Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fair Play: Villanfranca, the overlooked Cesafi MVP?

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's Oct. 25 edition)
A FEW days before the Cesafi season started, I met former colleague Karlon N. Rama, who now teaches at the University of San Jose-Recoletos. I suggested that, for this season, USJ-R take the lead in doing what no other school in Cebu is doing—cover its own games in the league.

A Cesafi member school spends millions for its sports program, covering the Cesafi event would be a little return of investment. It also has a lot of advantages, aside from promoting your sports program, a Cesafi coverage could also be the training ground for the schools journalism or mass communication program.


And also, because you are covering your team for your school paper or website, you are allowed to be biased and always angle your stories for your school.

I think it’s one of the factors how students in Manila are so much more into the UAAP and NCAA, than the students here are into the Cesafi, the leagues tapped the student papers.

And besides, when you are focused on your school’s campaign, you may find stories that, otherwise may be ignored by those in the beat.

Take a look at one story carried by the school on the selection for the season MVP of the league, which went to Mark Jayven Tallo of the champion team Southwestern University Cobras.

There’s no question about his selection, right?

Not, if you ask the Jaguars, who ran a story on their website that basically asked, “What about Kevin Villafranca?”

The selection for any individual award in basketball is always subjective and naturally includes biases of those who make the choices, hence questions are always raised when another one is overlooked. Some are petty, but some offer valid points, like what USJ-R wrote.

The article carried the various reactions on the selection of Tallo, and highlighted that it meant no disrespect to the two-time winner, but highlighted the obvious question, why did the highest-scoring local Kevin Villafranca lose out the season MVP award to Tallo? It was for the season MVP not the finals MVP.

It highlighted that Tallo averaged 11.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.6 steals per game, while Villafranca had averages of 18.6, 6.9, .8 and 1.4. So who was more valuable for the season for his team?

Villafranca, who had 28 in the Jaguars win over the University of the Visayas, also didn’t get a spot in the Mythical 5. (Correction: Villafranca was in the Mythical 5)

So, did USJ-R rookie sensation get ignored for the individual award and is the school wrong for asking that question?

I can’t answer the first one but for the second, it’s a big no. When you’re covering your own school for your own paper, your market is your fellow students and your number one concern is their concern, hence the bias.

By the way, I hope next year, USJ-R continues its coverage of its sports program and for the other schools—especially those with journalism and mass communication programs—to get involved as well and the league should welcome them.

It expands coverage of the league and also taps the school communities--it’s a win-win situation.

SUPERB AT 20. Last Thursday, our sister publication Super Balita celebrated its 20th anniversary and during our speech, the chairman of the board of Sun.Star Publishing Inc. Jesus Garcia Jr. said the actual readership of Sun.Star Superbalita is actually
six times its circulation.

That reminded me of a former basketball coach who often ignored Superbalita sports reporter Erwin Lirazan during press conferences becuase for him, his boss doesn’t read the paper.

But when another individual who also had the same boss had a sports program, he always make sure that Super B is included in the loop because a lot of people read the paper, nevermind the boss.

How many people read Super B daily? The circulation is 60,000 and each paper gets passed around up to six times, so that’s 360,000 readers. If you want to reacch mass readership, you know who to include in your media loop.

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