PRESIDENT Noynoy Aquino reportedly wishes "friendly, if not cozy" relations, with the press. He needs that to keep his huge campaign promises.

But PNoy can drop the "cozying up" idea. Warm and comfortable ties between media and state can't survive clash of interests and dispute over handling the news. They don't even have to be "friendly" with one another as long as the news flow continues, even if at times news sources are hostile or journalists are nasty.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama reportedly wants City Hall department heads not to talk with media, in effect gagging them. He denies that but says he must know about the news before it is published.

Limiting the source to one person, in this case the mayor cum PIO, handicaps the reporter who must use multi-sources to flesh out the news, catch any error or lie, and file the story on time. It also over-burdens the mayor who needs all the time and energy to solve the city's myriad problems--and keep former mayor Tomas Osmeña at bay.

Methods that work

If Mayor Mike aims to see to it that only stories favorable to him can get out, he can kill the idea. His own filtering of stories will achieve little. He can do better with readiness for correcting mistakes in stories and explaining confusion on issues. Wanted: media-savvy PIO with no hang-up against media.

PNoy and Mike are both coping with the press in the first few weeks of their terms. But the President is learning creative and functional ways while the mayor is using methods that never worked before: hogging the p.r. job and censoring subordinate officials.

(paseares@yahoo.com)