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Just like I mentioned in my first-ever weekend wrap-up, we scoured my hometown last Sunday in search of survey respondents for this semester’s Extension Program of the Communication Research Department of the UP College of Mass Communication. Every semester they perform studies on topics relating to communication and media, and this semester’s study focused on the Filipinos’ Reception of TV News.

medialit.jpgThe recent word-war and mudslinging between the two giant TV networks proved to be quite a blessing in disguise for us CommRes 101 students who were tasked to perform the data gathering part of the study. I’m not really keen on doing this data gathering thing, especially that my people skills seem to dwindle as I grow older. Thankfully all our neighbors were cooperative and in fact were very enthusiastic to be surveyed.

Whenever people would see us with our survey forms and the moment we ask them if they are willing to be interviewed about the local TV News Programs they watch, they would quickly retort, “Is this AGB?” in Filipino. If there’s anything positive that this recent controversy has wrought, it’s probably the fact that people became more aware of the workings behind these media companies.

Network issues aside, we pushed through with our data gathering. Thank God I was able to finish all ten survey questionnaires assigned to me. Random sampling proved to be a huge pain the arse, but I managed to pull through unscathed. I was actually a bit more fortunate than my other CR101 counterparts, for they conducted their surveys in posh and high-class subdivisions whose residents are either not at home, busy, or simply wouldn’t entertain their request to be surveyed.

In any case, inconclusive as my ten interviews are, here are some of my observations based on my respondents’ answers to my questions:

  • Media Literacy is still at an all-time low in the Philippines. Why, you ask? Because people are still lured by patronage viewership (Kapuso, Kapamilya) that they tend to be less critical of the news being presented to them. I still had to explain such elementary concepts such as “sensationalism” and “triviality” in the news, and even if I explain them fully and give ample examples (wuh, that sounded like a nursery rhyme), they would still not find any hint of the two in any of the news programs that they watch.

  • TV is still the main source of news and information because it is more accessible, you can watch and hear news while doing something else, plus the fact that it is more visual than any other medium.  Unfortunately, though, people still hold anything they hear from the tube reliable as if it were bible truth.  Only around 20% of my respondents use the internet as their source of news.
  • The general impression is that the major News Programs are not out to make money but to perform public service. People, even with the recent deluge of the AGB controversy, still don’t realize that even TV News is part of a corporate setup and that News today is considered a ‘product’ rather than a service and so it is packaged to be marketable and presented in a manner that would sell.

  • Judging by their answers and their manner of answering my questions, only 20% of my respondents, I believe, was critical enough to thoroughly scrutinize the news that they watch. The same percentage were the only ones who get their news from a variety of channels and sources, and the same percentage were the only ones who religiously tune in to foreign news outfits such as CNN and BBC. Unfortunately, the same percentage belonged to a household with an average family income of more than 25,000 pesos, so I believe that figure speaks for itself.

  • Surprisingly, people watching the Entertainment segment of the news were lesser in number than those who tune in to Headline, World and National news. Have they had enough of the showbiz brouhaha going on in our TV News these days?

  • Yet another surprise, only one respondent said that Mike Enriquez was her choice of news anchor. Ironic as it may sound, her reason behind such a decision was because ‘he presents the news well, in a manner that is easy to understand.’ I leave the arguing part to you.

As I’ve said above, my observations are far from being conclusive. They were just 10 respondents, a small fraction of the hundreds of respondents we’re trying to cover for the department research. The results will come out towards the end of the semester, so let’s see if I hit any of the findings with my minute observations.

*Photo from http://www.frankwbaker.com/medialit.jpg


13 Responses to “Filipinos and Media Literacy”
  1. Gian Paolo says:

    Hahaha. I was about to say that Mike Enriquez is one of the worst newscasters I know when I read your last observation. Hehe. His I-do-not-know-how-to-describe-it delivery of the news is obviously a sick marketing strategy.

    I personally like Jessica Soho, btw. :)

  2. JM says:

    @Gian he’s actually a very good radio jock during his early days. and then he turned into a nuisance. hehehe.

  3. Gian Paolo says:

    When he became famous, of course. :) )

  4. elsie says:

    hay nako, jm. the survey thingy was quite an experience, ei? good thing it wasn’t raining when we went out to do ours. sad part is, i only accomplished 3 out of 10 so i have to go back this weekend. hay nako talaga. i will make content analysis nalang when it comes to my thesis. no more survey. ever.

  5. Dane says:

    Nagising yata ang buong Pilipinas sa awayan ng 2 giant networks. And true, people are not that interested when it comes to news nowadays. According to them, paulit-ulit na lang daw ang mga balita.

    I’d better argue on the Mike Enriquez thing privately. Haha!

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    its very reasonable point of view.
    Good post.
    realy gj

    thx :-)

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