Traditional “journalists”, suck it up: You no longer hold a monopoly over mass communication.

One can quite understand why traditional “journalists” are going all shrill about the prospect of having to compete with bloggers for the privilege to reach a mass audience. After all, they once enjoyed a monopoly over that space. Before the advent of the Internet and, particularly, social media, mass communication was a capital-intensive activity. You needed to own a powerful transmitter or a printing press, maintain a distribution network (specifically for the latter), and possess the wherewithal to navigate the myriad of government regulations to operate. The barriers for entry into that space were formidable not just for the capitalists who invested in these assets. “Journalists” too had to have the credentials to practice their craft and be considered for employment in these traditional radio broadcast and print media organisations. They had to be university graduates, and had to go through the whole job application process to work for a media company carve out a niche for themselves in the market for mass media content.

Imagine then the chagrin felt by today’s “journalism” establishment. Their top “thought leaders” are huffing and puffing at the thought of competing with people who got into their space using just a laptop or a phone with Internet access and a social media or blogging platform account. One can therefore understand why they are so obsessed in pointing out why bloggers are not “journalists” and, if they want to be a part of the space “journalists” occupy, what measures they need to be subject to (e.g. “standards”, “accreditation”, sworn faith to a so-called “code of ethics”, etc.) to gain entry into said space. The psychology behind this is that traditional “journalists” be like; I jumped through all these hoops to be able to address a mass audience, therefore bloggers should too. Well, guess what: Just because you say so does not necessarily mean it will be so.

Traditional “journalists” are a bunch of dinosaurs. This they proved this year when, despite ganging up on President Rodrigo Duterte and soon-to-be President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, the latter still won this year’s elections by a massive landslide while the earlier sustained an impressive public approval rating right up to the very end. Landslide na nga, massive pa. That’s the scale at which Filipinos voted in these elections to revoke their trust in these ancient “mainstream” reptiles. The influence on public opinion they pat themselves on the back with to assure themselves of their continued relevance in society was proven to be a dud. Evidently it was the onslaught of alternatives Filipinos could tap for information that gave the Establishment a run for their money. So now their approach given that these alternatives — bloggers and social media influencers running circles around them — are here to stay, what do these “journalists” do? Well, like they do to anything else that does not fit their peachy view of how the world ought to to work, they make them the “evil” guys in that all-too-familiar narrative of a battle between “good” and “evil”. As expected, they are only too quick to cast themselves as the “good guys” in that narrative. Sounds really all-too-familiar a modus operandi, doesn’t it? Today, bloggers are “purveyors of disinformation” while they, on the other hand, are the “truth seekers”. Them versus us. Very familiar indeed.

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So Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr (who had himself been a media publisher and executive in various roles in the past) was spot-on in summing up the lament of his ilk

“Press freedom on social media does not involve the steep price of printing or broadcast, editors and reporters on regular pay and is cost-free self-indulgence with one hand—masturbation,” the official said.

The media Old Guard hinge their entitlement to an exclusive pedestal above the free market of ideas primarily on the basis of an edifice of credentials resting on an infrastructure of pompous tradition that is protected by, in Locsin’s own words, “the steep price of printing or broadcast”. Like most forms of market protectionism, this has become all but unsustainable as Locsin and his compadres are finding out the hard way. The irony that flies way above their pointed heads is that market forces are king. Despite the Nazistic manner with which old-school “journalists” like Locsin protected their lofty place, market forces eventually caught up with them. These elections showed them the stark scorecard — proof that no amount of credentialism can prop up credibility when your time of reckoning has come. The best thing that MSM media can do is compete on that level playing field and prove their value in that free market that they keep denying exists. Credibility cannot be bought nor legislated.

19 Replies to “Traditional “journalists”, suck it up: You no longer hold a monopoly over mass communication.”

  1. You gotta evolve and adapt simple as! Real News or Fake News the person in question can just get on Social Media themselves and tell you the truth straight from there own mouth. Mainstream Journalists have had it there own way a long time that time is over.

  2. Let me educate you,

    Maria Ressa:
    Golden Pen of Freedom Award (2018)
    UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize (2021)
    Nobel Peace Prize (2021)


    When history is written, Maria Ressa will be known as one of the best Filpinos who ever lived while Benign0 will be forgotten.

