a lot of press in the last few days on the performance satisfaction rating survey conducted by SWS (read here : http://wp.me/pnw03-1qs). the press is mostly on malacanang thinking about the ratings drop and what it means.
on one side, it’s refreshing to see that the occupants of malacanang are sensitive to the survey results. it means they are sensitive to the sentiments of the people. and that can only be good as a sensitive malacanang to the sentiments of the people can mean better action at truly serving the people’s needs. even a marketing or political newbie will tell you that the way to improve the ratings is to serve the people better.
we did not see this kind of reaction from the previous administration of gloria macapagal arroyo. arroyo’s malacanang would have ignored the survey results or attack the results and question the results. arroyo’s administration have always thought everyone else is wrong while they are the only ones right.
the other side of the reaction of the current malacanang occupants is this never ending search for who is to blame for the drop in the ratings. the spokesperson has said previously, media was to blame as it tended to publicize only what is wrong and the bad news while ignoring what is good and the good news.
recent pronouncements puts the blame on “shyness” of malacanang in publicizing its good deeds. with this thinking, malacanang has resolved to be “more aggressive” in putting in the good news out to the press. that means they will need to learn to be more “kapal moks” , if we are to use their thinking on them being too “shy” to publicize their good deeds.
Valte said the Palace communicators would “maximize the use of all our resources, not only government television and radio … We will be maximizing all resources available to us.”
She disagreed with suggestions that the Palace communication group was to blame for the low ratings, but she said the communicators were taking the survey “as a sign to be really more aggressive in promoting the President” and his programs.
She said this was not for the President’s spokespersons alone to do and that Cabinetsecretaries and their public information offices could also lend a hand.
“It cannot be just a job of three but everybody has to pitch in to make sure the good news [reaches] the people,” she said.
The other day, Valte also said on state radio: “We have a very Filipino trait of being too shy to boast.”
who is to blame for the drop in satisfaction ratings on the president’s performance? let us get a run down.
is media to blame? all communication practitioners should know this – media will put what they think will attract their audience, those that their audience will find interesting or those that they think their audience want. the news being “good news” or “bad news” practically has nothing to do with it. you can have bad news but if it is not something the audience want, it will not get any exposure. same thing with good news. good news does not guarantee and audience, it can on the other hand pull in boredom. the only barometer media uses in deciding what is printed out there is its saleability or interest value to its audience.
it is this nature of media that makes it necessary for public and private figures and groups to engage communication practitioners to deal with media. their job is to make something interesting enough for media to see it’s value and put it out for the people to read and see.
we have been involved in the past with projects where the topic was seen as boring by media practitioners and the public when we started. after some careful planning and strategizing, we set out to make the topic “sexy” for media to publish and the public to take interest in. to make the topic “sexy” was the exact word used to describe what we intended to do with the topic. after a few months, the topic thyat was previously boring and usually out of media became a hot topic of discourse and attention both by media and the public.
malacanang does not have 1 but 3 groups under its employ to make the topic of “president aquino’s achievement” to be seen as “sexy” enough to pay attention to. that says they have no excuse for not being able to put across the messagtes in behalf of the aquino administration.
if they blame the poor and weak message release to the public as the reason for the significant drop in aquino’s performance rating, then it is the fault of these three communication gr0ups. in simple terms, these 3 communication groups have failed in doing their jobs.
The EO effectively reorganizes the Office of the Press Secretary and is aimed at modernizing the Palace’s communications strategy to better deliver President Aquino’s message to the people.
the primary task of the 3 communications group is to “better deliver president aquino’s message to the people” – the ratings drop due to shyness in delivering aquino’s message to the people means they have failed in their mandate.
aquino’s mandate reorganizing the office of the press secretary does not include “shyness” as an acceptable reason to fail in their mandate.
there is a dedicated press corp that covers malacanang. media covers the president’s activity 24/7. many of these media people, specially the major media outlets assign permanent reporters to the malacanang beat at all times and are exclusive to the office of the president. these reporters are ever present in malacanang. all that malacanang needs to do is hand over to them a press release or call a press conference and the news is out.
of course that does not guarantee publication. the job of the 3 communications group is to make the news interesting enough for media to publish them. if the topic is boring and the write-up is boring, it will not be published. you can have a boring topic but if the write up is interesting, it can get published.
since malacanang seem to be blaming aquino’s drop in rating on the lack or weak message delivery, we wonder if the re-organization that they did, dividing it into 3 parts is the one that is causing the problem. is it possible that when they divided the function into 3 distinct functions, some fell through the cracks.
