Dr. James Bacchus: From a Journo To a World Politician

Some parts of his life is a typical story of baby boomers, a generation before mine. Dr. James Bacchus was the first person in his family to get a college degree. He got a full academic scholarship from Vanderbilt University and later received a fellowship to attend graduate school and study history at Yale University. And then he went to Law School at Florida State University while he was a young aide to the Governor of Florida.

“Having the opportunity to go to college changed my life and opened up a whole world of opportunities for me,” he said.

His time at Vanderbilt University opened his mind to a world in which there are many ways to think, believe and live. “It also made me realize that despite all the many different ways, all that unites us is more than all that divides us. And many of my travels to different countries, I have been reaffirmed in that belief.”

He was 14 years old when working as a journalist in a little newspaper in Florida. He learned a lot. At 18, he became a journalist for a much bigger newspaper in Orlando.

He worked there during summers and vacations while he was an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University. And he continued to work for them until he left Vanderbilt before he went in the army.

“And then after I got out of the army, I went to Yale University. In the summers when I was assisting in Yale, so I began covering statewide politics in Florida in the age of 20. I was a correspondence reporter at 22 and in my journalism career, I got to know a very idealistic Florida politician named Rubin Askew,” Bacchus reminisced.

He later became Askew’s youngest aide. “[T]hat gave me opportunities to serve after he finished his tenure as governor, he became the U.S. trade representative. I went to Washington to become his assistant and that is how I became involved in trade.”

This is the point when his story is atypical of baby boomers. Bacchus’ career has ever since flourished. He is now a distinguished professor of global affairs and director of the Center for Global Economic and Environmental Opportunity at the University of Central Florida. Prior to that, he was a founding judge and former chairman, and a key part of Appelate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO). (*/)

Will Writers Be Replaced by Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

person holding white paper and typewriter
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly intruding our civilization, everyone from every job sector seems to be frantic and anxious right now.

“Will I be replaced by a robot?”

“Will I lose my current job in the near future to a machine?”

“Will I be jobless because of all this AI trend in my industry?”

Regardless of your professions, these questions are haunting us.

As a writer myself, I also share the same worry with you all, people.

Wired.com took an optimistic view towards the issue by stating that “Narrative Science” is not going to replace journalists/ reporters with AI/ robots. Both can be hopefully complimenting each other if humans want to.

It says:

In 20 years, there will be no area in which Narrative Science doesn’t write stories.”

Still cited from Wired.com, we are also ensured that AI is actually useful for journalists but can never replace human journalists and editors for their more strategic decision making tasks.

But this technology seems to have taken over only some of the grunt work.

Undoubtedly, the development of AI in journalism and writing is intriguing and inevitable but only time can decide how it evolves in the next 10, 20, or 30 years from now.

But, here’s the thing. Imagine our news outlets are dominated by AI-generated content, which shows no empathy, no humane feelings, and to some extent, opinionated-ness. How dry is a piece of news written by a robot that has no past memories, beloved ones, or people they despise so much? You get my point.

So the good news for us writers is NOT ALL jobs will be replaced that easily by Artificial Intelligence. There’re four (4) types of occupation that are predicted to be impossible to be replaced by AI in the future.

Kai-Fu Lee – as quoted from his writeup in Times magazine this month – mentioned four types of irreplacable jobs in the modern history of humanity:

  1. Creative jobs: In creative processes, there’ll be no clear and rigid objectives.
  2. Complex, strategic jobs: You’ll see people like business executives, diplomats, economists here.
  3. Jobs created by AI and thus currently non-existent: Only God knows how this is going to be like.
  4. Empathetic and compassionate jobs: Good news for teachers, nannies, doctors! You all are indispensable workforce in the 21st century.

Fellow writers, we fall into the first category!

But don’t be too happy. If you’re a writer that only reports what you see (like what a conventional 20th century reporters did) or a churnalist (a pseudo journalist that merely rewrites other people’s work), you’re certainly going to be sacked sooner or later. And even if you can survive, you’ll be really suffering due to the crazily, inhumanely low salary and wage.

Don’t do the grunt work!

Don’t just compile facts!

Don’t just type and publish to get clicks or page views!

Be a creative writer that produces something worthwhile a robot, algorithm, application, software, or AI can never ever manage to create easily without humans’ assistance.

 

References:

https://www.wired.com/2012/04/can-an-algorithm-write-a-better-news-story-than-a-human-reporter/

https://www.wired.com/2017/02/robots-wrote-this-story/

Refugees and Literature

To some people, picturesque and Instagrammable panorama and places provide them a flood of inspiration to write. However, some draw inspiration from misery. And misery does love company.

Kurdish journalist cum Australian immigration detainee Behrouz Bouchani wants everyone around the world to be his company, too, in his lonely and gruesome life in a prison on Manus island, Papua New Guinea, a neigbouring country of my homeland Indonesia.

There is something about jail that no other place can have. Boochani reminds me of Pramoedya Ananta Toer, a renowned Indonesian literary giant who was once nominated as Nobel Literary Prize Recipient when he was still alive and sound. Toer was imprisoned for decades under Soeharto’s regime. His works were banned and thus erased him from the national literary radar. But that didn’t last long as the regime crumbled, he regained his dignity and lived a life he deserved. Toer was so prolific that he could not help writing while being jailed in Buru Island. The fact that guards may have come at anytime to ambush and seize any of his vey precious manuscripts, notes or materials did not seem to scare him. He even insisted on writing his words in paper and tactfully hid them all with the assistance of colleagues, fellow prisoners, and foreigners coming to the prison. He wrote on pieces of cement powder wraps as well as he knew that paper is so worthwhile as his tool of eternalizing his thoughts and feelings about what he had been enduring for so long behind bars.

The man just won Australia’s top literary prize early this month after he authored a book that he wrote on his phone, “No Friend But the Mountains“. The book won partly because it speaks about the author’s miserable life as a detainee in the remote island. Living there since 2013, Boochani definitely has amassed a myriad of materials. Even he could write and produce some works to get published, he has to face the next problem: how to get these materials out of the island? Thus, writing in a physical material is not an option.

Luckily, the island is not that remote as he is still able to be connected with the world outside. He has a mobile phone, on which he wrote bits of text and voice and video messages that he sent to his fellow literary worker who resides in Australia and acts as his translator. This kind-hearted fellow then compiled and stitched these long messages in various formats together and get them published as “No Friend But the Mountains”. Bloody genius. And of course, what a perseverance! It’s not easy to type long texts on mobile phone with touch screen as small as iPhone but he just managed to do that.

