journalists are expected to always stay neutral, unaffected by the stories they cover. this is so they can maintain their objectivity.
but journalists are living and breathing individuals. and to expect them to remain unaffected by the stories they cover is like saying that journalists are unfeeling and cold hunters that prey on their unsuspecting sources and interviewees. and journalists have brains (well,most of us do.:) i'd like to think i'm one of them) that we can't help but form our own opinions on events and issues.
i've done several stories that have really affected me. kinurot ang puso ko, kumbaga.
the first was when i did "gutom" for reporter's notebook last year. the govt launched a program where children from poor families are given rice packs for every day that they are present in school. dalawa ang case studies ko - isang biyudad na binubuhay ang kanyang limang anak sa pamamagitan ng pangangalkal ng basura; at isang ama na naglalakad sa kalye, inaalok ang serbisyo niyang pagre-repair ng mga sirang payong. ang ina, minsan, di kumakain dahil kulang pa sa kanyang mga anak ang nabibili niyang pagkain sa napakaliit na kinikita sa pagbabasura. kadalasan, bigay ng kapitbahay ang kinakain nila. i didn't know how to comfort her when she started crying during the interview. from a journalist's standpoint, it was good video. from a mother's eye, it was heart-breaking.
ang ama naman, kalahating araw lang nakakapagtrabaho dahil ang natitirang oras niya sa isang araw, ginugugol niya sa paghahanap sa kanyang anak na dinukot. hinala niya, sindikato sa palimos ang tumangay sa bata. nakita ang bata ng isang kapitbahay pero nang isasama na niya ito, may biglang sumulpot na gusgusing mama at tinutukan ng patalim sa leeg ang bata. dagdag problema pa ang misis ng amang ito na may tb.
dalawang beses ko pang binalikan ang mga pamilyang ito. ang pangalawang balik, para kumustahin sila at dalhan ng konting pagkain. sa pang-huling punta ko, nadiskubre kong lumayas na ang ama. di marahil kinaya ang patong-patong na problema. nabalitaan na lang daw ng mga kapitbahay na may iba na itong kinakasama.
the most recent story that i covered that really affected me was the one about the masbate conjoined twins. angela and angel may garganta were joined from the chest to the navel. they were only 5 days old when they were first brought to manila in early may. i covered the story from day 1, even scoring exclusive photos and videos of the twins in the hospital. well, i'm sad because the twins died today. though it was a given that they will not survive past their first or second birthdays, i didn't expect it to happen on the day they left the hospital in manila to go home to masbate. and is it just coincidence that today, i took a leave of absence from news to shoot for reporter's notebook?
there will be more heart-breaking stories, i know. the only way i can help my interviewees is by airing their stories in the hope that someone or some groups will be able to give them assistance. these stories have helped me too, in a way. they have helped me to stay grounded and to appreciate all the blessings that God has given me.