The Impact of Text Messaging in the Journalistic Practices of the Sunday Punch Community Newspaper

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CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION

In the book “The News Media: A journalist looks at his profession,” John Hohenberg (1968) mentions that the world we live in is imperfect. And having an imperfect world, its imperfections must be reported and properly emphasized. Otherwise, the free press fails in one of its major functions- the presentation of the world as it is. Because of this entailed function, journalists in our society may assume a variety of roles such as an eyewitness or narrator, a guide or a counselor to the perplexed, a watchdog over the public and private sectors of the nation or and advocate and defender of the public interest.

The functions and duties of the newspapers are not only to present and project the news objectively but to help its readers to express themselves more effectively, canalizing their aspirations, making more articulate their demands. Also, a newspaper should reflect the community it serves - wants and all (Ramirez, 1989).

For newspapers to function well, it has to have a structure that provides them with mechanisms to fulfill their responsibilities to the public. According to Franklin (2005), the newsroom serves as a focal point of any newsgathering operation whether print, broadcast or online. Meanwhile, Bush (1970) states that there are traditional journalistic practices or editorial functions that are present in the newsroom such as (1) getting the news, (2) writing the news, (3) selecting the news, (4) processing the news copy, and (5) displaying the news.

The book, “Writing and Reporting News” by Rich (2003) reveals that the reporting and writing processes in a news organization are condensed into four stages. First is the Conceive stage where ideas for the story are developed. Second is the Collect stage (considered as the reporting stage) where journalists interview sources and gather as much information as they could about the topic. Next is the Construct or the writing stage. At this stage, journalists work on how the story will be developed based on the gathered materials. The last stage, on the other hand, is referred to as the Correct or revision stage. After writing the story, journalists read it and make any changes on the story.

Through time, different news organizations have developed numerous ways to gather data and collate them effectively. Personal interviews, going to many offices just to check the veracity of documents, and participant observation, are just some of the practices that affect the performance of a newspaper (PCIJ, 1999).

However, the journalism profession has evolved through time. It has been going through several major technology changes during the past few decades. The pace of the changes is becoming quick, altering the practice of the profession as never before.

These changes, which encompass a wide range of activities from newsgathering to the dissemination of news information, bring many benefits not only to the media practitioners but also to the readers or subscribers of the print media. At the same time, the progression faces some negative impacts too. (http://www2.shsu.edu/depts/masscom_grad/new_/media ?Final?repotr5.html).

One of these technological changes that might have an impact on how journalists or news organizations observe their journalistic practices is the Short Messaging Services (SMS) or text messaging.

Balmaceda (2001), notes that Short Messaging Service or SMS, one of the latest functions of cellular phones, send and receive short alphanumeric messages to and from mobile phones. Meanwhile (Rafael, 2003) remarks that the verb “texting” has emerged to designate the act of sending such messages indicating its popularity in such places as England, Japan and Finland, where Nokia, a cellphone manufacturing firm, first began offering it.

The Philippines has sometimes been referred to as the SMS capital of the world. This is because SMS or text messaging has been a vital part of the Filipino...
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