Tuesday, November 03, 2009

My OK! editorial policy

In response to some OK! magazine readers who want us to print sensational stories, I want to share this video to give them and you an idea of how I run my magazine:

I know that creating sensational stories and scandals will definitely boost my mag's circulation. We're doing very well, sure, but stories like "Stars and Their Cellulite Revealed!" will get people's attention and their money. But I have directed my staff that we will never print anything ugly. For some celebrity watchers, this means we're not showing the whole truth. But do we really need to see these people naked in every possible way? Well, if you do, there are a lot of magazines out there that will satisfy your curiosity.

Every day, we get photos of the stars and a lot of them are not flattering. Some of them are alarming. I've seen some stars naked or canoodling with someone they shouldn't be canoodling with. These never see print. Do we Photoshop? Yes. A stray hair, a powdery armpit, a sanitary napkin that got displaced, a pimple, a visible panty line. My policy with Photoshop is if it's not a permanent feature, then we can gently remove it. But if she's really fat, wrinkly, veiny, then we choose the photos that show a star's best angle.

Sometimes we really do need to report on something ugly (panty-less outings anyone?) but we carefully choose photos and we carefully choose words that will still treat the star gently. If we must raise an eyebrow or tease, we draw attention to the star's choice. For example, "The red dress is not flattering on her" is loads different from "Her fashion sense is clearly terrible."

Why do I do this? In Spanish/Tagalog, it's called delicadeza. Conchita Razon defines it as thus:
DELICADEZA is a Spanish word. It derives its almost intangible quality from the word, "delicado," which means delicate, fragile, easily broken, irreplaceable, precious. 
Delicadeza was once enshrined in Philippine culture. Like a precious diamond, the word has many facets. When it applies to how we handle objects, it denotes “care.” The Spanish synonyms are "cuidado" or "miramiento." 
"Miramiento" is closest in essence. It implies consideration, a deliberate effort to forego one’s pleasure to avoid someone else’s pain. It can also mean circumspection, a quality totally alien in today’s society. 
When dealing with people, delicadeza is kindness or attentiveness. It suggests gentleness – the exquisite qualities of sensitivity, tactfulness and refinement. All these virtues are born from a sense of propriety and decency. 
At the very foundation is character: doing the right thing when no one is looking.

A deliberate effort to forego one’s pleasure to avoid someone else’s pain. When I look at an incriminating photo, the question is "Do we print this, destroy this star and sell copies or do we protect our investment?"

Investment. As you all know, I earn my living from these stars and their work. Yes, I also make money from their lives. Some people think my job is despicable. They're certainly entitled to their opinion. My opinion, however, is to treat the stars with respect. As public figures, they've allowed us to pry and, yes, we do see some things that are not for public consumption. When this happens, we respectfully withdraw. For allowing us access, our response should be respect.

In today's society where ravenous curiosity cannot be sated thus the popularity of venomous celebrity blogs, reality shows and tabloids, it seems the response should be to satisfy the demand. My response is, OK!'s response is: Dear celebrities, thank you for letting us in your lives. For that, we repay you with the respect that you deserve.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Uniquely Singapore: The Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blogger Awards was very glamorous

The reason I got to be in Singapore in the first place was because of the first ever Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards. Nuffnang is an advertising platform for blogs and I've been a member of Nuffnang for less than a year but already I've enjoyed a lot of things from them: bags, trips, educational excursions and income, of course! If I weren't so busy, I'd be more involved in all their activities. Hmmm, perhaps I'll start doing just that...

Anyway, back to the awards! I'll just be posting fashion shots here, okay? I think you'll enjoy those more! That's me and my fellow Summit Media friend, Franny Haw.

Nuffnang was founded by two really fun guys, Timothy Tiah Ewe Tiam and Cheo Ming Shen. Or Tim and Ming. Don't ask me to pronounce their full names! In just two years, their little online venture has become a lucrative advertising business straddling four countries, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Australia, and with almost 100,000 bloggers registered in the Nuffnang community.

I wore my yellow shantung sheath dress with black leggings
and black platform heels. Bag is a quilted Bally.
Mixed media necklace is by Claire Betita Samson.
Sorry I don't have a full photo!

Ming said, "Bloggers today are getting recognized for their work, invited to events and offered product or service trials--all in a bid by companies to woo the Internet generation." Ten thousand blogs were nominated and about 60 blogs made it to the finals. Nope, Topaz Horizon didn't make it; that wasn't why I was there--I came as a member of the media so thank goodness for my job!

The Gosiengfiao sisters Ashley and Alodia
in Regine Tolentino dresses. Sexy! But I do think they need
to meet Kate Torralba. Kate will be a perfect match for these two!

Anyway, after meeting the finalists from the Philippines and reading the blogs from the other countries, I am really beginning to think of taking this blogging thing seriously! Some bloggers earn thousands of dollars. That's insane money for just typing away your thoughts. Journalists--usually following a strict code of journalistic ethics--don't even earn that much. I'm not complaining, being an earning blogger myself, but I do have reservations about financially rewarding bloggers who are not guided by journalistic principles. Just because your blog is popular (usually through controversy) does not mean it's the authority on certain issues.

Hannah Villasis looks very on trend
with a sequined nude mini dress.

