Showing posts with label interviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label interviews. Show all posts

Saturday, June 22, 2013


I had quite a busy week last week with several meetings for a couple of projects I am doing. It became a hectic week after a major media company featured a paper I wrote last year on its 9PM new program anchored by an award-winning, popular media personality. I was quite surprised as the reporter went over key points of my paper but I am glad that he seemed to have read the paper and understood the main points. The following day, our office fielded a few calls from a major daily and two other major TV stations.

The paper was one I wrote after delivering my Professorial Chair Lecture in last year's colloquium at our college at UP Diliman. It is something I regard as a tool to initiate discussions about the state of our transportation system. And so requests for a copy of the paper were entertained by our librarians/information managers whom I provided a digital copy of the paper that they could give to those asking for a copy of the material. Meanwhile, there were also requests for interviews including one interview for TV the day following the news report on the news channel. I am no stranger to such interviews and rather than have the reporter insistently follow-up on when he can interview me, I agreed to give the interview the same day. To be fair, I granted 2 more radio interviews yesterday (Friday) morning and another this (Saturday) morning. 

Yesterday's interview was quite special as it was on prime time AM radio with the former Vice President of the Philippines who is among the top media personalities in the country. I learned the previous day that the person mentioned my paper on his program and so was making a follow-up feature of the topic on his Friday program. That went very well as the right questions were asked and I was able to explain clearly about the loss of productivity we are experiencing in Metro Manila that colleagues first estimated in 2000. I was quite happy to say something about sustainable transport and the promote walking and cycling. More importantly, I knew that the interview would be heard by a lot of people including government officials and decision-makers, and somehow be able to send the message about sustainable transport and the need for transport infrastructure in metropolitan areas.

This morning's gig was quite different as I was a "guest" in a radio program co-hosted by a newly re-elected Senator. I guess it was something that one could consider a virtual guesting since I was on the phone while they were in the studio of a major AM radio station. It was also a long discussion that I engaged in as I was on air for about 40 minutes and was part of a nice exchange with the hosts. It was also another productive interview as again good questions were also asked about transport problems and what was required to address them. I must admit though that I was caught a bit off-guard when they asked about "grading" the 17 cities of Metro Manila and I had to draw on some stock knowledge and experience about the cities. It was a difficult question and an awkward one given that I would always like to think that all these cities probably are giving it their best with the resources that they have in solving their problems. This last interview left me hopeful as I thought the Senator was honestly concerned about the state of traffic and transport in our cities (not just Metro Manila) and would likely include something on transport and traffic on his legislative agenda once the 16th Congress opens in July.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bawal ang pasaway

It took me some time since the last when I wrote about my experiences of being interviewed for media. I believe I've had many enjoyable interviews including guesting on recorded or live shows. The former included the now defunct "Hot Seat" hosted by Jessica Soho on what was QTV Channel 11. Jessica was the best interview I had and she was really very good in making people comfortable and asking the right questions. Parang nagkukuwentuhan lang kayo but she was able to draw out the answers to even tough or sensitive questions like the ones she asked the other guests. I think I was a guest of the show to talk about road traffic safety and probably was asked questions pertaining to how dangerous our roads were. Well they are still quite dangerous now and despite the combined efforts of many people, agencies and entities, there's still so much to do to improve the situation.

That topic on road traffic safety brings me to my latest guesting and this one perhaps is among the most enjoyable considering that I have so much respect and am actually a fan of the host Professor Emeritus Winnie Monsod. This evening's episode of "Bawal ang Pasaway kay Mareng Winnie" on NewsTV 11 featured pedestrian safety in particular and road traffic safety in general in Metropolitan Manila. I had the pleasure of meeting my fellow guests prior to the taping of the show 2 weeks ago. One guest was a Mr. Gutierrez, who headed the special unit of the MMDA for Commonwealth Avenue, and whom I learned was a trainee of our center from way back. Another guest was Dr. Raffy Consunji of SafeKids Philippines and a faculty member of the UP-PGH. There was also Dr. Aurora Corpuz-Mendoza, the chair of the UP Diliman's Department of Psychology. Finally, there was Atty. Emerson Carlos, the MMDA Assistant General Manager for Operations and head of its Transport and Traffic Management Office. I was in a couple of segments with Prof. Monsod and Atty. Carlos and the format was more like a discussion with Prof. Monsod facilitating and asking questions about the state of road safety in Metro Manila. I especially liked the part where we talked about statistics and the economics of traffic safety. She obviously knew her stuff and her staff did their homework on the facts. Her conclusions toward the end of the show provides a clear picture of the costs of road crashes in Metro Manila and articulates what must be done considering the losses incurred. Hopefully, her message is received well, her points understood, and decision makers heed her call for action to address our dangerous roads.

Photo below with Prof. Emeritus Winnie Monsod (UPSE) after the tapings:

Photo below was taken after the segments discussing state of traffic safety along Metro Manila roads. From left: Attty. Carlos of the MMDA, Prof. Monsod, and me.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


A lot of people have asked me how it felt when one is interviewed by media. It is not an easy thing and certainly not a comfortable experience considering that I must be wary of the statements that I make considering my position at the University and my being head of a research and training center. I must be well informed about the topic and usually require whoever was requesting an interview to provide the topic and perhaps guide questions in advance. This is to allow for some preparations especially to get sufficient data on things I may be asked.

Data should be current and reliable such that it will be factual, informative. After all, interviews are also opportunities to promote the advocacies of the Center as well as the Center itself. And the best way to do so is to project the Center as an institution of honor and excellence, in the tradition of the University it represents. I must also be mindful that we are actually part of the government and that we have many linkages with government agencies including those that have often been under attack for the mess we have to deal with in Philippine transport and traffic. Yet being part of the University and the academe in general, one must also maintain objectivity while being fair, not resorting to uncalled for criticisms or government bashing that has been the signature of some so-called experts in transport and traffic. Thus, it is also a tough balancing act as one is being called upon to comment and provide opinion on a variety of topics, mainly those that are the talk of the town like a recent road crash or a controversial traffic scheme being proposed.

Interviews, however, despite the required preparations are definitely enjoyable and, after one is shown on TV or printed in the newspaper, something one would be proud. This is especially true if the interview went well and one is not quoted out of context. Colleagues at the Center including previous heads have always nixed interviews because of their experience on TV, radio and print where careless (and maybe even reckless) reporters have quoted them out of context. I have had my share of similar experiences despite my preparation and I guess it is something one should expect if one grants one too many an interview. Based on this experience I have enlisted the help of my staff to screen those who are requesting for interviews including setting up a system where they have to write to the office (an email would be enough).

I have turned down many requests and my staff have done so, too. Mostly, these are ones that obviously are in conflict with my schedule (lectures, meetings and other appointments) or those that violate time I have reserved for myself and my family (i.e., no interviews after 6:00PM and definitely none on weekends). I have made very rare exceptions to these rules and then only when the topic is a hot issue and one that requires expert opinion from a scholarly perspective.

In future posts, I will try to write about specific experiences and some of my favorite interviews and interview topics.