My next question is: “How could he get the mobile phone?” In a phone interview with Kristie Lu Stout of CNN, he mentioned about the fact that he actually got the phone by smuggling. He had one previously but then the phone was taken by force by guards and then he got another one somehow. Charging it also requires a power outlet, which takes me to another question: So are power sockets are readily available in the jail? Exactly how it is possible I still can’t fathom. But I admire him and all his hard work.

And I also get really curious whether the the signal reception in Manus Island is existent or strong enough to convey his message. Not to mention the way he pays the phone bill. Or is it a prepaid one? I am just crazy about these unraveled details. My hunch is he still keeps all these details to protect his own safety and of course, all of his ‘accomplices’ inside and outside of the jail.

As someone who has a bit of contact with some immigrants from poverty-stricken Africa and the tumultuous parts of Middle Eastern countries, I know first hand the kind of life they lead here in Jakarta. They live in a rented house in the heart of Jakarta, made available by the ‘generous’ support of the Australian Government and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and UNHCR.

In my capacity as a yoga instructor, I simply had talked with them in a very very limited amount of time, i.e. while I was teaching and some minutes before and after classes. They are usually very secretive and introverted. Few are agressive if overly stimulated and agitated. But that may be because I am a male and they are women. This gives us some distance in communication. I remember a large-bodied lady from Somalia who almost always came into my class and faithfully followed each and every of my movements and cues on the mat. Called mrs Fareha, she is a persevere student of mine who I can be proud of. She pointed out her belly and thighs whenever I was about to teach her and some of her fellow inhabitants of the camp. She just wanted to get her limbs toned and her belly flat and slim. She had acquired very little Indonesian and English, making us very hard to communicate smoothly without using gestures and smart guess. The more we tried to chatter, the more we realized we pushed a cold, motionless, giant wall. Useless.

Another Iranian girl and her sibling were ocasionally coming but they seemed to be on-and-off participants with unstable inner motivation. Very little I could do to encourage them to come regularly because we did not speak much in fear of intruding their private life and interfering. These girls were more comunicative and relatively more fluent in English but they again are hard to crack open. It’s just not a place to make friends.

They are sometimes allowed to go out with the prior permit from authorities in the camp. And they can just leave the house with their friends and phones to contact. So they are actually very connected digitally speaking. They can just talk and chat on the smartphones that they own anytime anywhere. But the problem is whether they still remember the phone numbers or social media accounts of their most beloved people who may be now scattered, living in distant places or in their country of origin.

Boochani again also mentioned about the ruthless treatment of the Indonesian authorities and law enforcement. Asked why he still wanted to go to Australia after having landed in Indonesia which is a muslim majority country, he replied that the people are not welcome and they can be captured by police and get deported. Religious similarity doesn’t guarantee any solution to life problems, for sure.

Still living in Manus Island with other 600 refugees, Boochani is entitled to $125,000 Victorian premier’s Literary Prize but he didn’t manage to attend the event. Instead, he sent a video in which he delivered his victory speech. He said:”I would like to say that this award is a victory. It is a victory not only for us but for literature and art and above all it is victory for humanity. It is a victory against the system that has reduced us to numbers. This is a beautiful moment. Let us all rejoice tonight in the power of literature”.

The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people, says Martin Luther King, Jr. And Boochani has proven that his literary prowess has managed to break the silence. Powerfully. (*/)

National Press Day: Indonesian Journalists Need More Protection

I don’t know if you agree or not, but a blogger is also a journalist in some way. S/he is sometimes more opinionated than a journalist is allowed to be and that what makes him/ her unique and more humane than a journalist.

In reality, the profession of writer and blogger and journalist more often than not overlap each other. In my case, that is also the case.

This year in Indonesia, we still see some unsolved cases of journalist murders in the country. As reported by Kompas.com, there are still ten major cases of Indonesian journo murders, i.e. Herliyanto, Ardiansyah Matra’is Wibisono, Naimullah, Alfrets Mirulewan, Agus Mulyawan, Fuad M. Syarifudin (Udin), Ersa Siregar, Muhammad Jamaluddin, AA Narendra Prabangsa, and Ridwan Salamun. I am not going into the details on how these journalists got murdered but murders are still murders regardless of the methods.

The recent news that made headline today is that the president of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo has revoked the remission of Susrama, who has been convicted as the murder of AA Narendra Prabangsa. This definitely a major victory on the side of press activitsts. However, it is never enough as there are still many other homicide cases involving journalists in Indonesia that have gone unsolved for years and even decades! The murderer of Udin (Bernas Yogya Daily journalist in Yogyakarta) in 1996 has never been perfectly solved. And this is I guess one of the most monumental cases of journo murders in the country.

Murder is not the only type of crime that can happen against a journalist here. One can also experience violence. Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI) or Independent Journalist Alliance, one of the most progressive journalist organizations in Indonesia, recorded that the recent development of Indonesian press in 2018 was not quite bright. The data that AJI gathered showed that there are at least 64 violence cases involving journalists here. They were expelled, terrorized, physically beaten (or slapped), or sent to jail because of their pieces.

Journalists are now even expected to be more cautious than ever before as a new modus operandi emerges in Indonesia: doxing. It’s simply defined as an online form of persecution, in which people who hate the work of a certain journalist can just hunt him or her for any private details and then unravel them to the public to be judged. Horrible and disgusting on so many levels.

Sources:

  • https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2019/02/08/17302821/mengingat-lagi-10-kasus-pembunuhan-wartawan-di-indonesia
  • https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20190209111833-12-367698/jokowi-resmi-cabut-remisi-pembunuh-wartawan-radar-bali?tag_from=wp_wm_cnn
  • https://www.idntimes.com/news/indonesia/teatrika/jokowi-batalkan-remisi-pembunuh-wartawan-bali-ini-kata-moeldoko/full?utm_source=lineND&utm_medium=lineND&utm_campaign=lineND
  • https://nasional.tempo.co/read/1160304/aji-kekerasan-dan-persekusi-wartawan-di-2018-tinggi

 

Combatting Fake News in 5 Simple Steps

administration articles bank black and white
Fake news is bloating the web. How can we do about it? Here’s some steps anyone can take to take part in the campaign against fake news. (Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com)

Within a few months, Indonesia is about to undergo a five-yearly political ‘ordeal’ called presidential election. In 2014, we saw how the loathesome politics before our naked eyes.

