Stitched Up: An Exploratory Study on the Philippine Stringer Culture

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Stitched Up: An Exploratory Study on the Philippine Stringer Culture

Stringer-journalists are beat reporters who submit their stories to news organizations other than the one where they are duly employed. This thesis examines what motivates some journalists to seek or accept this type of moonlight activity, as well as the effects of the practice on the Philippine journalism industry. Stringing has been described as an “open secret,” which may explain the lack of research on the phenomenon, despite it being vital to the operations of some news agencies, most notably the wire services. The researchers integrated the psychological Theory of Planned Behavior with General Systems Theory to explain how personal decisions are made and how these choices can affect the context in which they are made. Newspaper editors from four broadsheets, correspondents and bureau chiefs from five foreign press organizations and stringer-journalists from four different beats were interviewed to gain a holistic perspective on the culture of stringing. Low pay was cited as the primary factor that drives reporters to seek sideline work with other news companies. There was no consensus on the ethics or the effects of stringing on news flow within local newsrooms, though the stringer-journalists collectively held the belief that they remained loyal to their companies and to the principles of journalism.

Chiu, P.D. & Pamintuan, M.J. (2012). Stitched up: An exploratory study on the Philippine stringer culture. Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis, University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.

Keywords: stringer, correspondent, beat journalist, employment, ethics

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