Where are the citizen journalists of Mindanao?

Where are the bloggers of Mindanao, the citizen journalists who we have hoped would keep us updated on the ARMM elections? The ARMM elections are the first automated elections in the country. If all goes well, the government hopes to also automate the 2010 national elections.
I was expecting blogs on the elections — how the machines worked and how the people reacted to them, even pictures on the voting precincts and the voters. I was told there had been no posts as of lunchtime, but maybe that was because the voting wasn’t over yet at that time.
In another blog, a reporter had wondered if citizen journalists would eventually replace “professional” (only in the sense that we trained for it and it’s our bread and butter; citizen journalists usually have a day job) journalists.
The ARMM elections would have been a good time for citizen journalists to show what they can do and how much better a job of it they can do.
Because they do have advantages over reporters: many reporters, because of the nature of their jobs, cover in areas they are not familiar with. Citizen journalists not only know the terrain, they usually know everyone because it’s their neighborhood they’re blogging about. In the ARMM elections, a citizen journalist would have the luxury of hanging around and waiting until all the votes had been canvassed. A reporter would have to cover several precincts as well as incidents of violence. The story produced by the reporter would be more general and, because of the limited airtime and newsprint space, would be shorter. A citizen journalist can study the nuances of the election process and see if it’s worth using on a national level. Since these are bloggers we’re talking about, they would also be more familiar with computers and may even be able to write a good analytical story not only on the way the machines were used but also on how the people reacted to the machines, and how these would strengthen – or weaken – the national elections.
There were stories, for example, of children being allowed to vote because their fathers insisted that they were 18 and of voting age. A citizen journalist would probably know the boy and the father, maybe better than the board of election inspectors who said they had to take the father’s word for it. And then maybe the blog would show a picture of the boy, too, so we can see for ourselves if he did look 18.
Ah, but what am I talking about? Until the citizen journalists of Mindanao blog about the elections so that their voices — and thoughts — can be heard and discussed, these are just the rantings of someone who believes in the power of the citizen.


5 Responses

  1. Amen!

    I checked Technorati and Google Blogsearch at around noon yesterday and didn’t get any results about liveblogging the ARMM elections.

    Perhaps the bloggers at ARMM were busy or were outside the area the whole day.

  2. did you ask the bloggers you know from Mindanao? What were they doing? Those from Davao or GenSan, for example, were near enough to cover the event.

  3. Found two but they blogged about the elections but not the actual events. A story is in order.

  4. […] Dana Batnag put out this question in a blog entry dated August […]

  5. […] lengths when he attempted to write an intelligent retort to Dana Batnag’s blog post that raised the question why there was no liveblogging or citizen journalism coverage at all in the recent […]

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