CHECHE LAZARO in the ABSCBN News program Media in Focus Thursday night had three interesting guests on: John Nery (The Newstand Blog) an editor with INQ7-Philippine Daily Inquirer, Connie Veneracion (The Sassy Lawyer aka The Pinoy Cook) and Ronald Meinardus (My Liberal Times).
Ronald Meinardus is an interesting addition to the Philippine blogosphere. I first encountered him earlier this year at IBlog2 the Conference. He is evidently a German who has come to the Philippines by way of Thailand, if I heard him right, and is here "promoting liberal politics." Well he has come to the right place, where literally anything goes as far as politics. (But just try to get anyone to listen and take you seriously, mein Herr!)
Atty. Connie Veneracion has built her well-established weblog, as she relates it to Ms. Lazaro, first on daily postings of Filipino recipes to which she added substantial legal essays on current events and politics. She disdains merely linking to stuff and prefers full blown essays on specific topics. Though she claimed on Cheche's show that she does not try to impress, that is hard to believe in a blogger or columnist. But as a blawger ("blogger on the law") she may have found success in that disingenuous regard. Personally, I find most her legal writing dry, or droll (though the recipes are always mouth-watering.) Two of her recent titles are How one misleading headline can ruin a man’s reputation (about how Jim Paredes of Edsa II and Apo Hiking Society fame, has departed for the land of Aus in an alleged abandonment of the Philippines ...) and Mashed potatoes and kalabasa. Yummy. Cheche Lazaro relates how Connie Veneracion has made it into the Main Stream Media by snagging a column at the Manila Standard Today newspaper. Congratulations to Connie. Hope it's a move in the right direction. Other Philippine blawgers of note are Ed Lacierda of the San Juan Gossip Mills and Fred Pamaos, the Atty. at Work.
Although Internet penetration in the Philippines is estimated to be 10% or less of the general population, John Nery of PDI/Inq7 perceives the challenge facing main stream newspapers like his own, which he succinctly describes as sharing the same universe or audience as Internet-connected Filipinos and follows trends in the US with a lagtime of just a few years. In other words, the 6 to 10 percent of the general public that reads newspapers are also "first adopters" of the cheaper, faster, better information source called the World Wide Web--to the extent that they actually quit having to buy newspapers altogether! The online audience also includes many who've probably never read a printed newspaper with any regularity. Indeed, Jojo Robles editor of the Manila Standard Today estimated their online audience to be ten times bigger than their paid subscriber base. The ratio may be even larger for PDI, which gets an overwhelming majority of its online biznes from overseas Pinoys. And of course bloggers. Lucky for PDI it has folks like John Nery who helped the newspaper develop a leading website that is a primary source of news and reliable information for Philippine Commentary and most other weblogs in the country. INQ7 is certainly indispensable to this blogger in several other ways, one being as a WHETSTONE to sharpen his wits against.
Historically speaking, many weblogs in the United States built their audiences in counterpoise to main stream media outlets, first by reporting and commenting on them, but soon enough by exposing inaccuracies and bias, as well as generating and making news themselves.
A Gutenberg Movement? If I could add something to the issues being explored by Cheche Lazaro with her guests tonight, especially about the relationship between the Main Stream and the Blog Stream media, it might be the following points:
The handwriting is on the wall for all traditional media. Better get online or get left behind! Technology, and specifically the free online "publishing houses" like Google's Blogger, Wordpress, TypePad, Friendster, and lately, MySpace and Multiply makes possible an unprecedented increase in original publications, both in quantity and quality.
The market place for ideas has just gotten a lot freer and the arena of contending thoughts has become a more even playing field with the emergence of free weblogs that can be almost instantly set up and published regularly by ordinary citizens--even by adolescents. With transaction costs nearly nil once a person has a reliable Internet connection, perhaps a new "Gutenberg 2" era is upon us...based not on printing ink on paper but publishing for the world wide Mind on ethereal, fully programmable, full-color pages and assembled into books and journals sometimes called BLOGS. Mostly for "free."
This has already transformed the traditional trimedia of print, radio and television, who've all undertaken mass migrations into the global network and melded their media with it, some with greater or less success than others. But it is in my opinion, hitherto unforeseen or unimagined applications in the World Wide Web that represent the next "television" or "radio" or "newspaper". It is impossible to predict exactly what new GENRES of human communication will evolve from the marvelous invention of Sir Tim Berners Lee. All I know is, it won't be the stodgy, old one-way media owned by special interests that we have now.
I can't wait!