Covering the MAFBEX ’09 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City
Even if you hate it, wake up early. Two hours’ head start (I’m so bibo*) can help you explore ways to commute to places far away, beat the traffic, and make it alive in one piece.
It pays to spot your sources early on, and get interviews ahead of time – way before the PR people show up. Saw Bobby Chinn a full hour before the event started, looking at catering dishes, and the vicious stalker that I am, I yelled from half a football field away: “Excuse me Mr. Chinn!”
That got me this:
This was the least coordinated press event I’ve been to yet. Maybe because the venue was so huge, that press people got lost in the fray. Also, most of the speeches sucked, the host said “folks” too much, and the cultural presentations had this narration: “the element of FIRE.. the element of SALT.. the element of PINEAPPLE.”
It pays to be aggressive if you want to get ahead. Even if there’s a press conference, try to sneak in an exclusive interview with your source, especially if he’s just waiting for the presscon to start on a cushy sofa at the back. Tell the PR handlers you’re in a hurry and say you’ll just ask 2 questions, promise. Ask 12 follow-up questions.
Do befriend people on the scene. PR people can tell you one thing, but ordinary people can tell you another. Because they were near the entrance, I befriended two Malaysian women. They gave me free yogurt (like a gel custard) which was good.
Finally, have bottled water ready, always. Or at least a pack of food. You never know how long you have to sit in a dingy bus on the commute back to the office.
*Think teacher’s pet types. Active and annoying at once.