A friend on Facebook posted a status update this morning that links to a slideshow published by Life.com about the violent demolition yesterday of an urban-poor community in Manila. “And did you say photojournalism is dead?” Jimmy Domingo asked rhetorically.
By way of a reply to Jimmy, I posted this on my Facebook page: “Philippine photojournalism is not dead. It lives in the hearts of these courageous men and women who risk life and limb out there, in the streets, to bring us images that remind us of the injustices that continue to plague Philippine society.”
Hats off to this new breed of Filipino photojournalists (who are too many to mention here) and the veterans of the trade who continue to guide and inspire them (you know who you are).
And let’s not forget the Filipino video journalists who strive to be much closer to the action. Their coverage of events, particularly people’s issues — news and stories that are often ignored by the mainstream press — has been outstanding and, with new technology, their work are improving by the pixel and by the frame.
A few recent examples are Luis Liwanag’s video of yesterday’s demolition.Tudla Production and Kodao Production, two progressive media outfits, already have dramatic videos of the demolition circulated on Facebook but they have not yet published these on their respective sites.
Bulatlat.com, whose multimedia work in the past year has grown extensively, also put together a riveting video of the demolition, which can be viewed here. Included in this video are dramatic footage not just of the confrontation between the soon-to-be-homeless residents but of journalists caught in the crossfire as well. The video was shot by reporter Janess Ann J. Ellao using a standard-definition Flip video camera. (If you need proof, by the way, why Flip is one of the best tools for multimedia journalism, Janess’s video would be it.)
An additional, probably useful, bit of information: Ayi Muallam, the multimedia editor of Bulatlat, used not some fancy and mind-blowingly expensive video editing software such as Premiere or Final Cut but the iMovie software that came with her Mac to edit this video, mainly because it was easy to use, fast and has the features needed for a video of this nature.)
And who can forget the footage taken by Tudla Production of the Hacienda Luisita massacre in 2004? The video is online somewhere but Bulatlat’s Muallam used it most effectively in this video documentary about the massacre and the new president, Benigno S. Aquino III.
So, you see, photojournalism and video journalism in the Philippines are thriving, and it makes me happy that these are being used to highlight the many social issues in my country.