Interviewing 101

Erwin Tulfo
Standard

Journalism students should look at government radio’s Erwin Tulfo’s reaction when he failed to immediately get an interview with Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista — he threatened to slap the retired Army general and even called him crazy — as an example of how those seeking interviews should never behave.

Tulfo’s behaviour was one more demonstration of how some of those in the media are so entitled that they think that anyone asked for an interview should consider it a favour.

Those practitioners with some training in the ethical and professional standards of journalism know that it’s the interviewee who’s doing the interviewer a favour, and that he or she has a right to set the terms of the interview or even reject it altogether.

And yet it isn’t the first time that an interviewer displayed his arrogance  in public and over the air. In 2013 GMA7’s Arnold Clavio berated the lawyer of accused plunderer Janet Napoles for refusing to answer questions about a Napoles case he was unfamiliar with. But only such blatant examples of interviewer arrogance have attracted public attention. There are other instances involving relatively unknown people whom interviewers berated and even made fun of.

It is behaviour like this that has eroded media credibility, and made attacks against the entire press of no concern to much of the public, even if only a few practitioners have been so ethically and professionally challenged that they see nothing wrong with accepting bribes or positions in government while continuing to write opinion columns.  

As besieged as they already are by the online trolls and old media hacks of the Duterte regime, the responsible sectors of the Philippine press have to address this problem either by distancing themselves from those elements in the media who’re debasing public discourse daily, or by themselves instituting, together with the better journalism schools, on the job training programs focused not only on skills enhancement but also on  the ethical and professional imperatives of responsible practice, or both.

Photo from Philippine News Agency, a web-based newswire service of the Philippine government

2 thoughts on “Interviewing 101

  1. Maria Melina C. Y. Doria

    and it happens because nobody even bothers to call them out — am surprised this here is a write up on it. But why not have other media personalities call them out. Check and balance within media circle?

  2. Jose Batao

    Only Graduates of journalism and those ‘cooked’ well in journalistic ethical code and professionalism should be allowed to write columns or go on air. I’m surprised that the NPC is allowing things like this to happen. In the guise of press freedom and freedom of expression? Oh, boy! It’s no longer freedom; it’s pure, unmitigated licentiousness!

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