Journalist Asked: Was there fake news before social media?

With the rise of the internet, journalists delivering news through television and radio broadcasts, and newspaper publications have found a new set of competitors in the face of bloggers, social media influencers, and content creators.

However for a dynamic storyteller like Evo Joel Contrivida, he knew he needed to evolve to survive and become as relevant as he was years ago.

Also known as the “Palawanderer” to the younger generation that reads his blogs and online news reports, the Puerto Princesa-born journalist is actually well identified in traditional media: that journalist who once brought home the 'Best Agricultural Feature Story' prize from the Philippine Morris Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Award.  

Joel’s winning story,“May Pera Nga Ba sa Kasoy?”, was one of his earlier published works before widening his horizon for a broader audience.

At The Daily Tribune in the country’s capital, he was able to co-write “Smoke in Paradise: Can Palawan Tourism Turn its Back On Smoking?” as a fellow at the prestigious Probe Media Foundation.

In this interview, Joel, who now manages the digital content of  Palawan News Daily, dissects the worlds of traditional and new media, and further shares if there was fake news before the advent of social media.


Kanto Ave Question 1. To define things right, what are the major differences between the traditional and online media in terms of delivering news?

Evo Joel Contrivida: Trad media still is sticking to its main core- getting facts directly from news source or sources, while online media is more on the experience and actual reactions of a person in events or happenings.

Kanto Ave Question 2. What do you think gave rise to social media as an alternative to traditional media?

Evo Joel Contrivida: It was technology that is the main reason. When smartphones act as Artificial Intelligence or AI, everyone can be a reporter, can be a journalist-- by just taking videos or photos. That’s the big reason I’m seeing.

Kanto Ave Question 3. Fake news is very rampant on social media. During the time when there was no social media, were there some sort of fake news too?

Evo Joel Contrivida: Actually we did have, but it was more on the reputation of a certain journalist or broadcaster. For an instance this announcer who is an ally of a politician, the announcer always says pro to that politician. That’s the fake news before.

Kanto Ave Question 4. What can an ordinary person do to protect himself or herself from fake news?

Evo Joel Contrivida: By researching first- validate the source first if it’s a legit one. And from that, you can identify that it’s real and not fake news.

Kanto Ave Question 5. As of now, what news organizations in the Philippines, whether trad or new, holds the highest level of credibility for you?

Evo Joel Contrivida: I always look up to newspapers like Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star, and Daily Tribune. They evolve and are still fighting in the name of journalism in this changing time.

Photo Courtesy of  Philippine News Agency (PNA)

Kanto Ave Question 6. For an aspiring journalist, do you recommend getting trained with a trad media or an online media?

Evo Joel Contrivida: Both, so he or she can balance and experience both worlds, since social media has already redefined reporting now.

Kanto Ave Question 7. Who do you think gets a higher pay, journalists in trad or online media?

Evo Joel Contrivida: I would say the online one. But I believe it’s not consistent. You could be a big hit now and tomorrow not anymore. But trad is something you can rely on in terms of consistency of projects and payments as well.

Kanto Ave Question 8. Since you have an access to both trad and online media platforms, what makes you decide as to where to publish a story? Or do you publish every story on both platforms?

Evo Joel Contrivida: I just select. Trad is always on straight news while my blog may still be based on that same news story but with a twist-- I kinda' copy the story and add a little of my review style and opinion per se.

Kanto Ave Question 9. Should online influencers who talk about political topics be given the press treatment to cover events?
Evo Joel Contrivida: Not really. It depends on how they execute their content. As long as they do research and verify facts first, they can cover politics-related events. 

Kanto Ave Question 10. Is it possible to merge traditional and online media? How?
Evo Joel Contrivida: Yes, it is possible. People nowadays want more information every day. Trad media is still best in getting facts while social media shapes our perception of things: Am I going to enjoy this or I’ll be bored, something on that level.

To continue the exchange of thoughts with Joel, visit his online pages now:

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