The reason President Digong is getting bad press is that people who are supposed to deliver his message are not fit for the job.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque is doing an excellent job but he’s a voice in the wilderness.
Gone are the days when reporters covering Malacañang and Congress were veterans.
Young reporters covered police, sports, science, education, health, labor and transportation beats before and during the martial law era.
In those days, a reporter cannot set foot in Malacañang or Congress unless he had been assigned to one of the lesser beats.
Only then could a reporter—by now at least five years in the beat—be assigned to cover the foreign affairs, justice and courts, and business beats.
That’s why Malacañang and Congress reporters before were at least 40 years old.
Among the most prominent Malacañang reporters were Isagani Yambot, who became Inquirer publisher; Max Edralin and Primitivo Mijares, who were the late strongman Marcos’ favorite until he was ousted.
If memory serves me right, Francisco Tatad was the youngest reporter in the foreign affairs beat. Tatad, who read the full declaration of martial law, was also the youngest member of Marcos’ Cabinet.
In years past, reporters in Malacañang and Congress dressed up, either in coat and tie or barong Tagalog.
That’s no longer the rule. Palace or Congress reporters now dress up casually, some even wearing round-neck T-shirts.
To me, a reporter who dresses shabbily disrespects the office or person he or she is covering.
Covering Malacañang or Congress is like going to church.
The police beat was training ground for new reporters. Here, they learn the rudiments of journalism.
Amy Pamintuan-Vinarao, Philippine Star’s editor in chief, was once a police reporter.
So was Sonny Belmonte, former Speaker and now Quezon City representative. Belmonte was studying law while covering the Manila police beat.
Another police reporter who became prominent was Ramon Mitra, former senator and Speaker of the House.
Another former police reporter of note is (ahem!)… me!
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