And it takes no time for us to see fake news circulating around the web in a glimpse of an eye. Last presidential election offered us a cruel description of how disgusting this band of political clowns with their intrigues could become play with people who knew almost nothing about their grand plans ‘behind the screen’.

And this fake news plague make all of us without exception prone to deceitful plots of their digital troops responsible for claiming the presidential throne.

In response to this alarming phenomenon of fake news, every one of us must be involved and feel obliged to combat it.

Here’s how you can combat fake news around us as cited from Quartz.com.

Ensure sources of information

You may be familiar with popular and large news outlets such as New Yorker, The New York Times, or Tempo (in Indonesia). But be aware of the fake domains that are manipulated in such a way to trick the careless eyes. For example, the official site of New Yorker Magazine is http://wwww.newyorker.com/. But there are some other almost similar domains that are made to deceive internet users, such as thenewyorker.net or newyorkermagazine.org. This may look the same with the official site, but to the untrained eyes, those look pretty much similar.

According to Quartz, don’t just trust a news outlet domain only after reading one article. Try reading other articles or even navigate through the entire site to get to know what the site is really about.  Does the site really qualify for the quality journalism standards? (Read more here to learn more about journalism standards and ethics).

Assess headlines’ tone

You’d better be cautious when a webiste you read shows headlines that are too provoking emotionally. The tone of headline is another criterion to assess in a news website if you are to avoid spreading fake news in the internet.

The tone of headline in a trustworthy news outlet must be neutral and unbiased.

But how do you can define neutrality?

Let’s say you read a headline, and suddenly you feel a jolt of anger or sadness or disappointment, chances are the news you’re reading is fake and the website you’re visiting is a fake news website.

Find out who the writers/ reporters/ editors are

Do you know what sets the trustworthy news websites apart from fake news ones? The availability of information of the identity of news makers/ people behind those articles or web content.

On trustworthy news outlets such as NewYorker.com, we can see information of writers/ reporters/ editors. This includes what they have written so far so we are not in the dark about what their motifs are. If they are true journalists, there is no way they would compromise and trade their integrity for financial or personal gain.

So if you read a website that only shows “an admin” produced the article and you can’t find any real person name there, you should be suspicious.

Find the primary sources’ reliability

One main sign that a news piece is fake is that it has been distributed and quoted by so many people that we can no longer find who made the statement in the first place. Too often than not, we see rumors are distributed this way. People keep repeating it until no one can tell who or what produced the news initially.

And by “primary sources”, we also refer to reliable experts as sources for journalists to clarify our hypotheses. If an article says “Scientists state walking can fight cancer”, we’d better know which scientists the article is talking about, what institution they work at, and other details that support our investigation.

Beware of repurposed old images

We sometimes are instantly agitated to see a heart-wrenching photograph of – let’s say- a person’s calamity owing to someone else’s neglect, evil intention or thirst of power circulating on the web. This was especially true when the Rohingya humanitarian crisis broke. Someone with ill intention took an old photo and repurposed that in such a way to convince internet users like you and me that that photo reflected what really happened in Myanmar.

To find out whether those viral photos are repurposed ones or real and updated, you can simply go to Google Image to search when they were first circulated on the web.

Be aware as well of the possibility of context misuse. What I am trying to say is that a certain photo can be used to illustrate another event or incident. For example, we might see photos of victims of Aceh tsunami victims in 2004 circulating again after a tsunami hit Palu and Donggala this year (2018). Though the type of natural disaster is quite similar but they are different cases and scale of severity. (*/)

 

Begini Cara Media-media Ini Bisa Bertahan dan Hasilkan Laba Tanpa Taktik Clickbait

KITA SEMUA TAHU apa itu “clickbait”. Judul berita (konten) yang menggoda untuk diklik karena membangkitkan emosi dan perasaan tertentu dalam diri pembacanya. Jangankan orang awam yang berpendidikan rata-rata, mereka yang tergolong intelektual dan berpemikiran dewasa dan matang saja kadang terperosok ke jebakan satu ini. Kenapa? Karena clickbait menyasar ke elemen emosi manusia, bukan akal. Mereka berupaya memuaskan emosi-emosi yang tak tersalurkan dan hasrat itu cuma bisa disalurkan hanya dengan satu tap (di layar ponsel) atau klik (di laptop atau desktop).

Saat ini clickbait sudah menjadi taktik yang lumrah dan murah(an). Tinggal mengutak-atik judul menjadi bombastis dan sedikit menipu, pembaca pasti gatal mengklik.

Tapi kita tahu bahwa cara semacam itu akan ada akhir masa efektifnya. Orang makin terlatih untuk mengenali judul-judul yang menjebak. Dan meskipun sebagian pembaca memang tidak jera jatuh di ‘perangkap’ yang sama, sebagian lainnya sudah mengenali betul judul-judul konten tipe clickbait dan meninggalkannya tanpa ingin sekalipun membaca.

Saya sendiri sebagai seorang jurnalis di era media baru sekarang ini makin jengah juga dengan kondisi jurnalisme yang makin semrawut. Siapa saja bisa mempublikasikan pendapat dan pemikiran mereka di internet dan tidak peduli apakah itu memang layak dipublukasikan atau tidak, pokoknya ada yang baca dan mengklik lalu ada yang mau beriklan, sudah baguslah.

Tanggung jawab terhadap kemaslahatan masyarakat yang membaca seolah dikesampingkan, kalau tidak bisa dikatakan diabaikan sama sekali.

Dan yang paling mencemaskan, perusahaan media lama yang sejak lama sudah punya nama besar dan reputasi baik di mata masyarakat lama-lama juga larut ke dalam pusaran tren clickbait ini.

Saya pernah mendengarkan sekelompok jurnalis dari perusahaan media tertentu yang mengeluhkan rekan-rekan mereka di segmen daring (alias para wartawan online) yang secara bebas memanipulasi judul berita sedemikian rupa tanpa mempertimbangkan faktor lain kecuali hitungan ditampilkannya sebuah laman web atau pageviews. Mereka ini jurnalis-jurnalis dari era media lama yang menyayangkan ‘pengkhianatan’ yang dilakukan rekan-rekan mereka di media baru.

Apakah clickbait itu salah?

