While attending a DW Akademie workshop Joyce Panares wrote a report on the textile industry in ASEAN member states. Her piece has now won an honorable mention as part of the Developing Asia Journalism Award competition.
Joyce Panares is a journalist to the core. She sees the world as a mosaic, made up of good journalistic stories and news. Panares lives and works in the Philippine capital, Manila. She first came into contact with DW Akademie at the workshop "Reporting on Regional Integration - ASEAN" held for Asian journalists in Rangoon, Myanmar. While there, Panares wrote an article that has just won an honorable mention as part of the Asian Development Bank's "Developing Asia Journalism Award" competition. We spoke in Bonn at the DW Akademie follow-up workshop, "Reporting on Regional Integration - The European Union."
"These are the only skills I have," responds Joyce Panares when asked why she became a journalist. Her answer reflects her modest demeanor: friendly, helpful, humorous, slightly held back but not shy. She could have easily and confidently answered "Journalism is what I do well!" And although that's true, she would never express it that way.
Panares is a young editor with the daily newspaper, Manila Standard Today. She could be climbing up the paper's hierarchy ladder but prefers to help young people interested in journalism. "I don't like directing others around," she says, and instead trains journalists back home.
When participants ask her what makes a good journalist, she answers that modesty should be at the top of the list. Journalists need to understand that they are writing for the readers and not for themselves, she tells the young journalists, adding that they have to be focused and meet the readers' high standards and needs. "And," she warns, "do not become enamored with seeing your own name in print and at the top of your reports." Journalists need a hunter's instinct, she continues, they need to ask follow-up questions, delve into the story, see the bigger picture behind it and look at the potential ramifications.
Panares does not have any specific role models but she says she is most impressed by journalists who are determined to do a good job and who stick to the truth despite the low wages and threats. "I'm impressed by those who regardless of the dangers always work in the public's interest."
Asked which medium appeals to her most she responds, "I'm a print woman. I like the rigid framework that forces us to pare down a story, to focus on the essentials." Lengthy and lavish background articles with charts and emotional photographs are reserved for "special days" says Panares. "For us that's Saturdays because that's when we have room for features and complex reports."
Panares' submission for the "Developing Asia Journalism Award" focuses on the textile industry in ASEAN countries. She was prompted to research and develop the story after meeting a Myanmar textile entrepreneur during the DW Akademie workshop in Yangon. "I certainly received a lot of support from our trainers Andrea Thalemann, Thomas Kohlmann and Moritz Tschermak," she says, staying true to her modest demeanor.