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Panama Guide

Welcome to Panama Guide
Sunday, February 17 2019 @ 12:15 AM UTC

If It Bleeds, It Leads...

What is PG? Every day I sift through the local and international news related to Panama and try to select what to post. Unfortunately the reality is that much of the local news is reporting on crime, corruption, allegations, legal defenses, and political infighting. The reality is that news outlets are in competition for readers, viewers, and listeners, and Panamanians like to follow the ebb and flow just like news-junkies around the globe. There's some "good news" stuff out there, but it seems like 95% of the news involves some kind of aggression, violence, or crime. My point is that you should not this stuff "skew your view" of what's going on down here. I always assume the people who read Panama Guide are smarter than I am and that you guys are perfectly equipped to figure out the truth for yourselves. Sometime I have to pick from the routine "crime and punishment" stuff, and sometimes what's left are articles like "the ministry of public works fixes potholes in Colon." Time to make some popcorn... So I end up having to choose from the results of a knife fight in a drug and crime-riddled part of town, political appointees making accusations and counter accusations about who's more corrupt, routine business features about economic growth or foreign investment, or mind-numbingly boring local issues like painting the swings in the park.

One thing I won't do is report on an issue before I can sort out what I know, what I don't know, what I suspect, and the spin or bias from whoever happens to be talking at the moment. The issues that make the news are usually controvertial in some respect and I try to stay as neutral as possible. Usually the first blush of a story is incorrect and it takes some time for the truth to emerge. I would much rather be slow and right than fast and wrong.

With issues like the expansion of the Panama Canal, for example, I personally think it will be a good strategic decision for Panama. I also think that in any public works program in which $5.25 billion dollars will be spent (minimum) that there will be thousands of opportunities for graft and corruption and that this project will create more than a few new millionaires. With that much money flying around there will be lots of fodder for news. The next few months leading up to the referendum will be interesting and in the end the Panamanian people will make the decision. I don't get a vote and neither to most of the people who are reading this. But of course we're interested in knowing what's going on. As far as opinions are concerned I have mine and you have yours, as it should be.


"Crime reporting has risen dramatically in newsrooms across America, and some studies suggest viewers want more of these stories. Mediascope, a non-profit media research and policy organization, released a report in which it stated, "Market research suggests that stories of crime and violence increase newscasts' ratings." This finding drives news directors to deliver more crime-related stories to their audiences.

If it bleeds, it leads As fascinating as crime may be for some viewers, is it right that a local news station air the gory details of a tragic event, possibly jeopardizing an ongoing police investigation, and violating suspects' rights? How much does the public need to know?

For reporters, the struggle over how far to pursue a story may present serious ethical and even moral complications. Investigative reporting, on any level, requires asking invasive and sensitive questions of people who may not want their privacy invaded."
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