A Journalism Professor Just Proofread Mocha Uson's Letter of Request and It's All Sorts of Amazing
Let's start with Corps versus Corp.
(SPOT.ph) After getting schooled with Journalism 101 during the "fake news" hearing at the senate on October 4, Presidential Communications and Operations Office Assistant Sec. Mocha Uson again got flak online this week for her communication skills. (The irony is not lost on us.) This comes after the blogger shared a copy of the letter she sent on November 7 to Sec. Martin Andanar, requesting that "Rappler be reclassified and moved from Malacanang Press Corp to Social Media."
Napapanahon na i-tama ang MALI. pic.twitter.com/b1q6WVeUhJ— Mocha Uson Blog (@MochaUson) November 7, 2017
Uson pointed out that Rappler, an accredited member of the Malacañang Press Corps, is an online publication "that has no counterpart print or broadcast arm" and should "technically" be "considered social media." Social media practitioners and bloggers who want to cover the events and activities of President Rodrigo Duterte should apply at the Malacañang's Social Media Office, which is headed by Uson as of July 2017.
In response, the media outfit released an article saying that the assistant secretary's request is "misplaced on three counts." It points out that Rappler is an independent private media company, which guarantees freedom of the press; that the Malacañang Press Corps is a group independent of the government and the Presidential Communications Operations Office; and that PCOO's interim policy for accreditation covers only individuals and not news organizations.
On their end, the Malacañang Press Corps released a statement on November 8 reiterating that it is an "independent organization of journalists" and is "not in any way under the control and supervision of the PCOO." For these reasons, it "deplores any attempt to curtail press freedom and will continue to ensure a strong free press, keep public informed and the government in check."
EDITING MOCHA: For whatever it's worth, please allow me to present an edited version of the November 7 letter of ASec @MochaUson to @PresidentialCom Sec. @MartinAndanar regarding @RapplerDotCom. This evaluation is based on form and content. #journalism pic.twitter.com/37Tnr9nxmh— Danilo Arao (@dannyarao) November 8, 2017
But beyond the legality of the letter of request, journalist and University of the Philippines - Diliman associate professor Danilo Arao was also concerned about how it was written by the Communications Asec. "For whatever it's worth, please allow me to present an edited version of the November 7 letter," he posted on Twitter. Among the things he pointed out are the inconsistencies in the spelling of Malacañang, the difference between Corp. (abbreviation of corporation) and Corps (as in the press corps or Peace Corps), and the use of definitions and citations to back up claims.
The letter is posted publicly by @MochaUson herself so engaging in constructive criticism is acceptable.— Danilo Arao (@dannyarao) November 8, 2017
One Twitter user (@Hellchrist111), appalled by Arao's action, commented: "I assume you are up for shameful punishment. Which is what the scene would generally look like. That is how you tend to educate in this informal manner." To this, the professor replied: "The letter is posted publicly by @MochaUson herself so engaging in constructive criticism is acceptable."
Technically, it should be a memo (considering the rule of thumb that letters are external while memos are internal). But for a big organization like PCOO which has several offices (located in Manila and QC, among others), we can a bit liberal.— Danilo Arao (@dannyarao) November 8, 2017
We even get to know more about the difference between a letter of request and a memo through Arao's Twitter thread.
By the way, you can easily download a copy of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style online. It has everything you need to know about writing decently.