2009 was a great year for citizen journalism. Networking tools like Twitter and Facebook became big hits, and wannabe journalists all over the country were given a chance to showcase their own brand of reportage.
Within minutes of the Greenbelt 5 hold-up incident, the story broke in Twitter, thanks to mobile twitter-ing. Mall goers in the area, who were by then ducking their fair share of flying bullets, began putting blow-by-blow posts in their own Twitter accounts, perhaps to warn their friends and relatives not to go to the area. The reports were considered to have beaten traditional media just the same.
When a car near Serendra in The Fort, Taguig City, exploded just this month, Twitter-ers were also able to report the incident faster than the ruthless professional news websites. Blogger Judd Sta. Maria at Shootdelay also posted pictures immediately, and they were used by the same traditional media he had beaten.
The same scenario happened abroad. In February, Twitter beat traditional media when it first carried photos of a plane which crashed in Amsterdam's Schipol airport. Twitter reports of the deaths of Michael Jackson and Patrick Swayze also reached more people faster.
In PEP, readers were able to take part in the action by sending their own feeds, like scoops and photos, which made it into our own front page. For instance, the death of veteran actor Johnny Delgado was picked up by PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) from the Twitter posts of his friends in show business.
The celebrated photos of rumored couple Ruffa Gutierrez and John Lloyd Cruz spending time together in New York, were sent by readers to PEP.In time, Ruffa Gutierrez confirmed that the photos of them strolling were real. But she said she was just touring the matinee idol in the Big Apple, because she said she knows the places there. John Lloyd, however, refuses to talk about his meeting up with Ruffa.
A PEP user in Singapore, meanwhile, sent to the website his own snaps of Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes shopping together. The photos made everyone wonder whether the two are really an item, and at the same time made people gush how romantic they look together. The two will appear in GMA-7's remake of the koreanovela Endless Love next year.
PEP photographer Noel Orsal saw former Parañaque City mayor Joey Marquez and beauty queen Joanne Quintas walking together in Gateway Mall, holding hands. The exclusive photo interested showbiz magazine programs on TV, like SNN and The Buzz, where it also appeared. Joey denied the rendezvous in initial interviews, only to make an about-face days later, saying he and Joanne are just "business partners."
Photos from PEP users of popular stars helping out during Ondoy—like Jericho Rosales using a surfboard, and Gerald Anderson using all his strength to swim to the desperate—also appeared in PEP. Words of praise immediately showered down on these stars, who were recognized for their selfless deeds.
Other PEP-celebrated photos that appeared in 2009 include Krista Ranillo spotted shooting a soap at Enchanted Kingdom, controversial doctor Hayden Kho getting his head doused in a Senate hearing, and Robin Padilla looking good and confident on the catwalk during a fashion show for apparel brand Jag.
Here are the top ten photos that made showbiz more colorful in 2009. (CLICK HERE to read related story.)