Tentu tidak serta merta salah. Jurnalisme bukan bidang yang tidak membutuhkan modal besar (apalagi jika ingin melakukannya dalam koridor jurnalisme yang sebenarnya). Produk jurnalisme yang berkualitas bagus dihasilkan dengan biaya yang tinggi, waktu yang relatif lama dan melibatkan banyak pihak (tidak cuma kutip satu sumber lalu klik ‘publish’). Bisnis media juga bukan jenis bisnis yang bisa dilakukan sembarang orang. Perlu keterampilan dan pengalaman dalam melakukannya.

Hanya saja masalahnya ialah cara untuk meraup untung agar bisa bertahan hidup itulah yang melenceng dari hakikat jurnalisme semula.

Judul-judul clickbait sudah semestinya tidak menjadi andalan utama media-media saat ini untuk menarik pengunjung dan melejitkan hitungan pageviews.

Berikut adalah beberapa media yang terbukti sukses memanfaatkan strategi lain yang lebih kreatif dan menarik daripada sekadar memperbanyak pageviews melalui judul-judul yang menyesatkan dan isi/ konten yang kurang edukatif, informatif dan terkesan asal.

“Le Un” memang nomor wahid dalam hal menyajikan informasi dalam bentuk dan desain cetak yang menarik dan unik.

LE UN

Perusahaan media bernama “Le Un” (Satu) ini mengandalkan cita rasa seni untuk mengemas kontennya agar menarik pembaca. Media ini menggabungkan seniman dengan penulis-penulis. Le Un yang terbit mingguan ini berbentuk mirip sebuah peta raksasa yang dilipat dengan apik, memakai kertas yang mengkilap dan font yang rapi dan elegan. Konon format dan bentuk itu didapat dari poster propaganda yang turut membentuk sejarah Prancis modern seperti sekarang. Dan teks di dalamnya tidak mendominasi. Justru konten teks disajikan secara harmonis dengan grafis dan ilustrasi serta foto yang warna-warni sehingga tidak menjemukan pembaca. Ada komik, cerpen, kolom dan konten lain yang biasa ada dalam surat kabar atau majalah.

SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG MAGAZIN

Majalah dari Jerman ini lain dari majalah lazimnya. Apa pasal? Sampul-sampulnya dihiasi dengan karya seni abstrak yang menggelitik keingintahuan calon pembelinya. Hal ini diakui sebagai kelebihan yang menjual bagi majalah tersebut karena banyak media mengandalkan foto dan ilustrasi yang terlalu gamblang untuk dipahami di sampul depan.  

Sebagai konsekuensinya, Suddeutsche Zeitung Magazin tidak bisa sembarangan memilih gambar sampul. Berbagai pilihan ditentukan secara cermat oleh seorang direktur seni yang berpengalaman. Dan penyunting kepala (editor in-chief) harus bekerja secara selaras dengan direktur seni tadi agar tercipta sampul yang memukau calon pembeli.

Monocle, majalah yang kemudian berkembang menjadi bisnis media yang komplit.

MONOCLE

Tahun 2007, majalah Monocle diluncurkan dengan konten yang global. Kini dengan jumlah pembaca yang makin besar, mereka mengandalkan komunitasnya sebagai daya tarik utama. Dengan kata lain, para pembaca diperlakukan secara istimewa dengan memberikan mereka banyak kesempatan untuk menghadiri event khusus pelanggan majalah tersebut saja. Layanan yang prima juga menggenjot daya saing di tengah persaingan yang tiada ampun di industri media.

Konten-konten di situs web dan majalahnya sama sekali tidak dibumbui headline yang terlalu ‘merangsang’. Mereka tetap berpegang teguh pada prinsip jurnalisme yang berimbang dan gaya penuturan yang bercerita (storytelling).

Tidak cuma web dan majalah, Monocle juga menyediakan kanal komunikasi radio, Monocle 24, yang disiarkan dari kantor pusat mereka di Midori House, London.

Tidak bisa dipungkiri Monocle memang menyasar segmen terbatas, yakni mereka yang tidak sungkan menghabiskan sejumlah uang untuk menikmati hidup dengan kualitas yang prima. (foto: Monocle/*)

Investigative Journalism as the Future of Print Media

QUALITY JOURNALISM HAS not ended. It still survives despite the collapse of print media. Churnalists – pseudojournalists who sit and type like crazy in their comfortable cubicles days and nights until their backs ache and eyes redden- certainly always win the war of pageviews but it is journalists who work hard out there in field, in reality, to gather materials, write reports from scratch, and bear the risks of getting injured or harmed in the process.

When hoax and biased news run rampant like nowadays both in Indonesia and the world, pessimissm reigns, questioning whether our press organizations will eventually perish or survive the hardship.

I myself srongly believe that quality journalism will be still around after I met with Amarzan Loebis, an Indonesia senior journalist who opened up from A to Z about Investigative Journalism (from now on abbreviated as IJ).

Linguistically, the phrase IJ was derived from a Latin phrase ‘diurna vestigium’, meaning that it’s a sort of journalism which tracks down trails. IJ is notorius for its chaos-making nature. It’s meant to wake people up and open their eyes after reading.

IJ is obviously not intended for every newcomer. One must be patiently working his or her way up to the ladder. Bit by bit. “Experience is everything,” he emphasized. It therefore doesn’t matter much that one is from an outstanding academic background or certified as a journalist in an official journalism institution. What matters most is whether one has been doing the work for quite a long time well or not. Because according to Amran, in journalism seniority is determined by means of depth and maturity. “It’s not about one’s tenure in a certain position or post,” added Loebis. It’s definitely a hands-on kind of profession.

Some think Investigative Reporting and In-depth Reporting are two same things. But in fact, if we care to observe more, the two are dissimilar. Loebis pointed out this confusing misconception does exist. “In-depth Reporting springs out of curiosity,” he explained. A journalist writes an in-depth report in order to describe something, an important issue for public to learn and criticize.

Meanwhile, Investigative Reporting starts from suspicion. A journalist works with an investigative reporting method to expose something hidden, an issue that is not obvious or unknown by public but very crucial to the betterment of the society and state. Its objective is greater than financial gains and fame.

In the US, IJ has emerged since 1902 amidst social changes. It proved able to help shape the social structure. Businesswise, it also helped the media tycoons make a lot of profits.

In 1920s, investigative journalism associations mushroomed in the US.The trend was even achieving a new height after a number investigative reports were rewritten and published as literary works/ novels. Repackaging investigative journalism works was a tactic to make it timeless and more consumable to wider audiences, crossing geographical boundaries.

