Tag Archives: Inquirer.net

Column: The most-read opinion of 2016, and why

Published on January 3, 2017.

A look at the most-read opinion pieces published by the Inquirer last year shows that politics, especially political anxiety over the Duterte presidency, was the dominant concern of our readers. It also shows a healthy mix of the types of opinion that resonated with the audience: columns, of course, but also an editorial, a contributed commentary, a letter to the editor—and a vivid illustration of the digital “long tail.”

But let me begin with a word about the limits of this overview. I am using statistics from the online consumption of the opinion pieces (both web and mobile). I am limiting myself to only the Top 10 pieces read online, which together account for almost one-twentieth of all Opinion traffic. I am basing the ranking on page views, as tracked by Google Analytics (not on share numbers, which can help show consumption only on social media). And I can tell you that all these 10 opinion pieces enjoyed a minimum of six-digit traffic.

(I can also add that traffic increased substantially over 2015 levels, for both Opinion and the website as a whole.)

By far, the most-read opinion piece of 2016 was Solita Monsod’s Aug. 27 column, “De Lima’s record speaks for itself.” This essay on the politics of vindictiveness generated 2.5 times more page views than the last item in the Top 10 list. It begins forthrightly: “This persecution of Leila de Lima is getting out of hand. That it is led by President Duterte makes it even worse. The President, who, in his State of the Nation Address just last month, described himself as ‘not vindictive,’ has proved otherwise.” (It was also shared almost 50,000 times.)

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Column: On Ira Panganiban’s outburst, I call BS

Published on August 2, 2016.

MY RADYO Inquirer colleague Ira Panganiban posted something provocative on Facebook the other day, and it has since gone viral. Unfortunately, the multiplatform journalist got his facts wrong. Even worse, his assumptions did not only lead to the error; they also raise worrying questions about the true value of a human life. In the spirit of free speech and fair play, and as an admiring friend, I wish to set him straight.

“Let’s call a spade a spade,” Panganiban wrote on July 30. “Andaming matatalino sobrang ingay tungkol sa pagpatay sa mga pusher at adik!!! (So many intelligent people are making too much noise about the killing of pushers and addicts!!!)”

“These so-called decent and progressive thinkers all cry about the number of killings since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed his post.”

“The Philippine Daily Inquirer even has a running tally of the killings in their pages. The last number I looked at is 400+ nationwide!!! (Sorry PDI kayo lang may running tally eh.)”

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Column: Paid hacks and retards?

Published on April 28, 2015.

The other week, I had the privilege of addressing the national conference of the Philippine Association of Communication Educators on a vexing subject: the quality of discourse in today’s new media. In preliminary remarks, I made two contrasting assertions. In the last couple of decades the overall quality must have risen, because the Internet has made access to the best sources and references possible; at the same time, the volume of offensive language has also obviously increased, creating Augean stables of gratuitous insult and hate speech.

But my main purpose at the PACE convention was to raise two specific questions, based on a reading of online comment threads, including that of the Inquirer. Why are “paid hack” and “retard” the preferred terms of abuse online, and what can the country’s communication educators do to discourage their use? Continue reading

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Column: Our Kabayan problem

A revolving-door problem, and then a sideways kind of announcement.  Published on May 31, 2011.

Noli de Castro was vice president for six years and a senator for three. Last November 8, some four months after leaving government service, he reassumed his role as principal anchor of the flagship ABS-CBN newscast, “TV Patrol.”

I have no objection to the so-called revolving door in journalism, the practice where journalists join government service for a time and then return to the profession. Done right, done with circumspection and utmost professionalism, both sides of the door can profit. I think, for example, of Salvador P. Lopez, journalist-turned-diplomat-turned-journalist. Government service benefited from his insight and erudition, his facility with words and his capacity for work. When he returned to newspapering (he wrote regularly for the Inquirer in its early years), his writing was deepened by his experience in government and diplomacy.

But De Castro, simply “Kabayan” (Countryman) to millions of Filipinos, reminds me that there are dangers to the revolving door; for one thing, it can give media’s audience an attack of vertigo. Continue reading

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Column: Do all opinions matter?

The Inquirer feedback loop just got fat–or it did, about 15 months ago, some time before this column was published on May 24, 2011.

IN RESPONSE to Monday’s editorial on the designation of Mar Roxas as President Benigno Aquino III’s chief of staff, an online reader wrote, in an angry burst of colloquial Filipino: He hasn’t even started yet, and here you are already taking a shot at him! (I can no longer find the comment online, hence the paraphrase.) Continue reading

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Blair Watch Project

When a friend in Honolulu told me she had received a copy of a news story I filed about Tony Blair’s candid remarks on Islam, it occurred to me to try and track the Internet mentions the story — or to be more precise, the two stories — got. Should be an interesting exercise, I thought.

All told, I filed four stories and a column on Monday, March 23. The first two (here and here) were “breaking news,” which I filed over lunch. The next two (main and sidebar) I filed around 6 or 7 pm, after I had turned my column in. (I had written most of the column the night before, but I ended up completely rewriting about three-fifths of it in the afternoon.)

I regret that I did not fully understand the context of Blair’s remarks, about the struggle for control within Islam. (He had made other, earlier, speeches.) But even if I had, I still think the remarks (“There is essentially one battle going on, and it is a battle about Islam”) would have struck me as news. That seems to be the consensus, too, of those who linked to or commented on the story.

Perhaps it is no surprise that the breaking-news version (the headline of which should really read “Battle for Islam heart of Mideast crisis,” not “on”) got more play. It went online about 12 hours or so before the version for the print edition. Excluding about four links in aggregators and about two in discussion forums, I found the following (my apologies for the perhaps inaccurate short hand):

Pro-Blair (I mean, quite literally)

Anti-Jihad

A Davos tracking site

Jihadwatch.org

USA Today

There were, in addition, two more mentions or links I found.

The longer, more “reported” story (I had had time to listen again and again to parts of the audio recording I made, and was able to connect more of the dots in the notes I took) got fewer mentions. Again, without including general news aggregators and chat forums, I found the following:

A conservative Jew’s point of view

A religious news aggregator

PS. Friend and photo-blogger Hilda Kapauan Abola was at the late morning forum too. She has photos, and more links.

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