‘Business journalism a potent tool for telling stories of COVID-19 survival’


BUSINESS JOURNALISM is not just about reporting profits and number crunching but is also about telling the stories of the people hardest hit by the pandemic, business journalists said.

Stories on pandemic response, the agriculture and labor sector, economic legislation, and election are best told by business journalists because they look at a broader context, Business Mirror editor-in-chief Lourdes Fernandez said.

“From the get-go or the first quarter of 2020 with the pandemic reach Philippine shores, even the most seasoned science health journalists realized that telling the COVID-19 response story needed to be told as a business story,” Fernandez said during the ‘Beyond the Numbers: Understanding Business Journalism’ webinar held last Sept. 17.

She cited a story by reporter and University of Santo Tomas journalism instructor Cai Ordinario which detailed the link between youth and senior citizen employment and a recent government data on high labor force participation rate.

By properly giving the context, the story allowed the readers to understand the implications behind such data, Fernandez said.

“We just want to be sure that we give the readers a very clear context [para] maintindihan ng mga tao (so the people could understand),” she added.

Business journalism, Fernandez said, is “relevant and inescapable,” making it “a potent tool for telling stories of survival and surviving.”

Philippine Daily Inquirer business reporter Ben Arnold De Vera said business journalists also need to report the present health crisis and vaccination updates because these concern people who are key players in the economy.

“Only people who are healthy can spend, they can be productive, and they can work, right? So, it’s part of the economy,” De Vera said. “Once more people are vaccinated, we can reopen the economy [and] they can go back to their jobs.”

Meanwhile, Reuters News Agency correspondent Neil Jerome Morales emphasized the importance of capital market reporting which primarily deals with money, “the life-blood of the economy.”

The capital market is a financial market where people come together to trade stocks, bonds, currencies, and financial assets to satisfy their needs and interests, Morales said.

The government and companies also gain funds for their projects and economic well-being by trading, he added.

“Government can access money to fund ‘Build, Build, Build’ projects, to make classrooms, [and] to provide more services to people. And then for companies, [they] use other people’s money so they can invest in new manufacturing plans [and to] pay debts,” Morales said.

For business journalism to further fulfill its efficacy, Morales said reporters must ensure accountability from those in authority.

“We are called to make people in power accountable. You make them accountable for their promises,” he said.

The forum was organized by the University of Santo Tomas journalism department, the Economic Journalist Association of the Philippines, and the Aboitiz Group.  F – Matthew Dave A. Jucom

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