Though it is possible to launch an investigative endeavor on one’s own, naturally IJ is conducted in teams. This holds true especially when journalists are after an issue at a grand scale or involving prominent figures and their cronies. An IJ team consists of not only seasoned journalists but also newcomers as their faces are much less recognizable to the public (because senior journalists are presumably have appeared so often in public, making foes recognize them more easily).

IJ may always be oriented to the West (read: the US and UK) but IJ in the East (Asia) has actually made its appearance. The thing is its development was not well documented, making it less probable to track down.

Loebis showed his optimism that even under the amounting threat of online news outlets, IJ never fades away and has its own place. It is somehow irreplacable.

He sees opportunities for IJ in the epoch of internet. “IJ can be a golden opportunity for old-school media organizations to outlive the public forecast [that they would die sooner or later],” he underscored.

I understand that IJ is so hard to execute that only very few journalists willingly and indefatigably dedicate themselves to the pursuit of truth the hard way like this.

He likened IJ to ‘jihad’ or struggle. “IJ is a fighting journalism, which is born out of the spirit of resisting,” he defined. That said, those who work in this field have to be prepared for any possible risks.

“But thanks to the heavy and serious nature of IJ, most modern press accolades are intended for IJ works,” Loebis spoke.

It is no exaggeration, I suppose, when the jovial journalist concluded his talk by stating: “The future of Indonesia’s print media is IJ.” (*/)

The Real Challenge Muslims are Facing Today

IT’S NOT EASY to be living as a moslem these days. Especially when one lives in the West, where the religion is prejudiced negatively by the public and media. It’s been always under scrutinity and criticism. In the recent years the intensity is greater than before.

A moslem Indonesian young man experienced this greater intensity, too, while he stayed abroad. As a young hopeful scholar, let’s call him Hasan, his future is quite promising. He has a strong background in worldly education, helping him make his way to one of the German top universities. But along with it, he has a baggage of thick religious familial setting since his very young age. He has been exposed to Islamic values, norms and practices on daily basis as his father, a highly influential leader and figure in the patriarchal family system of Indonesia, teaches everyone in the family the significance and love of Islam. In brief, the religious dedication runs in the family members’ vein.

To cut the story short, one day Hasan discovered a wallet in a train he was taking somewhere in Germany. With all his father’s internalized teaching of the obligation of doing good unto others in life, he was so ready to find the owner out and give it back to whoever that was. As he opened the wallet to find who this owner was, Hasan read a man’s identity card on which he could learn the address and contact number. He contacted this man called Philip. They agreed to meet. Philip was obviously glad to learn his wallet would be returned. And Hasan was equally glad to be of help. But instead of returning the wallet as it was, Hasan did a little bit further. He had an idea of wrapping it carefully as if it were a gift from him to Philip. To add to the ‘gift’, Hasan had sweets to accompany the wallet.

Upon seeing Hasan, Philip was panic-stricken. He took several steps back after Hasan told the man that he was the person saving his belonging.

Philip could not believe his eyes. Hasan with his Asian looks and a white cap typically worn by muslim men did not fit Philip’s image of a kind personality.

“No, it can’t be possible!” Philip shrieked. He shook Hasan’s shoulders out of disbelief. Hasan himself did not move an inch as he felt there was no need to. He believed Philip would not do him any harm.

Philip is one of million Europeans who put so much trust upon the Western media coverage, which is to some extent more against and less in favor of muslims.

In Europe nowadays especially post Arab Spring, the anti-muslim sentiment has been building up. Like Philip, some people in the European countries see these Arabs and mostly muslim refugees as uninvited guests with potential problems. And to add to the mess, some of these refugees commit crimes in their already peaceful and stable homelands, putting more stress on the struggling European countries’ economy and security. Philip’s prejudice towards Hasan, therefore, can be very much understood.

This is a point to ponder especially if you’re a muslim yourself. As a muslim, we’re the embodiment of our religious teachings and values. Certainly, Islamic teachings are great, noble and flawless but if what people see in its followers is poverty, anger, bitterness towards the rest of the world, exclusivity and a sense of self-entitlement (to being considered the best religious group on earth), who wants to believe it?

In the past, Islam was represented by its best ambassadors. These were affulent and influential merchants sailing to foreign soils outside Arab world and Europe. In Indonesia, that was what is told in the history, that Islamic teachings were brought in peace by expatriate traders.

Knowing himself is one of Islam ambassadors, Hasan renounced Philip’s presupposition that muslims are a group of terrorists or thugs. While there are muslims who fit that not-so-positive image, there are many more of them who are like Hasan. They are peace messengers. They are erudite. They are educated and adaptive to the contemporary world without neglecting their cultural and religious roots. And these representatives are what the increasingly hostile world badly needs instead of more Al Qaeda and ISIS fighters. (*/)

Politik Indonesia dalam ‘Kutukan’ Roda Hamster

Lelah tapi tidak maju-maju. Itulah hamster yang sibuk. Seperti politikus kita. (Foto: Wikimedia)

ENTAH apa yang mendorong saya untuk meraih dan membuka buku berwarna merah dan putih itu. Saya buka buku yang berisi kumpulan tajuk milik salah satu pewarta terbaik negeri ini, Muchtar Lubis. Di dalamnya saya baca tulisan-tulisan pendeknya soal berbagai isu politik dalam negeri dan masalah nasional. Tulisan-tulisan lugas itu diterbitkan dalam surat kabar Indonesia Raya di awal Orde Baru dari 1968 dan 1974 dan kemudian dikumpulkan serta diterbitkan ulang oleh Penerbit Obor pada tahun 1997 lalu.

Membaca isinya, sungguh saya seperti membaca konten di portal berita daring hari ini saja. Temanya masih sangat relevan. Yang paling relevan misalnya ialah ancaman Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI) yang diserukan untuk tetap diwaspadai. Di halaman 216 misalnya, kita bisa menemukan tulisan Muchtar yang berapi-api soal PKI. “Tetaplah Waspada terhadap PKI!” – demikian judulnya – membahas soal peringatan Hari Berkabung Nasional pada tanggal 18 September yang khusus diperingati untuk mengenang pengkhianatan kaum komunis terhadap revolusi bangsa Indonesia, tulis Muchtar. Ia dengan lantang menuduh PKI sebagai alat ekspansi pengaruh komunisme di Indonesia. “Sekali lancung ke ujian, seumur hidup orang tidak percaya!” tulis Muchtar penuh antipati di harian Indonesia Raya pada 18 September 1970.