Ming understands this and says, "Bloggers need to carry the responsibility that comes with the power they have over society's opinions and day-to-day decisions. We hope that through Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards, bloggers will realize the importance of quality content in blogs. Tonight's winners are great examples of blogs which attracted a huge following through uploading quality content."

This is Tim's super cute girlfriend. I adore her dress!
Looks like the dresses of my bridal entourage.

So congratulations to the 12 winners:
Best Blog Shop: Bonito Chico
Best Food Blog: I Eat, I Shoot, I Post
Best Fashion Blog: Lady Melbourne
Best Parenting Blog: Childhood 101
Best Travel Blog: En Route
Best Celebrity Blog: A Jolly Affair
Best Entertainment Blog: Kenny Sia
Best Geek Blog: Mr. Gadget
Best Hidden Gem: The Doodle Blog
Best Original Blog Design: Xia Xue
Most Influential Blog: Xia Xue
Region’s Best Blog: Xia Xue

Two quirkily glamorous bloggers from Australia

And did I mention the fabulous prizes? Anywhere from top-of-the-line Canon cameras to a whopping SGD 5,000 from Pringles! That's PHP 169,971.75 (USD 3,573.43), people!

I did enjoy the glamorous awards night and I laud the efforts of Nuffnang to honor quality content--I do hope that they will truly recognize quality content more than just popularity but I don't want to talk about that. As for my opinion on advertising on blogs, well, let me get through this entire series first before I talk about that! More tomorrow!

More awards night photos here. I would like to thank Nuffnang and the Singapore Tourism Board for this Uniquely Singapore Series.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Uniquely Singapore: My first trip to the Lion City-State was amazing!

This week will be all about my trip to Singapore last weekend. That will be October 23 to 25. If you recall, an all-expense-paid trip to anywhere abroad (but near enough since I dislike long hours on a plane) was on my birthday wish list. So imagine my surprise when Nuffnang Philippines invited me to Singapore for the first Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards

I was excited to visit the Lion City famed to be progressive and beautiful. Of course, when it dawned on me that the trip would mean leaving Vince and the rabbits behind, I wasn't so excited anymore. I should have specified on my wish list a trip abroad for us both! Anyway, being despondent, I didn't pack until a few hours before the trip. This is never a problem with me, by the way, since I'm a very light packer. Yes! I know I look vain and shallow but believe me, I can live with a few clothes and just the barest grooming essentials. I don't even bring toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and lotion because I know the hotel has those (and if it doesn't, then it's a very bad hotel and that means off to the convenience store for me!). While I can live without the silly stuff, I am a worrier when it comes to health so I bring all sorts of medicines--asthma meds, anti-allergy pills, migraine meds, fever and colds meds, alcohol, antibacterial creams, diarrhea tablets--you name it, I have it! 

Anyway! I'll post just the departure and arrival photos here. Special thanks to my blogger friends for some of the photos!
The meet-up time was 4:25am. Since I had a radio tour the night before and only did my packing at around 1am, I assure you I had not had a good night's sleep. But thanks to my over-eager new friend, Jehzeel Laurente!!!, we were the first to arrive at the airport... at 3:45am! Of course, everybody else, being Filipino, was late! Before we boarded our Cebu Pacific plane, we all stopped at a restaurant for breakfast. Here I am with Erica Paredes, beauty writer for Metro magazine, and Hannah Villasis, analyst for Deutsche Bank. I tell you, people, I was surrounded by really smart and amazing women on my trip! P.S. Happy birthday, Hannah! The entire Nuffnang foreign delegation was housed at Link Hotel on Tiong Bahru Road. Yes, we occupied the whole hotel because Nuffnang gathered bloggers from Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and, of course, the Philippines. I hear we were 400 in all. That must've been frikkin' expensive! Here we all are, milling in the hotel lobby. Sooo many cameras (hi, Hannah and Ada!). Kick-ass cameras, too! Goodness, Vince and I need to upgrade asap! Oh, and this is what they were taking pictures of: That's me with Erica again and cosplay maven Alodia Gosiengfiao. Photo taken by her sister Ashley Gosiengfiao. This is Ashley: I just want to say that Alodia and Ashley are two of the most fascinating women I've ever met! I've recently lamented the dearth of amazingly talented people and then I met these two. They are artists through and through--they're not just fabulous at making costumes, they also play musical instruments, draw beautifully, sculpt, art direct photoshoots, are fab at makeup and take fantastic photographs! And they're nice! I am inspired to do more with my life really. I feel so dumb after meeting these two sisters. All I can do well is write and cook and eat. Pathetic! While we waited for our rooms to be ready, we left our luggage and hunted for lunch. Oh, the food post will be later this week, okay? And, boy, do I have a story on that! After lunch and still waiting in the lobby. Still without our rooms! So what do bloggers do? Take photos. The next few days will be filled with the incessant clicks of cameras. Outfit details: pd & co dress, Gucci shoppers bag (I won it in a Nuffnang contest so of course I had to bring it to the Nuffnang event!), and Schu beige flats (yes, the very ones I want for my birthday!). More photos and stories tomorrow! I would like to thank Nuffnang and the Singapore Tourism Board for this Uniquely Singapore Series.