Immersion Journalism in the Philippines?

I read a book called New New Journalism  by Robert S. Boyton, and I got interested in immersion journalism, a method where journalists spend a year or years with their subjects in order to come up with a non-fiction book that reads like a novel.

I want to do this too. I want to shadow someone and know all of his or her idiosyncrasies. I want to observe even the most ordinary details of that person’s life and painstakingly describe it. I want to create a realistic painting with words.

The problem is I don’t know if these book deals exist in the Philippines, and plus I am not sure what I want to write about. I have a bagillion and one ideas, but I don’t know which one commands me enough such that I will obsess about it for a year.

Like the journalists in the book, I also want to write about ordinary people, not hot shot politicians or celebrities, not big history, but the stories of the ignored, the human, the story of the streets.

In the book, there’s a guy who followed tramps who rode trains that crossed the border between Mexico and the U.S. Another wrote about two African American boys in a turbulent neighborhood. Another told the story of a family whose members have all gone to jail because of petty crimes.

What are the stories of Zoro, the mentally challenged man we see in Manila’s streets? Of the preachers on the bus? Of ordinary Filipinos? And when and how can I write about them?

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2 thoughts on “Immersion Journalism in the Philippines?

  1. This is a great idea and I personally think that immersion journalism in the Philippines has a wealth of sources to chose from. Like Gonzo writing only expanded. Life behind the wheel of a jeepney driver? Life behind the grill of a tempura vendor? What about life behind the massage of a hilot? Life behind the dance of a bar girl? They all have fabulous human interest stories because they are human.

    Just tell them what you want to do and I think many people, who are professionals in their own right, will be happy sharing their everyday lives.

    ~ Gary ~


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