Akbayan-LP alliance story wins journalism award

By Janvic Mateo, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 12 2014 02:35 AM | Updated as of Mar 12 2014 10:35 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Two students from the University of the Philippines who looked into the apparent conflict of interest in the alliance between Akbayan party-list and the Liberal Party bagged the top award in the recently held Chit Estella Journalism Research Awards.

Iza Darlene Cay and Vince Alvic Alexis Nonato of the UP College of Mass Communication (CMC) won first prize for their research entitled, “Sino’ng inaakbayan?” Their investigation delved on how political entities gave rise to conflict of interest within the policy making decisions of Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party.

The investigative research looked into the policy-making of Akbayan after it supported the presidential bid of then senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III in 2010.

Akbayan, the two students said, joined the administration Liberal Party to forward its causes even if the platforms of the two parties differed on various aspects such as labor, VERA Files president Ellen Tordesillas said in a blog post.

“It found that the alliance with the Liberal Party caused the party to ‘compromise their ideals to give in to the policy framework of the other members of the alliance’ in several instances,” Tordesillas added.

A full and final version of the winning investigative research, which also won the People’s Choice Award, has yet to be released. The two students only presented the initial findings of the research during the conference.

Cay and Nonato told The STAR they were happy with the recognition that they received for their work.

Nonato said that they are fortunate that UP supports the conduct of research that seeks to contribute to the body of knowledge, particularly in the field of journalism.

“We chose this topic because we are very interested in the party-list system of the country. We thought that this topic is a very interesting phenomenon,” added Cay.

VERA Files – an online news organization founded by veteran journalists – and The Philippine STAR are among the sponsors of the Philippine Journalism Research Conference (PJRC) held at the UP CMC on March 5.

The Chit Estella Memorial Awards were conferred during the conference, now on its second year. UP senior journalism students also won the second and third prizes.

Bagging second place were Antonio Jose Galauran and Luis Adrian Hidalgo for their investigative research entitled, “Borrowed Home: An exploratory study on the effects of the proposed National Botanical Garden to the lives of the informal settler community in the UP Arboretum.”

Third prize went to Jeanne Camille Hernandez and Mark Conrad Salvador for their research entitled, “A Comparative Content Analysis of ABS-CBN’s CCTV Patrol and GMA-7’s Hulicam News Segments from June-December 2013.”

Elora Joselle Cangco, Encar Marie Ilao, and Bernadette Nicolas of the University of Santo Tomas were awarded a citation from the Disaster Risk Reduction Network for their study, “The Effects of Source Diversity in Perceived Credibility and Media Use of the Audience: The Typhoon Stories of Two Broadcast News Programs.”

First prize awardees received P5,000, while the second and third received P3,000 and P2,000, respectively. Another P1,000 was given to Cay and Nonato for the people’s choice awards.

The award was named after the late UP journalism professor and VERA Files trustee Chit Estella-Simbulan, who died in an accident on May 13, 2011.

The awards were established in 2012 “to keep alive Simbulan’s ideals of excellent and principled journalism.”

The previous awards were conferred to writers of best journalist reports on human rights. This year, it sought to commend research of journalism students from different universities.