Tala Ko

Sniffing out Pinoy science news online

Posted on: Tuesday, 8 July 2008

A look at the first three pages of both Google and Yahoo! search results are enough to refuel my desire to write for the sake of Philippine science. I’m not talking about just IT, though it seems that I have been for the past few entries. But for a while now, I’ve wanted to learn and write more about other fields – biology, chemistry, physics, medicine, mathematics, engineering, etc. – and the headway that we Filipinos may be making.

I say “may” because, well, I’m finding it hard to learn about it. It’s easy enough to search “science news Philippines” and be led to single articles on renewed preservation efforts or the discoveries of new species in the country. There’s also the occasional weather (typhoon) report. But I can’t seem to find out enough about what our scientists are doing in other fields. What if I want to know, for instance, what comes out when our tax money goes into funding for local sci/tech? What if I want to know whether sci/tech in this country is really as bad as some kabayans think it is?

Search results also include offers from larger news sites to aggregate headlines and articles on “science news philippines” for me. What I’m really looking for is a media hub for science that anyone and everyone interested in local sci/tech developments can explore. However, I find only one site that comes close to the task; it’s entitled, aptly enough, Science News Philippines.

Sadly, the site hasn’t been updated since February. It’s a shame, because the list of writers was impressive enough.

I also looked up the Bato Balani website, even though I’ve never seen or read an issue. (Bato Balani is a local sci/tech publication.) Here, I got a just a bunch of tables and things about PHP. And here, “The page cannot be displayed.” The Bato Balani Foundation has a blog, but it’s for press purposes.

One guy sought to do the same thing I do with my Clips, this time using the Bato Balani name, but his site hasn’t been updated for over a year.

What about the major dailies? While I understand that reporting on sci/tech isn’t their main priority, we can expect them to report, from time to time, on scientific matters of national interest, right?

The online presences of top papers Philippine Daily Inquirer and Philippine Star each have separate sections on health and on technology, sure. But their sci/tech scopes still seem to primarily cover IT and business. Inquirer.net has two on technology: Infotech under the Business section and the Technology channel. Philstar.com’s sci/tech headlines fall under the Business section, too.

Judging by headlines alone, you might say that the Manila Bulletin‘s science sections have the most to offer. Apart from IT, Agriculture and Environment are a separate section each. However, the Environment section alone features stories that don’t involve some kind of business interest.

Similarly, the websites of top TV networks ABS-CBN and GMA feature mostly IT news, mostly in relation to business affairs.

Of course it’s good for businessmen to know about science, and of course it’s good for everyone to know about developments in health and psychology. But I’m looking for some wider horizons for science news here – avenues for people who share my interest to simply learn about what’s going on in science outside of IT (and now, health). I’m hoping for something along the lines of the BBC News Science/Nature section, or the Time Science News section. Eventually, I’d like to see a local site that publishes stuff like what’s on Science Daily. Better yet, we’d have our own science, technology and research network, like the Discovery Channel or National Geographic.

I want to know about our rainforests and about our feats of engineering. I want to know about our endemic plants and animals and about what great things our people are doing in fields, caves, and laboratories. I want to know about our volcanoes and seas and about what local physicists and mathematicians think.

I want to know, how much more do we need to know about science in the Philippines before we have respect for ourselves and before other countries can respect us without stealing our great minds? And where online can I find that kind of information? If you know, give me a heads-up. If they’re hiring, give me a double heads-up. :)

P.S. Here’s another question coming from my Comm major’s heart – why an online medium? Well, there are a whole bunch of people like me who would rather not buy or use paper, who can’t always tune into the Discovery Channel or the National Geographic Channel, and/or who acquire most of their information via the web. They (we) shouldn’t be neglected. So, why not?

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1 Response to "Sniffing out Pinoy science news online"

“I study myself more than any other subject; it is my metaphysic, and my physic.”

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