For the first time, I watched the State of the Nation Address (SONA) with a purpose. Unlike in previous years when I would just tune in to hear what the president has to say, this year I was more attentive. Well, you can’t be inattentive when you are tasked to live tweet about it. Sensible tweets, not “Wow, lumaki ata noo at hairline ni P-Noy” tweets.
(Some, or most, ideas in this blog entry were lifted from my Journalism 110 ethics class paper, where we were asked to also talk about how media covered the SONA.)
One thing that I know media never fails to cover is the SONA fashion show. It’s not hard to see why. Just look at the gowns of the lady senators and representatives. Designer gowns, tailor-made for something like a movie awards night. Wow! How can media not cover that, right?
Of course they did. They always do.
I was tuned in at around 2:30 pm to DZMM on the radio during their pre-SONA coverage. Like any news and public affairs show would, Karen Davila and Vic Lima were analyzing and forecasting what President Benigno Aquino III, in his third SONA, will or will not say. They were looking at various sectors of society, from economy, agriculture, and education, among others.
One of their reporters in the Congress interviewed Senator Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero. Davila and Lima threw the serious questions at him, the typical ones like what is he expecting from P-Noy’s speech. In short, they were asking him what they were already talking about in their program.
But after some time, they digressed. From matters of national concern, conversation turned towards a non-issue: his barong. They asked Chiz who his tailor was. It was Paul Cabral (who apparently, also was the designer of Senator Loren Legarda’s and even P-Noy’s outfits).
Sometime later, it was Senator Pia Cayetano’s time to be interviewed. She wore a 1920s style terno (I saw her outfit during the SONA itself. I didn’t know what she was wearing was a terno. And I didn’t see anything 1920s about it).
I also tuned in to the evening news of ABS-CBN, TV Patrol, and I was actually happy with what I saw. They aired news about the SONA fashion, but to their credit, they did not air it as one of the top news stories of the night. Instead, they made it the last story of the night. Typically, that last segment is dedicated to light things like Mga Kwento ni Marc Logan, you know, something less serious. I’m glad they considered the SONA fashion show as a “less serious” matter.
Still, some people will jeer ABS-CBN for including the State of the Nation Apparel in their SONA coverage. I disagree with them. Davila and Lima run a commentary program. And most, if not all, of their programs that day already attempted to predict P-Noy’s speech. It will be redundant to talk about the same things over and over and over again. And perhaps, it doesn’t hurt to include a lighthearted story here and there.
Look, would you want them spending a lot of airtime with apparel news in TV Patrol or any evening news program, for that matter? Of course not. It was a story which will inevitably be picked up and reported to the public. It was a good thing a big chunk of that reporting time was spent in a program which can afford to be less serious and not in the nightly news.
So far, this is a very welcome improvement in the SONA coverage regarding attires. Now it is not a dominant news item. Maybe slowly it will turn from an attention-grabbing baro’t saya to a plain pair of denim jeans – from headline to afterthought.