Soal kondisi politik dalam negeri yang saat ini ricuh, saya juga menemukan keluhan serupa dalam tajuk Muchtar. Judulnya “Politisi Kita Tak Berubah” (hal, 104-106). Meledak tawa saya karena membacanya. Ya, mereka memang tidak akan pernah berubah. Dari tahun 1969 saat Muchtar menulisnya sampai detik ini, karakter politisi Indonesia secara umum tidak banyak berubah. Begini tulis Muchtar:”Kita heran melihat betapa politisi kita masih saja berpikir pada taraf melempar semboyan saja.”

Muchtar mengulangi lagi kritiknya itu di “Jangan Terpesona oleh Slogan” (27 Januari 1970). “Orang Indonesia memang sejak zaman Soekarno mudah teperdaya oleh slogan alias semboyan,” tulisnya tegas, tanpa ampun.

Ingin saya mengatakan pada Muchtar yang sudah berpulang, “Pak, sampai sekarang mereka juga masih begitu kok! Masih sama!” Saya yakin banyak kita juga semua bisa mengamininya.

Gong pernyataan Muchtar soal politik Indonesia ialah saat ia menyimpulkan:”Kita ingin melihat agar di Indonesia orang jangan puas dengan kulit saja. Tapi kita harus belajar menyelami sesuatu sampai ke dalam hakikatnya agar kita jangan terus menerus menipu diri kita sendiri” (hal 106). Lagi-lagi, saya ingin terpingkal-pingkal dan berkomentar,”Pak, sampai tahun 2017, empat puluh delapan tahun setelah bapak menulis itu, Indonesia kok rasanya juga masih sama. Mementingkan kulit saja. Mereka tahu ada politisi-politisi busuk yang sudah mengecewakan di masa lalu tapi tetap saja dipilih, dicoblos, dicontreng. Kalaupun ada yang berubah cuma nama depan saja, nama belakang tidak, alias politisi-politisi baru itupun sebenarnya istri, anak, saudara kandung atau saudara dekat politisi busuk. Dan orang Indonesia terus saja memilih itu. Tidak trauma, tidak peduli. Pokoknya bisa dapat uang sebelum mencoblos.”

Pada tanggal 10 April 1970, Muchtar menerbitkan tulisannya yang berjudul “Perkembangan Politik Ketinggalan”. Di sini, wartawan kampiun Indonesia itu menceritakan betapa saat itu perpolitikan nusantara dianggapnya tidak bisa mengimbangi perkembangan ekonomi Indonesia. “Ia jauh tertinggal dan hal ini merupakan kelemahan,” tegasnya.

Kekacauan juga terlihat dari banyaknya campur aduk keanggotaan orang-orang yang memegang teguh konsep Nasakom Orde Lama di era Soekarno dan semangat pembaruan di Orde Baru. Hal yang sama persis juga terjadi saat ini. Kita benar-benar tidak bisa memisahkan partai politik yang murni mengemban semangat reformasi dan mana yang sudah tercemar kerinduan terhadap stabilitas khas Orde Baru (ingat dengan semboyan “Enak jamanku tho?”). Upaya untuk membanding-bandingkan pencapaian rezim Orde Baru dengan era saat ini juga membuat suasana makin gerah saja. Jangankan yang sudah dikenal jelas sebagai pendukung Orba, yang semula dikenal sebagai pengusung reformasi saja ternyata bisa berbalik haluan menjadi pendukung Orba lagi. Benar-benar oportunis.

Mengakhiri tulisannya yang bernada kesal itu, palu vonis itu pun diketukkan oleh Muchtar dengan menyatakan:”Kini prasarana politik kita masih berengsek dan kucar-kacir tidak keruan, dan dukungan-dukungan politik formal yang diberikan kebanyakan merupakan hasil dari manipulasi-manipulasi yang hasilnya hanya bersifat sementara.” Hampir setengah abad kemudian, keluhan Muchtar saya pikir masih amat sangat relevan. Politik kita gaduh melulu dan cenderung mengganggu produktivitas pemerintahan yang sedang bekerja.

Kemudian isu besar yang tidak kalah klasik dalam perpolitikan Indonesia ialah korupsi. Masalah ini sudah mendapat sorotan utama sejak dulu dan Muchtar Lubis juga tidak tinggal diam. ia terus mengangkatnya dalam berbagai kesempatan. Seperti dalam “Menghapuskan ‘Kleptokrasi’” (4 Februari 1970), ia memberikan penghargaan atas pembentukan Komisi Empat sebagai hasil keputusan rezim Soeharto. Bung Hatta diangkat sebagai penasihat presiden kala itu untuk memberantas korupsi, kolusi dan nepotisme. Muchtar menuliskan demikian:

”Perkataan kleptokrasi ini dipergunakan seorang sarjana kemasyarakatan berbangsa Polandia dalam bukunya The African Predicament. Dia menulis bahwa kelas yang memerintah di kebanyakan negara Afrika di tahun 60-an termasuk kaum ‘kleptokrasi’ alias kaum pencopet, alias kaum pencuri, alias kaum koruptor. Gejala serupa ini, yang meluas di zaman rezim Soekarno, kini menjadi warisan kita dan tiada berkurang-kurangnya. […] Kami mengusulkan agar rakyat kita memberikan dukungan yang berlimpah-limpah pada tekad Presiden Soeharto ini, pada Komisi Empat, sehingga kaum koruptor jadi gemetaran dan tak berani lagi mencoba-coba mengelabui orang untuk menyelamatkan diri mereka.” (hal. 148-149)

Saya tidak bisa membayangkan reaksi Muchtar Lubis kalau beliau membaca berita-berita soal koruptor di Indonesia sekarang. Lolosnya para terduga tindak mega korupsi, insiden-insiden operasi tangkap tangan para pejabat publik, dan belum lagi ditambah dengan mengguritanya dinasti-dinasti politik di daerah-daerah seiring era otonomi daerah, membuat kata-katanya soal korupsi masih sangat relevan dengan Indonesia 2017; menjadi warisan kita dan tiada berkurang-kurangnya. Malah semakin mengakar dan membandel.

Jelas sudah dalam soal korupsi, kita ini bukan memerangi orang lain tetapi saudara setanah air kita sendiri dan yang paling utama, memerangi sisi gelap diri sendiri. Siapa saja bisa menjadi pelaku korupsi. Skalanya tentu tidak harus bermiliar-miliar. Apapun yang sudah mencuri yang bukan haknya, itu sudah korupsi. Dan kalaupun tidak mendapat kesempatan melakukan korupsi, kita pasti juga pernah menjadi pendukung. Caranya dengan diam atau tutup mulut atau memilih takluk pada pelaku korupsi. Sesederhana itu. Dan semua yang kecil dan remeh ini menggunung dan turun lalu membesar bak bola salju.

