The prestige of being a journalist goes beyond the privilege of covering events or certain situations. Yes, it’s a cool job where your byline regularly appears on a publication or news online site, or your face gets TV exposure.
However, the actual respect you receive is due to the role you play as an engaging storyteller of humanity and a firm protector of truth. This is true regardless of the beat you’re on or the medium you embrace.
Last Sunday (May 28) night, here in California, that sense of calling was hovering during the gala night to install the new officers of the Filipino American Press Club of California (FAPCCA), which celebrated its 11th anniversary as a club. The occasion was held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in the city of Whittier, Los Angeles County.
The event was a festive gathering of Filipino-born media practitioners in California, guests of honor from the Fil-Am society, and professionals from various fields who hold the journalism profession in high regard.
Edgar Badajos, Consul General of the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles, was given the floor to articulate the kind of atmosphere faced by active journalists amid the changed landscape and, more importantly, to fire up everyone to consistently employ the fundamentals of news.
He shared, “If people rely on news that is not accurate, that is not true, that is lacking in research, then that is dangerous to any society. If that happens, people will form their opinions, biases, and personal prejudices that may not be in the best interest of the country in general.”
On this note, the highly respected gentleman emphasized the role that journalists can and should play, even with what he calls “civilian journalists” proliferating digital avenues like social media.
He noted, “Members of this industry can still play a very important and relevant role. You can exert influence over these people for guidance. You can help them follow certain standards.”
On cue, the 2023-2024 officers of FAPCCA were presented, led by its president Lissa Pacheco Chow, a woman described by Badajos as “business savvy and very smart.” Don Orozco and Jackie Dayoha were named 1st and 2nd Vice Presidents, respectively.
The rest of the officers are as follows: Adrian Lecaros (secretary), Celia Abuel (assistant secretary), Lydia Soriano (treasurer), Sam Azurel (auditor), Tony Garcia (public relations officer), and Katie Ortiz (media relations officer).
The board of directors is composed of eight veterans in the field, namely, Abby Amores, Rudy Autor, Roy Barnes, Mic Diaz, Roger Parajes, Fernandico Gonong, Aris Duenas, and Joey Yumul.
Presidents emeritus also graced the occasion, led by founders Thelma Calabio and Andy Edralin, along with Isidric Panganiban and Benny Uy.
Badajos closed his impactful speech by challenging FAPCCA to urge colleagues in Fil-Am circles “to be truthful when it comes to reporting.”
He said, “I would like to challenge FAPCCA to rise to this occasion, to be vanguards of the truth in news reporting, to ensure that the members of the community only hear what is truly factual, so they can make informed decisions that affect our community.”
Being a journalist is about staying committed to the cause, regardless of where you are. After spending two decades in the Philippines, striving to improve and gain wisdom as a writer and sharer of news – whether it be good or bad, straightforward or controversial – all in the honorable name of the profession, I feel privileged to be a new member of FAPCCA myself.
Here’s to my colleagues and to empowering Filipino Americans!