Atom Araullo: From physics to activism to journalism


Posted at Mar 15 2009 04:25 PM | Updated as of Apr 04 2009 12:52 AM

In physics, force changes the state of an object at rest. Force causes a change in motion in an object.

Bachelor of Science Applied Physics graduate of University of the Philippines Alfonso “Atom” Araullo is considered a force of change.

Now a television reporter for ABS-CBN, Atom sees his journalistic career a weapon for “changing the direction” of people’s live.

“There are lot of skills used in physics that I have applied in being a journalist,” he told in an interview.

The formula of a good story is the combination of using scientific analysis, critical thinking, presentation of findings in an organized manner, providing evidence and arriving at a logical conclusion.

Son of Carol P. Araullo, chairperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Atom said that he is not dodgy with political issues since he was exposed to them. In fact, he “sought out for these ideas.”

Atom was a student activist during his university days, but he was also active in extra-curricular science activities and sports.

He was part of different organizations like UP Mountaineering, League of Filipino Students, and Stand Up. He was editor-in-chief of the College of Science’s publication, Siyensya, and was a founder of the Laya Football Club.

The bigger picture

When he was a student activist, Atom’s first and most unforgettable rally was the State of the Nation Address mobilization against then President Joseph Estrada.

“I just went because I thought my co-students were there, there were no classes and anti-Estrada sentiments were somewhat passed on to me,” he said.

Atom said that going to such rallies exposes the youth and helps them be involved with the plight of others.

The rally closest to his heart was a protest against the Senate Bill (SB) 2587. “This was to change the charter of UP. And I felt I had to be part of the mobilization because it would not benefit my co-students,” he said. Atom was arrested and detained at the Pasay City Police District station. 

Tuition fees and issues regarding quality education are seemingly small issues, “but in reality, these problems stem from bigger national issues,” Atom said.

From activist to journalist

In reconciling his political opinions and the neutrality that comes with journalism Atom said he wishes to “impart a message to audiences, without slamming the message to their faces.”

He draws out from previous experiences he had when he was a student activist the motivation to work hard as a journalist.

“Being involved in political concerns before made me more aware and more knowledgeable about issues,” he said.

Atom also said that media’s neutrality is an illusion. “Media is a tool to inform the people, to empower them,” he said.

Responsibility to the youth

He volunteered to cover the events of YouthVotePhilippines. Atom believes that the media has a huge responsibility to the youth because it is the most dynamic sector of the society.

“We need to be catalysts of change,” he said. “What happens now will change the events of the future.”

The youth, whose main source of information is the television, should be properly informed of what is going on around them.

In being part of the youth and also a television reporter, “We don’t do our jobs just to indifferently report the bad things happening in the society; we do our work so they will stop,” Atom said.