Second rate copycat

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    ON SATURDAY, this popped up in my email:

    Mar 28 at 1:36 PM
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    MARCH 27, 2015
    ANGELES CITY- INFORMATION OFFICE

    AC local artists to create new arts hub

    ANGELES CITY – Local artists in this city join hands to rehabilitate a two-decade abandoned building and turn it into a new arts hub in theheritage district.

    The old CSSI building at 1246 Miranda Street is designed to be an eco-friendly contemporary arts hub that will serve as a venue for arts practitioners in Pampanga and a nesting ground to harness young potentialartists in the city.

    Leading the charge is John Jurado, director of Teatro Angeleno, who is on a mission to create this hub called the “Arts and GardenMuseum”.

    “We desire to create experiences throughour works. Thus, we envision more of these productions, speaking engagements, workshops, art collaboration talks and exhibits happening here.” Jurado said.

    A stage production from Teatro Angeleno, “Ang Paglilitis ni Mang Serapio” will be staged at the Arts & Garden Museum on April 1 & 2 in time with the Lenten season.

    According to Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan, the initiative of the local artists on the rehabilitation and transformation of the building is in line with the local government’s goal of providing venues where people can appreciate the arts and at the same time, budding artists will have a stage to hone their skills and talents – and this is manifest by the five new parks found across the city.

    “There is a continuous need for community development and education in the city that are necessary for a progressive society and I applaud this coterie of local artists on their initiative” the mayor said.

    Kevin Montalbo
    Writer | City Information Office
    0922 508 7454 | 322 7230 (193) | angelescity.
    gov.ph

    ON SUNDAY, March 29, 2015, I read this in the
    online edition of Sun-Star Pampanga:

    Local artists to create new arts hub
    By Ferth Vandensteen Manaysay
    Saturday, March 28, 2015

    ANGELES CITY — Local artists in this city have joined hands to rehabilitate a two-decade abandoned building and turn it into a new arts hub in the heritage district.

    The old CSSI building at 1246 Miranda Street is designed to be an eco-friendly contemporary arts hub that will serve as a venue for arts practitioners in Pampanga and a nesting ground to harness young potential artists in the city.

    Leading the charge is John Jurado, director of Teatro Angeleno, who is on a mission to create this hub called the “Arts and Garden Museum”.

    “We desire to create experiences through our works. Thus, we envision more of these productions, speaking engagements, workshops, art collaboration talks and exhibits happening here,” Jurado said.

    A stage production from Teatro Angeleno, “Ang Paglilitis ni Mang Serapio” will be staged at the Arts and Garden Museum on April 1 and 2 in time for the Lenten season.

    According to Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan, the initiative of the local artists on the rehabilitation and transformation of the building is in line with the local government’s goal of providing venues where people can appreciate the arts and at the same time, budding artists will have a stage to hone their skills and talents – and this is manifested by the five new parks found across the city.

    “There is a continuous need for community development and education in the city that are necessary for a progressive society and I applaud this coterie of local artists on their initiative,” the mayor said.

    THE press release from the City Information Office sourced Kevin Montalvo makes a perfect copy – but for the removal of “AC” in the slug – of the Sun-Star Pampanga story bylined Ferth Vandensteen Manaysay which also appeared on Page2 of its print edition for the day.

    Instantly find a red flag there.

    Rearing its ugly head anew is plagiarism – that which is defined in dictionaries as the “wrongful appropriation,” “close imitation,” or “purloining and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions,” and the representation of them as one’s own original work.

    Simply because it is “only” a press release issued by a government agency is no license for any reporter/correspondent to appropriate it as his own by affixing his byline thereat.

    While local editors generally give leeway to their news writers using press releases, this still carries some responsibility on the part of the latter to do his own fact-checking, and subsequent rewriting of the story, truly making it as his own.

    Press releases published en toto are taglined as such with their source. At least that is what we do here in Punto. That is accepted standard, and ethical, practice.

    Far from this single instance at issue here, local newsmen appropriating press releases – usually from the Clark Development Corp., Clark International Airport Corp., the information offices of the Capitol and the cities of San Fernando and Angeles – as their own has apparently become the norm, rather than the exception.

    It gives an indication to what depths local journalism has sunk. It provides proof to the ineptness, incompetence and indolence of many in the local media. Which reminds us of what once-journalist Gov. Bren Z. Guiao observed during his watch at the Capitol: “Pepasalwan da lang baguk, meging reporter na la (They were just sent on an errand to buy shrimp paste, they already became reporters.)” Further birthing the “medya-media” mutation in the genus of local media.

    As we have always held in our over 40 years of media practice, plagiarism is plain and simple stealing. The scale and scope of what is thieved make the difference between pilferage and plunder. A sentence, a paragraph copied verbatim and passed on as one’s own comprises the former, a whole body of work – feature, essay, research paper, speech, critique, etc. – the latter.

    Still, and all, a violation of the Commandment “Thou shalt not steal.” And “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods” too.

    That’s something worth pondering this Holy Week for us in the local media – plagiarists, pretenders, professionals and purists alike.

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