess would be complacency. But I might well be wrong.

 
At December 12, 2006 at 10:27 PM, Blogger brommel said...

cogs, complacency sounds like a good description. If complacency is true then all blame and shame will not work. No hope for better papers in the Philippines then...

 

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