Muchtar memahami karakter politik Indonesia yang “setiap ada pergolakan, setiap suhu situasi politik naik jadi lebih hangat, tentulah ada saja golongan-golongan yang hendak mencoba menungganginya”.

Dan satu lagi fenomena yang juga sudah ada dalam dunia politik Indonesia dari dulu: kabar bohong (hoax) yang beredar. Betul, hoax sudah beredar sejak internet belum ada. Tentunya dalam bentuk desas-desus dan kabar burung yang bersifat spekulatif. Hal ini bisa kita temui dalam “Jangan Main Spion Melayu” (24 Januari 1970). Muchtar menggunakan surat kabar Indonesia Raya yang ia pimpin itu sebagai ruang untuk membela diri atas tuduhan-tuduhan yang menurutnya tidak benar yang dialamatkan kepadanya.

Untuk menegaskan betapa politikus dan perpolitikan kita masih dalam jebakan ‘roda hamster’ yang melelahkan, membuat berkeringat dan bersemangat tetapi tidak membawa bangsa ke mana-mana, kita bisa membaca “Peran Bumiputera Agar Paling Utama” (10 Januari 1973). Di dalamnya dijelaskan sikap pro-pribumi Muchtar terhadap Rencana Garis-garis Besar Haluan Negara yang digagas Badan Pekerja MPR akhir tahun 1972 yang ia anggap masih lembek soal prioritas peran pribumi dalam ekonomi Indonesia. Pandangan yang memisahkan pribumi-nonpribumi ini ternyata masih saja ada di Indonesia tahun 2017 meskipun 45 kalender sudah kita habiskan. Dan sialnya, orang Indonesia makin susah juga menahan diri untuk tidak berkomentar dan larut dalam debat kusir berkepanjangan di dalamnya. Klop sudah!

Jadi, kapan kita bisa kirim astronot kita ke bulan agar tahu betul apakah bumi ini bulat atau datar? Kapan kita bisa berdaulat pangan? Kapan kita bisa memberantas tuntas korupsi? Kapan kita bisa menjadi bangsa yang lebih disegani di percaturan dunia? Kapan kita bisa memberikan akses kesehatan agar tidak ada lagi orang yang ditolak lalu meregang nyawa di rumah sakit? Kapan kita bisa berhenti membicarakan perbedaan-perbedaan yang terus ada dan lebih berfokus pada persamaan? Kapan kita bisa bersatu padu dan mencapai cita-cita bersama-sama? (*)

Wartawan ‘Plus-Plus’: Sebuah Pledoi

 (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Wartawan sekarang juga mesti plus-plus. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Melalui WhatsApp, suatu siang saya diajak bertemu oleh seorang teman di hari libur di tengah pekan. Saya berkelit dari kewajiban untuk hadir segera  untuk memenuhi ajakannya bertandang ke rumah seorang teman lain yang cukup jauh dari tempat tinggal saya di jantung ibukota. Kata saya,”Saya masih ada pekerjaan yang harus saya selesaikan. Mungkin habis makan siang saya baru bisa ke sana.” Begitulah kira-kira janji saya kepadanya dalam bahasa yang lebih halus.

“Ah, kamu ini! Bekerja terus tapi nggak kaya-kaya!” selorohnya pada saya. Saya tersenyum kecut meskipun saya hanya menatap layar gawai. Saya memang tidak mengada-ada. Ada sebuah pekerjaan menerjemahkan yang saya sedang tangani. Dan saya sudah menetapkan disiplin ketat untuk menyelesaikan setidaknya sepuluh halaman dalam sehari agar bisa lekas selesai pada batas waktu yang sudah disepakati. Jika gagal saya penuhi, denda sudah menanti.

Anda pikir saya penerjemah penuh waktu? Tidak, saya wartawan. Dan saya sudah menekuni pula banyak pekerjaan selain jurnalisme. Di waktu luang saya berusaha untuk melengkapi diri dengan beragam ketrampilan selain jurnalistik yang bisa bermanfaat dalam mengais rezeki halal. Karena memang mengandalkan nafkah dari jurnalisme saja tidak mungkin cukup untuk bisa bertahan hidup di pasar tenaga kerja Jakarta yang makin mahal dan kompetitif serta dunia bisnis dan ekonomi makro yang secara umum masih terhimpit.

Di tengah degradasi jurnalisme seperti sekarang, saat konten orisinal dan berkualitas makin jarang dan daur ulang konten makin menjadi-jadi, belum lagi dengan desakan teknologi informasi, rasanya profesi wartawan makin tergerus. Saya sudah pernah membaca bahwa jurnalis ialah salah satu profesi yang akan segera digantikan oleh mesin/ algoritma. Programmer sudah bisa membuat kode-kode khusus yang nantinya akan mengumpulkan konten secara otomatis, yang hasilnya kemudian bisa disajikan sebagai berita dan disuguhkan pada pembaca. Berita jenis ‘hard news’ misalnya berita gempa bumi akan bisa dengan mudah dibuat karena sudah memiliki pola (template) 5W dan 1H yang sudah lazim itu. Tidak perlu menyuruh seorang reporter mengetik, algoritma itu akan bekerja mengumpulkan data dari pusat data seismik yang ada dan mengirimkannya ke kantor-kantor berita yang membutuhkan dan menyebarkannya secepatnya.

Saya tentu awalnya takut mendengar ramalan semacam itu. Kemudian saya mulai menyiasatinya dengan melakukan diversifikasi ketrampilan diri. Saya harus bisa lebih dari hanya sekadar menyajikan fakta dalam berita, atau mendaur ulang konten dari portal berita lain yang sudah ada. Saya pun mencari berbagai celah potensial untuk mengembangkan diri saya agar menjadi wartawan plus-plus.