    1. Yeah, Maria Ressa will be known as the one who sold herself to the U.S. interest. Gotta love that American Freedom. LMAO

    2. “Let me educate you”

      Only sore losers do that. And please, you should know that it was the same Maria Ressa who said that there’s a terrorist attack on Resorts World Manila years ago and they never made a statement of apology for spreading misinformation.

      1. What do you expect from a political grifters like Maria Ressa, who rather just cry and feel oppressed for what? For not paying taxes like any average, tax paying Filipinos? She should’ve stay in her beloved America.

        1. “What do you expect from a political grifters like Maria Ressa…”
          Whoa! That’s a strong accusation against a Nobel Prize winner.

          One coming from a ‘winner’ also of something, I suppose?

    3. @Leni

      But honestly have you forgotten how she screwed up at the BBC HARDtalk interview with Stephen Sackur? Hehehehehehehehehe.

  3. The Filipino people cannot allow Ferdinand Marcos, the 14-year long fascist dictator, a traitor and a criminal of colossal proportions to be honored in any manner as a hero. They cannot forget and forgive his gross and systematic violation of human rights. He was culpable for the murder of at least 3,240 of his political opponents. He caused the torture of at least 34,000 and the illegal imprisonment of 70,000. He used his despotic power to enrich himself and his family. He incurred excessive foreign debt for overpriced infrastructure projects. He plundered public resources amounting to at least Php167 billion in pesos and at least $15 billion.
    Marcos was definitively and categorically condemned by the Filipino people as a fascist dictator and was overthrown from the presidency through the sovereign revolutionary act of the people who stormed the presidential palace in 1986 and flooded Edsa to persuade the reactionary armed forces to withdraw support from him. Had he not been helicoptered out of his palace by his US imperialist master, he would have been immediately arrested and tried by the Filipino people or he would been dealt with summarily like Mussolini upon the defeat of the fascists in Italy.
    Since the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, the three branches of the Philippine government have always agreed that the Marcoses have engaged in the criminal plunder of public resources and that the ill-gotten wealth must be recovered. Investigations and court proceedings have been successfully undertaken to establish the criminal culpability of Marcos for plunder.

    1. I definitely agree with you! But why have successive governments failed to hold them accountable? Your guess is as good as mine!

    2. Yeah and let’s not forget the NPA. They’re the real game master here. Think about Joma Sison as our new communist president, had Marcos dictatorship failed and NPA succeed. We would be the next North Korea. I guess were thankful that it’s Cory took the leadership, love her or hate her, at least we didn’t end up like any communist country, right?

    3. This is what EMOTIONS get the better of you, son.

      You love yapping about how Marcos was a “dictator” while hiding the fact that he’s not really unique in Asia. 75,000 tortures and killings is just a small deal in comparison with the likes of Park, Suharto, Mao, and Pol Pot – which ranged to millions.

      You love yapping about how he plundered with 167 billion pesos and 15 billion USD while you forgot today’s plunderers left and right. Because when you count how much they stole for the last 35+ years, that one plunderer from 35+ years ago now looks like an amateur. Ferdie Marcos is such a plunderer that he left Cory just 28.9 billion USD while the so-called “capable” leader Noynoy Aquino left Duterte a staggering 89.1 billion USD, which is four times BIGGER than what Marcos had. And the 1987 Constitution really worsens the corruption and plunder in this country.

      And no, Marcos was never helicoptered, he was kidnapped and forced to be exiled in Hawaii. And he even planned to go back to face the charges in the courts. But Cory said no. Why is that? Everything that is written in that post is ridiculous because those investigations actually failed. Oh, I know – it’s all fear and hatred. Fear and hatred of Marcos, that is. Thanks to Cory Aquino, you guys failed.

      The beauty of left-leaning narratives is this: they spend time watching porn than making a change. ?

        1. I never said that he’s a hero – only people like you would brought that up. But you guys love to spend time demonizing Marcos and you take away what he did for the country.

          Of course, you would take any leader as a “hero” even though they are inept and inefficient to boot.

