UST ‘at a loss’ about online journos

Posted on January 2, 2012


(UPDATED) One of Asia’s oldest universities seems to need lecturing about online journalism.

In its reaction to Rappler’s recent story on Chief Justice Renato Corona’s questionable Ph.D., the University of Santo Tomas (UST) said it did not give its side to the author, Marites Dañguilan Vitug, due to its concerns regarding online journalism, among other things.

“UST said it did not reply to Marites Vitug’s query because it was at a loss on how to respond to ‘online journalism,'” said a story on the Philippine Daily Inquirer by UST professor and publications adviser Lito Zulueta.

“Does anyone claiming to be an online journalist (sic) given the same attention as one coming from the mainstream press?” said the statement from the 400-year-old UST.

Vitug’s story, “UST breaks rules to favor Corona,” says the Chief Justice finished his UST doctorate without the required dissertation. Her story is now the most read piece on Rappler, a trailblazing news website that now includes Newsbreak, the hard-hitting investigative magazine that Vitug co-founded.

“We understand that while Miss Vitug used to be a print journalist, she’s part of an online magazine, Newsbreak, which has reportedly been subsumed into ‘’ What’s that?” the UST statement said.

The page “About Rappler,” which should have answered UST’s questions about the site, was its third most read item when UST released this statement.

“Is that a legitimate news organization?” the university added. “What individuals and entities fund Newsbreak and Rappler? Do these outfits have editors? Who challenged Miss Vitug’s article before it went online so as to establish its accuracy, objectivity and fairness? Why was there no prior disclosure made? What gate-keeping measures does online journalism practice?”

Yes, UST, I am proud to be an online journalist. Sorry, we don’t “deserve” your attention as much as our print counterparts do. But trust me: we also know how to write, we do have editors, and we try to reach all affected parties before we post our stories. We also pledge to be accurate, objective, and fair.

Rappler’s Vitug wasn’t able to include your explanation, unfortunately, because she is now an online journalist like our other insulted colleagues.