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Why the scarcity of local IT news?

Mon Lizardo of Inquirer.net tells Aileen Apolo that there aren’t really much IT news in the Philippines. She was basically “ranting about the lack of Philippine internet news. I read a lot of local tech blogs and news, but there are just aren’t any stuff about local IT stuff. How come?

Though most tech bloggers and journalist alike would concur to this observation, I think I have a different angle to this. Let me give you a backgrounder. I bumped into an old friend while heading to the gym last night (Fitness First at The Fort, anyone?) and he told me a really juicy scoop about a local music company trying to dip its hands into the iTunes industry. Sadly, he says I could not blog about it even after I promised I won’t mention his name as my source. I told him I always get that sort of thing — juicy but non-blogable local IT story.

So, now you see why we lack IT news? It’s because these stories don’t often see the light of day. They always end up like any one of these:

  • Praise Press Release or Advertising. The really good Philippine tech news almost always end up in the papers or TV as the company’s press release or as an advertisement of a new product or service. Just look at Smart 3G, PLDT WeRoam or Globe Visibility. First time the masses heard about them was thru an advertisement. The ad dilutes the real news story behind it.
  • The Clone Mentality. Yes, like the Chinese we’re also very fond of cloning — a copy of Yahoo, Friendster, Facebook, Digg, iTunes. Lack of innovation. Nobody want’s to pick up your story if you’re just another clone. Well, we can always settle for stories like “Fake iPods hit the streets of Manila” or “iTunes clone launched in the Philippines“.
  • Conflict of Interest. MSM can’t ran a (distateful or controversial) story about their biggest ad buyers. That’s just how capitalism works.
  • Super Secret, Non-Disclosure or Scared Source. This is the one that I’m talking about in my encounter above. I get a lot of stories from people in the know, yet I can’t blog about them. Either the story is super secret as told by the company executive, the developer signed a non-disclosure with the client company, or the employee is scared of getting fired if the story gpt leaked out.

Mostly these stories are not good news but still they are relevant stories, right? Some of them maybe just rumors, a whitewash or the plain but aweful truth. Maybe that’s the reason why we don’t have our own ValleyWag or AppleInsider. But, if you’re just looking for “good” news then I’m sorry because there’s really not much to go around.

So, anybody out there got some juicy stories to share?

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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11 Responses

  1. jayvee f. says:

    of course i have a lot! but i’d have to ask you to sign a non disclosure …. :D

  2. Haha, same, and I think I know that “above top secret” (quoting Transformers Live-Action Movie 1) scoop :p

    And just like jayvee, I will ask you to sign an NDA. hehehe….

  3. Jun says:

    Parang “If I tell you I have to kill you. =) ”

    Kidding aside, maybe we can start with not-so-big IT news and personalities like thisand international news that affect us like the new .asia domains.

  4. yuga says:

    So, that’s the real reason why! The US bloggers and tipsters aren’t afraid to cull out the super secrets and the NDAs.

  5. BrianB says:

    You ruin their business because of a bad report they’ll kill you.

  6. jayvee f. says:

    actually, there is a lot of IT news around the country. i feel however that in terms of slice of the pie, not a lot of news journalists are allocated to the tech sector. tech is usually given to the magazines, IMO.

    secondly, i feel that there are a lot of newsworthy items thats dying to be reported but journos do not know where to get this from. so it also works on the reverse side, where tech journos need to be educated on where they can also source information.

    to sum my opinion:

    1. although cyberpress exists (i am not a member), there seems to be more focus on the other sectors

    2. journos need to be more well connected with tech startups. tech startups should know that tech journos are more than willing to publish their story.

    i feel that the whole “company secrecy” thing may be pushed a bit far. if so, then why do niche coverages such as hackenslash (joey alarilla’s gaming industry report / advocacy) have a lot of news?

  7. Gail says:

    I’m not so sure about tech journalists being more than willing to publish stories coming from companies… Maybe I’m mistaken, but won’t that be a press release and not an article? A new product may be newsworthy to the company who made it, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that dailies will think the same. If they don’t see anything newsworthy or anything special about a new product, why report it when they can actually use the space for something they think is more newsworthy?

    IMHO, I think it should be the other way around. I understand “startups” as companies “new” in the industry, so it’s really up to them to improve their marketing strategies and actually get noticed by the journalists.

    I don’t know… I’m not a journalist or anything, but isn’t it a bit tacky for journalists to be the ones approaching companies/startups just to get news?

    Ah, well. Maybe it’s just me.

  8. Karla says:

    I was in PR (with Joan Orendain) for sometime and I don’t see anything wrong with a journalist calling me up and asking for updates about a product or a company that’s among my portfolio. In fact, a lot of them do that (I won’t name that) because you do have to follow up a story. There could be more to a launch than just a new product. My respect for a journalist who calls me up does not diminish at all. That’s part of network building, and that’s how you get first dibs on stories that haven’t been written about yet. Sources–that’s how you call them.
    Joan, who used to be a journalist herself, once said that there should be mutualism between PR and the media. In the same way that some journalists need PR firms for news, the latter also need them to break their stories.
    There are so many stories out there to be written about! I think it’s just a matter of finding them.

  9. Miguel says:

    Looks like the old, old, old (yeah I was still young when it started!) .PH issue issue is alive again. With the help of Abe’s post!

    Chin Wong’s story.

  10. Miguel says:

    re: Hackenslash: it’s obvious, it’s easy to write stories when you love the topic!

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