To the entitled brat

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To the entitled brat at the beat,

Isn’t it weird how being out of college makes you throw any shred of integrity out the window? Isn’t it sad how easy it is to draw a paycheck just by mooching off your peers’ hard work?

Ah, but it’s more comfortable to just sit on your ass in your online media company’s air-conditioned, WiFi-connected office. You’re thinking, perhaps, that there is no reason to go to the Sandiganbayan only to be frustrated at the lack of cellphone reception and reek of the canteen’s intrusive smell.

Even if you don’t actually cover the beat, you would still get the stories I and my colleagues do without moving a muscle. Why bother documenting 491 pages of the Malampaya fund scam charges when you could still “get” the story somehow without going to the court? Why take time perusing each page and ringing up the numbers when you could just wait for the articles to come up elsewhere first? (If you actually saw the documents, you’d know that it does not only take a mere six hours to write that story—unless you’re a genius cyborg who must be pirated immediately.)

As if to add insult to the injury: your online media outfit (no, it’s not actually named after the politician) is big enough for a search result to appear on Google News, which seems not to have noticed the output of another print reporter who actually worked on her story.

See, here’s the thing: No reporter is perfect enough to get all the stories. Sometimes, they’re diverted to another beat because of manpower considerations, while others have to tend to personal errands from time to time.

This is the part where being friends with other reporters helps. This is where sharing of documents kicks in, and it is the norm at the court beats.

But this takes place between reporters who have earned each other’s trust and who understand that sharing is a give-and-take process. Normally, reporters have to earn their keep so they can rely on the others when they need to.

Now, just think about it: have you ever been of use to the other reporters to justify why they should assist you in your time of need? Antagonizing other reporters seems to be the exact opposite of making friends. You may be younger than me, you may have started working two years later than me, but this does not excuse your inexplicable lack of regard for such basic social cues.

And yes, I even confronted you as soon as you came back to the Sandiganbayan in one of those rare instances you actually bothered. I told you to stop doing what you just did in the Malampaya case, but you only smugly stammered “Huh?,” pretending to lack knowledge like a confused toddler who’s starting to learn new words.

Admittedly, I couldn’t talk to you for long and I had to again try to ignore your bothersome existence. That’s how much looking at your disgusting, smug face makes me sick.

So, a day or two later, you even dared ask our online reporter for the PDF file that I painstakingly compiled from a mess of photos relating to another case. This time, you actually pretended to play along with this whole “give-and-take” thing by sending him, what, a copy of the press release literally everyone in the beat has?

Last week’s Malampaya case is not even the first time you’ve betrayed your haughtiness and contemptuous disregard for the true reporters you find so easy to take advantage of.

The first time, I immediately felt something off, but I tried to shrug it off. There were three of us taking pictures of a complaint filed at the Office of the Ombudsman, but as soon as you’re done, you flipped the pages right away without concern for a senior reporter. She even had to remind you that you’re not the only one at the coverage. Is simple courtesy really something people have to be reminded of?

And, also before your first week has passed, you tried to impose on me to send you the audio recording of our ambush interview with the Ombudsman at Resorts World. Because apparently, commuting to the airport, where it is a major hassle, is just so beneath you.

I stopped acknowledging your existence when you had the gall to ask another reporter for the document I gave her (she was attending a press conference and could not go to the court right away) knowing that she used to work for your company.

That was not the worst thing about that episode: it was the fact that you even took advantage of your absence at internet-less Sandiganbayan to tweet ahead of me using the document I took myself. This, for me, was the last straw.

I have to ask: why stay in journalism if you’re so averse to the grunt work that your more senior peers from other media entities are used to doing? By grunt work, I mean, you know, the fundamental tenet of news gathering?

Why stink up the name of the industry even more and spoil things for the rest of us who actually give a damn about our jobs?

You don’t have to stay in journalism. It’s a thankless and financially unprofitable career that thrives on people who understand the need to inform the public and exert the effort to bring the latest developments of the Sandiganbayan cases to light.

You may argue it is selfish and conceited if the legitimate reporters refuse to allow you to share the fruits of their labor under your name, but this only goes back to the point about your inflated ego.

Sometimes, I’d like to blame this on the contemporary online content industry, where underpaid workers are expected—even encouraged—to churn out dozens of articles with minimal effort, without wasting time doing useless things like “working out there in the field.”

But, then again, your co-workers from the same media company aren’t shabby either (your Palace reporter is even known in media circles for giddily volunteering to cover every single presidential event at ungodly hours). In fact, I look up to online reporters in general as industrious people who even have the added superpower of covering events at blinding speed.

Maybe I’m just trying to rationalize what’s happening in the past couple of months. I certainly hope, for the future of the industry, that your freeloading ass is just an exception and does not reflect the work ethics of the latest batches of graduates from the country’s premier journalism school.

So, let me just put my thoughts and grievances in writing. However, you’d have to pardon my French, because this is the only way I can express myself eloquently:

Putang ina mo, gago. 🖕

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