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Pulling off an election coverage

Published May 22, 2013, 12:19 p.m. PHT

Last updated May 22, 2013, 12:43 p.m. PHT

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Philippines Votes 2013

It has been more than a week after the May 13, 2013 elections. And looking back to the things I have done for my Philippines Votes 2013 coverage, I can say that I truly enjoyed the whole experience.

Last minute decision

JPR's Philippines Votes 2013 War Room

JPR's Philippines Votes 2013 War Room

I have to admit that I didn’t plan much for this coverage. I decided to pull off an election coverage at the very last minute.

For example, I did the graphics for Philippines Votes 2013 just a few days before Election Day. My limited background in motion graphics was put to test when I came up with the animated version of the Philippines Votes 2013 logo.

I also failed to apply for media accreditation so I wasn’t too confident that I could pull off an election coverage. I guess I’m lucky that my press ID was enough to have access to the polling center near home.

I know that I’m not ABS-CBN nor GMA. I just knew that I had to have an election “war room.” So I came up with one on Election Day!

But, really, there’s nothing fancy about my election war room. It is just a part of my small studio where I shoot videos. I was not able to use the war room a lot because I was mostly out during the duration of my coverage.

Knowing my limits

I know my limits.

I don’t have much resources so I didn’t intend to cover every bit of election news. I just handpicked stories which I could give justice to and stories that I have access to.

One of my goals was to give people a picture of what was happening on the ground. I wanted people to see what voters had to go through just to be able to exercise their right. And I think I was able to achieve that goal when I published the “Filipino voters rush to provinces for Election Day” and “Sights and Sounds of the 2013 Elections in Caloocan City” stories.

On the field

Like I’ve mentioned, I decided to pull of an election coverage on a whim. I failed to apply for media accreditation. Despite that, I did not have encounter problems covering the elections even without an ID coming from the Commission on Elections.

People in the polling center saw me taking photos and videos using my SLR and video cameras and they didn’t bother me.

The Election Day coverage was intense because the polling center near home was where prominent political clans from Caloocan City voted—the Echiverris and Malapitans. During the coverage, I had to compete with teams from big news organizations just to get a decent photo of video of these newsmakers. I had to run and push some people a little (Sorry!). I guess I succeeded. I covered the two families while they were there voting. Echiverri and Malapitan also spoke to the media before and after they voted.

But I had one dilemma the whole time I was at the polling center. That dilemma was: Do I tweet, take a photo, or film this? I ended up doing all three!

I live tweeted the whole thing using my iPhone, took a few photos here and there using my SLR camera and filmed using my video camera too. And I can tell you that two hands aren’t enough!

Philippines Votes 2013 Video Update

Philippines Votes 2013 Video Update

The work didn’t stop on the field. At home, I had to review the content that I’ve got, edit and publish them. I also had to shoot and come up with Philippines Votes 2013 video updates.

It was really draining. But I didn’t complain.

Publishing reports

I published my election reports to different platforms. I posted them on Twitter, Facebook and on YouTube. You also find them here on my website.

I also submitted my reports to CNN iReport. CNN even published my Philippines Votes 2013 report on the front page of CNN International!

I also contributed some photos to Demotix.

And of course, I sent my reports to GMA and Rappler. I’m glad that they republished the content that I have provided them.

The truth is: I had zero budget for this coverage. It wasn’t a perfect coverage. And there were things that I wanted to do but wasn’t able to do so. But I know that I maximized my skills and the things that I already have. And I’m just glad (and satisfied too) that I have successfully pulled off an independent election coverage.

I survived.