22 February 2011

On feeling like a journalist; notes

Most of the topics I've written about are to do with leisure, information, or special interests that aren't necessarily my own. While anything to do with technology, health, and the environment excites me, I can't help feeling a bit of irony whenever I write about cars (I can't drive), finance (my portfolio consists of two savings accounts and a mutual fund), credit cards (I'm against them), or rising real estate (I'm still in that boarding house in Cubao). I can't remember the last time one of my topics felt as relevant, both to my life and to other people's, as the one I'm working on now.

This month, I decided to take our Healthguide theme, "health taboos" and go with an article on the Reproductive Health Bill. I figured that it was timely, not only because of the raging debates but also because of its recent progress toward becoming a law. (I'll leave it to you to decide whether that's good or bad progress.) I've also always been intrigued by issues in which people's interest can be religious--in more ways than one--and it's not often that faith becomes a factor in the things I write.

I have my own views on the RH bill, but I'll wait till after the article's done to post them here.

I'm currently waiting for a response from Pro-Life Philippines president Eric Manalang regarding an interview this afternoon with exec. director Marita Wasan or another authorized representative. I'm hoping that I can interview him/her before the end of the day--literally; I have another interviewee standing by for 5:30 PM. I've already interviewed a pro-bill source, and the one waiting for my 5:30 call will be pro-bill as well. The staff of the 5:30 interviewee seemed quite eager to get me in touch with her, even if this person was busy attending the hearings and organizing events, etc. I feel it would be rude to turn them down as they're so clearly making time for me.

I know, though, that if I quote two pro-bill sources without quoting at least one anti-bill source as well--even if I do quote the last CBCP pastoral letter, past statements by Mr. Manalang and other anti-bill figures, anti-bill groups' online resources, and even Humanae Vitae (thank you, Fr. Dacanay)--people might accuse me of being biased. What I want to do is present both sides clearly and fairly and leave the decision-making to the reader, but if the anti-bill folks don't get in any quotation marks, there might be some grumbling. Here's hoping someone answers the phone.