Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Did The Philippine Daily Inquirer Proclaim Mary Jane Veloso As Executed And Dead?

On early Wednesday, Indonesia executed eight drug smugglers (four Nigerians, two Australians, one Brazilian, and one Indonesian). Spared from the spray of bullets was Mary Jane Veloso of the Philippines. The Filipina was taken off the execution list at the last minute.

So those aware of the development were shocked to wake up in the morning and see that a few of the nation's dailies have headlines that screams "Veloso has met her maker!" The Philippine Daily Inquirer takes the cake for its bold pronouncement that "Death came before dawn." And then there's the Manila Bulletin's "No delay in execution." As we all know by now, Veloso is alive and well as the Indonesian government had a change of mind, or heart if you will.

Photos of the headlines are making their rounds online and as you'd expect, the dailies are being called or sorts of names. "Mga bobo." That kind of stuff. So what happened?

Do the newspapers deserve all the bashing they're getting? In a way, yes. But before we bash the papers, we really need to have a bit of understanding as to how the newspaper business works. Here's the tip of the iceberg: what happens today is what you'll see in the papers tomorrow.

The papers didn't receive the scoop on the Veloso case before printing time so they had to work with what they already have: bits and pieces of information from the day before. If you are to read the top of the headlines on April 28, all signs seem to point to a sure execution. Several officials from the Indonesian government spoke on record that there won't be any delay for the 9 smugglers.

I have to say though that the Inquirer headline was a huge blunder. That's a headline they shouldn't have ran. As to the Manila Bulletin headline, it's still misleading but at least they were reporting on facts from the day before. In a nutshell, both papers made huge reporting mistakes. They'll get bashed for said mistakes. They deserve the criticisms. Here's to hoping they will do better next time.
Headlines by Inquirer, Star, and Manila Bulletin. Image credit: Coconuts Manila.