“An enlightened citizen is an indispensable ingredient of the infrastructure of democracy.” Barbara Jordon
Editor: Noemi Lardizabal-Dado, contact at noemidado @ gmail.com
In some way, that describes Blog Watch, a group of citizen advocates who now use the power of the pen and its collective voice, as well as the individual online voices of its members, to continue pushing for social change.
Blog Watch is composed of independent-minded bloggers and social media users who leverage new technology tools to advocate social change and serve as a nonpartisan citizens’ watchdog and collective conscience for transparency and good governance.
(SEE ALSO: Articles on Voter Education | Blog Watch: A microcosm of the evolution of citizen engagement in the Philippines)
The beginnings of Blog Watch were simple. In our launch in November 2009, our short-term vision was simply to provide another avenue to promote voter education. We began as a motley group of 16 bloggers — and over the succeeding months, we grew to about 25 bloggers just before the first automated May 10, 2010 Presidential and National Elections. By the time the elections were over, Blog Watch had interviewed seven presidential candidates and other candidates running for national positions, trained with the Philippine Center of Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), attended several electoral forums and presidential debates, guested in several talk shows covering the elections, and hosted a 3-hour TV slot on Global News Network (GNN) for its own election coverage. The positive response from our community inspired us to continue our work beyond the election season and pursue our individual advocacies — as well as collaborate with netizens, when appropriate.
Blog Watch creates content, connects, and collaborates.
Today, Blog Watch continues to be a forum for constructive engagement in the democratic process. We are composed of citizen advocates, independent-minded bloggers, and social media users who leverage new technology tools to advocate for social change and serve as a nonpartisan citizens’ watchdog and collective conscience for transparency and good governance.
The Blog Watch network is intergenerational, ranging from 16-year-old to 60-plus-something bloggers, including netizens from various walks of life (students, mothers, employees, and self-employed citizens). Not all of us are bloggers. Some members of our network serve as photographers, videographers, or social media users.
Our individual advocacies range from education, support for health issues, disaster preparedness, environment, education, and livelihood to bridging the digital divide.
Some of our advocacy projects include #juanvote (Filipino netizens for honest, orderly, and peaceful elections) and #epalwatch (a shame campaign against grandstanding, self-promoting “epal” public officials).
Blog Watch uses various social media networking sites and multimedia platforms to convey these stories through news articles, opinion editorials, photos, videos, podcasts, and social media engagement.
The citizen media platforms for our articles and opinion editorials are (a) BlogWatch.ph, hosted by the Philippine Online Chronicles (thepoc.net) of the Vibal Group; our articles can be shared freely through Creative Commons license; content is curated and contextualized by information from traditional media, opinions, primary interviews, and various social media platforms; AND (b) BlogWatch.tv, where social media users and volunteers contribute their content.
Blog Watch is not affiliated with any political group or party and does its best to remain nonpartisan by publishing, to the fullest extent possible, all sides of an issue. For transparency, Blog Watchers are obliged to disclose in their profiles any close affiliations with a politician, high government official, or political party.
Summary of our citizen media coverage
Blog Watch is the first citizen media that covered the May 2010 elections. We introduced live streaming in our coverage and the first to use curation tools such as storify.net to gather news from different social media sources.
- Interviewed seven (7) presidential candidates in the May 10, 2010 elections
- Interviewed some senatorial candidates, congressional candidates and a few local candidates
- Covered the first Inaugural of President Aquino, the very first citizen media coverage of its kind in Philippine presidential inaugurals. We also covered President Aquino’s first SONA, first 100 Days and the EDSA 25 celebrations.
- Cocoy Dayao, one of the first blogger to be elected to be part of a participant of the Foreign Press Center “2012 Election Night Program” from October 31-November 8, 2012
- Stories that traditional media picked up from our twitter timeline and that first broke in Twitter:
- Pilipinas Kay Ganda
- @congMP deletes his twitter account
- Plunder of our Philippine Marine Life
- Child abuse against Willie Revillame
- Manny Pacquiao alleged Boracay resort
- PCSO – He said, She said
1. What is Blog Watch?
When Blog Watch launched in November 2009, it was our vision to simply provide another avenue to promote voter education. We began as a motley group of 16 bloggers and over the succeeding months, we grew to about 25 by the time of the May 10, 2011 elections. By the time the elections were over, Blog Watch managed to interview seven presidential candidates, other candidates running for national positions, train with the Philippine Center of Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), attend several electoral fora and presidential debates, guest in several talk shows covering the elections, and host a 3-hour TV slot on Global News Network (GNN) last May 10, 2011 for its own election coverage.
Today, Blog Watch is a citizens’ watchdog for transparency and good governance. Blog Watch wants to enable the Aquino administration to fulfill its promise to include the citizenry in solving the nation’s problems. It is a forum for constructive engagement in the democratic process.