Pekerjaan sehari-hari saya sebagai jurnalis daring membuat saya terpapar dengan media sosial secara terus menerus, perlahan-lahan saya mulai belajar media sosial juga. Saya menyisihkan waktu secara sengaja untuk belajar lebih mendalam tentang media komunikasi baru ini. Dan dari sana, saya bereksperimen dengan apapun yang saya miliki, baik itu alat, kesempatan dan berbagai metodenya yang memungkinkan untuk belajar media sosial karena saya sadar akan makin banyak orang memerlukan ketrampilan berkomunikasi secara lebih efektif dan efisien di kemudian hari. Saya pun nekat mengikuti lokakarya media sosial selama beberapa hari di tengah pekan meskipun itu artinya jatah cuti saya tergerus. Saya tahu ini merupakan investasi masa depan, karena sebagai wartawan, sampai kapan saya mesti mengetik berita daur ulang dan mewawancarai orang-orang hanya untuk dibaca di portal berita hanya untuk dilupakan setelahnya? Dan investasi ini terbukti menghasilkan karena saya baru-baru ini diundang untuk menerangkan media sosial dan mekanisme pemanfaatannya sesuai tujuan komunikasi kelembagaan.

Bidang pekerjaan jurnalisme juga berkaitan erat dengan dunia tulis menulis kreatif (creative writing). Sehingga saya pun mencoba menulis artikel di media jurnalisme warga. Selain itu, saya beruntung karena beberapa kali artikel yang saya tulis termuat di dalam surat kabar juga. Upah untuk satu artikelnya memang tidak seberapa tetapi toh sudah membantu memupuk reputasi saya sebagai wartawan yang tidak cuma bisa menulis berita tetapi juga lainnya (karena ada juga wartawan yang menulis hanya saat mereka bekerja, sebab passion mereka bukanlah menulis). Semua itu membantu saya mendapat pekerjaan sebagai ghostwriter (penulis bayangan) sebuah buku dan penulis di sebuah majalah seni.

Setelah itu, saya juga berhasil memasukkan tulisan-tulisan saya dalam beberapa buku yang diterbitkan oleh teman-teman saya. Sekali lagi, memang imbalannya sangat tidak seberapa tetapi saya terus melakukannya sebab saya yakin saya melakukan ini untuk mengasah ketrampilan saya dan memperkaya wawasan dan memperluas jaringan. Pendeknya, tidak ada yang sia-sia jika saya berpikir dalam jangka panjang.

Dalam membuat berita/ konten, saya juga terbiasa menerjemahkan (karena saya diserahi segmen berita mancanegara). Dengan ditambahi dengan latar belakang pendidikan yang mendukung (Sastra Inggris), saya pun juga melakoni profesi penerjemah paruh waktu. Saya mencoba menjalin relasi dengan banyak orang karena saya sadar dari banyaknya kenalan, saya bisa menawarkan jasa saya sebagai penerjemah. Dan relasi itu dibangun dengan organik, yang maksudnya ialah hubungan yang saya bangun tidak melulu karena saya berhasrat menawarkan jasa penerjemahan pada mereka tetapi juga karena saya ingin menjadi teman yang baik. Saya paling benci jika menemukan orang yang terlalu bernafsu memonetisasi hubungan mereka dengan orang. Jika menguntungkan, ia dekati dan berhubungan baik dengan orang tetapi jika tidak ada keuntungan yang bisa dipetik, orang itu diacuhkan begitu saja.

Hobi lain yang saya minati juga kemudian saya terus tekuni. Saya menyukai yoga untuk diri sendiri awalnya. Saya anggap ini upaya menyehatkan diri agar saya bisa bekerja leboih produktif, karena profesi wartawan sungguh identik dengan kebiasaan kurang sehat, dari merokok, mengopi, begadang, makan sembarangan (asal kenyang dan enak)  Hingga kemudian saya menemukan celah untuk memaksimalkan minat saya ini lebih jauh. Saya terus berlatih dan akhirnya memutuskan belajar lebih dalam sampai mengikuti pelatihan mengajar yoga. Singkatnya, saya terjun dalam dunia yoga sebagai pengajar dengan salah satu alasannya, yakni untuk meragamkan ketrampilan hidup saya di samping kemampuan dan pengalaman jurnalistik yang ada.

Selain semua bidang di atas tadi, saya juga masih meluangkan waktu untuk mengajar bahasa Inggris untuk klien pribadi. Saya juga sebelumnya sudah mengajar di sebuah kampus tempat seorang politisi memberikan celetukannya soal gaji kecil pewarta. Saya meninggalkan tempat itu sekarang. Tidak lain karena gajinya juga tidak kalah memprihatinkan dari gaji wartawan. Dari pengalaman itu, saya lebih suka mengajar klien individual karena tidak perlu kerja ‘rodi’ mengajar kelas berisi 60 orang dan meneliti kertas jawaban ujian tertulis sampai larut malam. Upah lebih tinggi karena saya yang menentukan jumlah dan jadwalnya sendiri. Mau, ambil. Tidak mau, silakan cari yang lain. Dan setelah les, saya bebas. Tidak terbebani kewajiban menyetor nilai, menandatangani lembar ini itu untuk bisa mengambil honor, berbasa-basi dengan rekan pengajar yang mengira saya mahasiswa juga. Merepotkan.

Jadi, kalau saya mendengar politisi itu mengolok-olok gaji pewarta dan mengukur kesejahteraan dari kekerapan mengunjungi mall dan berbelanja barang-barang konsumtif, saya hanya bisa berdehem dan menggulingkan bola mata. Saya tidak akan terhina karena memang begitulah faktanya. Akan tetapi meskipun itu benar, kalau mau berpikir lebih bijak, tidaklah etis bagi seorang tokoh publik untuk melontarkannya dalam kesempatan terbuka, saat leluconnya bisa dikutip dan disebarkan setelah konteksnya dipreteli secara semena-mena.

Alih-alih  merasa terhina dan berang, saya anggap lelucon yang sama sekali tidak lucu itu sebagai sebuah cambuk untuk menjadi wartawan ‘plus-plus’. Maksud ‘plus-plus’ itu tentu bukan wartawan yang menyambi menjadi pekerja seks komersial (meskipun memang harus diakui lumayan menggiurkan, tetapi masalahnya berapa banyak wartawan yang bahkan peduli dengan penampilan fisik mereka sendiri), tetapi menjadi wartawan yang sanggup menjadi lebih dari sekadar pekerja teks komersial. Karena wartawan plus-plus akan memiliki kekuatan tersendiri, tidak hanya bisa pasrah pada pemodal yang mau menang sendiri dengan menggaji mereka sekecil-kecilnya. Jadi jika idealisme wartawan dilanggar, wartawan itu tidak akan kelaparan saat harus meninggalkan kantor-kantor berita para pemodal kikir atau kantor redaksi yang tercemar kapitalisme digital yang mengukur kinerja dengan pageviews. (*)