        2. It depends on what word you opt to use: murder or kill. Snipers and pilots prefer to use the latter.

          “The Ghost of Kyiv” allegedly reached 21 confirmed Russian aircraft kills, making the pilot the first supposed flying ace of the 21st century.
          In this context, a kill on the side of the good guys is something admirable.

          Some heroes are ranked by # of kills rather than # of bullets they absorbed. By this logic, Ramos should be made a national hero for the significant # of kills his unit inflicted on the enemy during FM’s ML days. The fundamental question is: who were the good guys back then? Was it the legitimate government or the communist terrorists?

        3. zaxx, that’s a circuitous route you’re doing. Don’t confuse or divert the flow of conversation to something else. The question is short, clear and easy. There is nothing complicated in it.

          Was Marcos a hero?

          There is no “it depends on” angle there.

        4. “…only people like you would…” – Mox
          Why does it always have to be about ‘you’ or me when it was clear that I am NOT the issue? The question does not call for an emotional response, which happens to be your opening line in your post.

          It’s a yes or no question, don’t get emotional and personal.

  4. For the life of me, I don’t see any ‘competition’ between legitimate journalists and bloggers. Read that again: “legitimate journalists” and bloggers. While both give their opinion on issues, that is where everything ends. Bloggers are not kosher when it comes to news and information dissemination. Like what was mentioned about professional journalists, bloggers are wanting on credentials, accreditation, license and everything one possess when one is in a field of profession.

    Bloggers, like me, basically pick on issues where, most times, they are very heavily biased for (unlike me). And common to their approach is the emotion-laden way (not like me) how they tackle issues that tend to go wayward particularly when there is a worthy challenger against the views they hold. But I have to admit, bloggers have more fun than professional journalists because they are not bound by ethics, professional regulations, etc.

    The recently held elections has no bearing on what the future or whatever journalism is all about. It’s a pigment of one’s imagination to think that bloggers are up there, on the same level, side by side competing with professional journalists. None of that.

    And journalists “ganging up” (is that really true?) on Duterte and BBM does not indicate anything that lessens the prestige and stature of professional journalism. They report the news, share the negatives and positives and at times give their two-cents on the issues. And they’re good to go.

    Press freedom is alive and kicking in the country as demonstrated by the journalism profession. Free expression is also alive and kicking as shown by the proliferation of blogs and bloggers online.

    Let celebrate that reality that we never enjoyed during the time of the dictatorship. ?

  5. Market forces will eventually decide who goes extinct. Former monopolies can get eaten up by smaller players if the latter can provide a superior product under a more cost-efficient business model. In the journalism space, traditional news outlets can hang on but will likely be narrowed down to a specific niche.

    The ecosystem is also now so overcrowded that people have greatly reduced attention spans for viewing and reading. Notice how some commenters read only the title of the article and jump at once to posting comments. Bite-sized memes in social media become far more effective.

    Well researched articles (the Aston Martins and Benz’s of journalism) filled with data-supported graphs and charts still have a market esp. for more sophisticated readers. Take for example Nikkei Asia – you get your money’s worth for the yearly subscription.

    However many Pinoy “news articles” typically come as opinion posts with titles like “De Lima denounces… ” or “Marcos asked to …” in order to sway people towards their obvious pet agenda. The bias towards a given political camp is so glaring people of the wrong crowd get turned off at once.

    The general boycott by huge chunks of the population of Yellow traditional media has left these outlets to regress into small echo chambers of Yellows giving high-5s to Pinks, and Pinks patting Reds on the back. Their regression to obscurity and insignificance as a force in swaying public opinion has been laid bare in the recent national elections. It’s high time for them to do some deep reflection if they still want to ensure pan de sal on the table of their employees.

    Facebook (or Twitter for some) has now become the de facto platform for Filipinos – esp. with limits to data privileges, many in the masses cannot view regular websites. Web pages only function to be placeholders of the main article body/content. For many, just about the article title and a sample snippet are all they will get to see.

    How fast any influential media wannabee can adapt will be key. The next in the horizon will likely be the metaverse, where AI may be the regulators of “truth”/content. It’s not survival of the biggest; it’s survival of the fittest.

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