In light of our continuing efforts, we envision our tasks to include the following, but not limited to:
- Encouraging feedback from our online community through their discussions and comments in various social media networks and where feasible, compile these comments and provide them as feedback to the Communications Group
- Direct communication with the Aquino administration on concerns echoed by the online community or to clarify/obtain statements from Malacanang on current issues;
- Writing commentaries, making recommendations and featuring stories on relevant issues so that these concerns can be translated into action by the appropriate government bodies;
- Continuing education of the online community on proper citizen monitoring, good governance and voter education;
- Encouraging the various government bodies to utilize new media technologies that will make them inclusive, transparent, accountable and responsible.(e.g. livestreaming of Cabinet meetings and other important events, openly posting projects of the various departments and the financial reports in respective websites, engaging the public in social network sites, etc);
- Monitoring of the progress of the campaign promises of the President , the House of Representatives and the Senate;
2. Who are involved in Blog Watch?
Noemi Lardizabal-Dado is the Editor of Blog Watch.
Blog Watchers range in age from 16 years old to 60 plus something and include people from various walks of life (students, mothers, employees and self-employed citizens). Not all of us are bloggers. Some in our group serve as photographers, videographers or social media users.
The active Blog Watch writers involved as of July 19, 2016 are Noemi Lardizabal-Dado , Jane T. Uymatiao, Bernadine Racoma, Sonnie Santos, Juned Sonido, Carlos Maningat, Vencer Crisostomo, Tess Halili, Manuel Calleja.
3. What is the number of followers or subscribers?
As of July 19, 2016 , our Facebook page has 4,500 followers. The total number of Twitter followers from our active tweets from @momblogger (21,060) @philippinebeat (7,910) @venzie (23,400) is 59,000 plus . This does not include retweets from our followers.
4. Is Blog Watch affiliated with any politician or political party?
Blog Watch is not affiliated with any political group or party, and does its best to remain non-partisan by publishing, to the extent possible, all sides of an issue. But because Blog Watchers are also voters and independent thinkers, our writers naturally have their own views and biases on different issues.
For transparency, Blog Watchers are obliged to disclose in their profiles any close affiliations with a politician, high government official or political party.
5. Where can I find Blog Watch articles?
Visit these articles on the work we have done on citizen media.
- The future of media: more powerful citizen advocates (May 1, 2014)
- Working behind the scenes of the #MillionPeopleMarch (August 27, 2013)
- Blogging and Citizen Media during Elections (February 24, 2013)
- The Plunder of Philippine Marine Life (May 26, 2011)
- The truth about PCSO: She said, He said (May 22, 2011)
- NTC Public Hearing on Broadband cap (January 11, 2011)
- Reflection: Blog Watch, a year after (November 24, 2010)
- Country Branding the Philippines (November 16, 2010)
- Media in an Active Democracy (October 9, 2010)
- Social Media Coverage at the SONA 2010 (July 28, 2010)
- Continuing citizen voters’ education (July 9, 2010)
- Participative citizenry in the Aquino administration (July 6, 2010)
- Blog Watch gets media accreditation (June 28, 2010)
- A participative citizenry needs freedom of information (May 28, 2010)
- Playing a role in the online coverage of the 2010 elections (May 20, 2010)
- #juanvote, first social media coverage by citizens (May 9, 2010)
- Be part of citizen power (April 25, 2010)
- Citizen power: Being the “media” (March 15, 2010)
- Blog Watch: behind the Scenes (March 5, 2010)
6. What are your other social media sites?
You can also find us here:
- Website: http://blogwatch.ph
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/blogwatchph
- Twitter: @blogwatchdotph or @momblogger (editor)
- Google +: Google Hangout on Air
- YouTube: http://youtube.com/blogwatchdotph
- Ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/blogwatch
- Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/blogwatch
7. What gadgets or tools do you use?
Blogger Jane Uymatiao takes you behind the scenes and gives you a flavor of what Blog Watch is all about. We carry our tools when we cover livestreaming interviews or significant events like the Inaugural and the SONA. We carry our laptop/netbook, DSLR/Digital Camera or Videocam, Camera Phones with 3G and Livestreaming Capability, USB stick/s and other peripherals. The equipment behind livestreaming and podcasting makes a whole lot of difference in terms of the quality of streaming. Blog Watch is very lucky to have as our ‘partner-in-tech’ the CreatiVoices team headed by Pocholo Gonzales. Our project editor, who is an advanced iPhone user, serves as our backup livestreamer in case the WIFI goes down completely. Our livestreaming channel is at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/blogwatch
8. Who owns and funds ?
blogwatch.tv and hosting is paid for by Noemi Lardizabal-Dado and Jane Uymatiao. All articles at blogwatch.tv are voluntary contributions without monetary compensation. Some articles are used with permission. The BlogWatch.ph is hosted by the Philippine Online Chronicles.
9. What is the difference between http://blogwatch.tv and blogwatch.ph?
BlogWatch.ph is hosted under Philippine Online Chronicles (POC) where full-feature articles are paid for by Vibal Foundation. Our articles can be shared freely through Creative Commons license. We are given free reign on our editorial content except for libelous statements, that is checked by the POC editor.
blogwatch.tv is fully owned by Noemi Lardizabal-Dado and Jane including hosting and domain name.
10. What is the contact information of Blog Watch?
Please email the editor, Noemi Lardizabal-Dado at firstname.lastname@example.org