MANILA, Philippines – Since its launch in February, RealTalk and the team behind this passion project has worked on stories covering several important issues and stories. In just a third of a year, we covered a lot, and we’re definitely staying to cover more.
Under the tutelage of Vino Lucero, RealTalk’s founder and executive editor, and all the members of the team, we managed to cover topics from President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s war on drugs, to labor and wage issues, to women’s rights and situation, and even to the state of the Philippine education system.
RealTalk published 15 stories so far, and produced five short videos under “RealTalks with Real People” – an initiative that aims to put stories of ordinary Filipinos side-by-side with the narrative of numbers.
Duterte’s drug war definitely has a story to tell through the numbers – and RealTalk went on to highlight that through “A data-driven look at drug war deaths”. We also dissected how the police portrayed the drug war deaths as both an accomplishment and collateral damage through “Two-faced police portrayal of drug war kills”.
We also took the time to look at supposedly grassroots numbers – regional poverty situation through publishing “Poverty more prevalent in non-Luzon regions”; educational attainment of Filipinos in “More than 1.1-M Filipinos ‘no grade completed’”; and minimum wage earners in “Lowest PH daily minimum wage at 235 pesos”.
RealTalk’s multimedia director Gene Paolo Gumagay also led the production of stunning visualizations and short videos. RealTalk worked on several datasets to come up with “Filipino women’s life as told by numbers” – a data story which featured steady and animated visualizations.
We also produced a trilogy of feature videos for National Women’s Month to complement the story on women data.
After this trial period of working on data-driven journalistic reports, RealTalk is now moving forward to bigger and greater challenges.
RealTalk will still continue to feature data-driven articles, but will also start to do other kinds of journalistic reports. For starters, in the coming week, we will publish two reports: one on the timeline of extra-judicial killings narrative among local politicians and the international community, and a personal account of how it is like to live in a Mindanao city while the whole island is under Martial Law – a perspective from a local of the city of Digos, around 300 kilometers southeast of Marawi.
The RealTalk initiative was born out of the need to counter the proliferation of fake news and post-truth politics. In its young existence, it has created a platform that provided ordinary Filipinos relevant topics and stories that are based on facts and hinged on data, especially in an era of deliberate and social media driven misinformation.
In the coming months and years, RealTalk will take part in establishing the role of data in the current news landscape in the country and strive to broaden its scope from hard news to feature stories for a more holistic approach in instilling an appreciation for data journalism. All this, while staying true to its mantra of “keeping it real in Philippine politics.”
Jordan Charles De Guzman
Marketing and Publicity Director