Palace wants media to have own guidelines on hostage crisis coverage
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang wants media to lay down their own guidelines on covering hostage crises instead of having the government impose prior restraint.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said media should know how to avoid endangering the safety of hostages.
“Our stand is that we should not restrain freedom of expression,” he said.
“We should keep in mind that we fought for freedom for us to express what’s on our minds in this country.”
Coloma said media practitioners should evaluate their coverage during Monday’s hostage crisis at Rizal Park in Manila where eight Hong Kong tourists were killed.
‘Media, not gov’t, should set coverage guidelines’
MANILA, Philippines – It is the media, not the government or the police, which should establish the guidelines on coverage of life-threatening incidents such as hostage-taking, an expert has advised.
“You never want to interfere with covering. But when you come up with voluntary guidelines that people agreed to and try honestly to adhere to, it’s much better than having a government say these are the guidelines, this is how you behave, this is what you do–that really becomes quite onerous,” said Bob Dietz, Program Coordinator for Asia of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), told ANC’s Top Story on Thursday.
The hostage drama started when dismissed police officer Rolando Mendoza hijacked a bus full of tourists in Manila in an attempt to get his job back.
Local and foreign journalists flocked to the Quirino Grandstand to cover the incident. Some were criticized for delivering the critical moments of the crisis.
“When we’re in a middle of a news coverage situation, we’re really going for the best that we can get, especially the people on the street–the cameramen, the producers, the soundmen at that level,” Dietz said.
Dietz, however, pointed out that people back in the newsroom should be the one to decide when to call the shots.
“What has to happen is back here, where there are cooler heads in the newsroom, sort of saying ‘that’s too much’, ‘let’s pull this back’, ‘get these people out of that position’,” Dietz said.
we think it is wrong that the government is asking media to set its own guidelines on media coverage of hostage crisis situations.
a hostage taking is a matter of security and safety, it is a police and law enforcement matter, why is media being asked to develop the guidelines? that is the reason why the police or the military is given the responsibility and the power to take over the whole situation for resolution. among all government agencies, they are also the only group who has the arms, the technical skills and experience in resolving such matters peacefully. in other words, they are the ones who know what is needed and what is not needed to succeed in the resolution of the hostage taking situation.
media does not know anything about such things, what media knows is how to set up the camera to get the best shot, what to say to the audience during the coverage to sustain interest and viewership to their media channel. what they were trained for is how to get the best camera shot possible for great tv or radio. their work mostly has nothing to do with safety and security.
it does not make sense that the government is asking media to develop the guidelines on matter they know nothing about.
the guidelines are meant to make sure the police has free and unhampered reign on the whole situation to be able to satisfactorily resolve the hostage crisis. the guidelines are there for the objective of the police successfully achieving their goal, not for media to do it’s job best. the goals of successfully resolving the hostage crisis and getting the best tv shot are separate and distinct, performed by two very different groups with one, the media negatively affecting the other if they make a mistake.
the guidelines should come from the police, not the media. the police should develop guidelines just like the way they ask the government for new equipment, tools and training to help them become better at what they do and to succeed at achieving their goals. the media guidelines is exactly the same thing as the police setting up a perimeter around the area where the hostage taking is to prevent everyone else from interfering with their work.
one of the top key things the police want is control of the situation and that includes media coverage as that affects the hostage taker, the family and co-conspirators of the hostage taker, copycats and the public.
the thinking behind the malacanang direction is on the wrong places and comes from the wrong perspective. hostage talking guidelines is not about good media relations, it is about life and death. media’s failure only results to lower tv ratings while the failure of the police results to death. there is no comparison at all.
we think malacanang’s media group, one secretary of whom used to work for abs-cbn, is being given too much voice on this matter. it is all wrong.
carlo p arvisu