Knight International Journalism Fellowships

The Philippines: Tracking Government Efforts to Reduce Poverty

In the Philippines, Knight International helped journalists investigate the effectiveness of government programs designed to reduce poverty. With officials up for reelection in 2010, Knight Fellow Alex Tizon worked with The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) to determine whether the government delivered on promises to improve conditions. Tizon introduced new digital techniques that will enable major media outlets to gather better information from the poorest provinces.

Malou Mangahas, executive director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, discusses a new project led by Fellow Alex Tizon. PCIJ and Tizon are developing an online news feed that provides first-hand accounts to major media on how well government efforts to reduce rural poverty work.


  • Helped launch a new digital portal that provides data and citizen-journalist stories that track anti-poverty efforts in the five poorest provinces.

Our Stories


  • Oct 222009

    Dispatch From Typhoon Country

    One day this summer, on the island of Masbate, I watched a tricycle chug down the highway carrying 20 people. If I hadn’t seen it for myself, I may not have believed it. Fortunately, my journalist colleague Rowena Paraan saw it, too, and she confirmed my count.

    For my American friends: what people here call a tricycle is a small motorcycle with a covered sidecar. In Manila, tricycle drivers taxi people between neighborhoods; in the provinces, between towns and villages. Tricycles are ubiquitous in the Philippines.

  • Sep 252009

    Dispatch From Manila

    I am an American journalist here in the Philippines to work on a ground-breaking media project involving the poorest of the poor. I’d like to tell you about it. But I’d be lying if I said I was here only as an altruist. I’m also here for selfish reasons: to experience life in the country where I was born.

  • Aug 202009

    Dispatch From Dipolog

    I was expecting a city of shanties. A sprawling ghetto. A legion of beggars stumbling around a sagging town square. But I found none of these things in Dipolog City, the capital of Zamboanga del Norte, said to be the poorest province in the Philippines.

    What I found instead during a recent visit to this city of 120,000 in western Mindanao was a prim, progressive place, full of bustle and ambition and a fair number of residents mystified by their province's number-one ranking on the poverty list.

    "Yes we are poor but not that poor," I heard over and over again.

  • Aug 172009

    A Visit to the Middle of Nowhere

    This past week I traveled to the geographic center of the Philippines, Masbate, one of the wildest and poorest places in this poor and unruly nation. I met with widows of murder victims, with fish-less fisherfolk and destitute gold miners. I met with a governor who, though nice enough, seemed to take pride in being clueless. “I’m not even from Masbate,” said Governor Elisa Kho. “I’m from Marikina!”

    Sad, rugged, dusty place, Masbate. But a handful of individuals there gave me hope for the province, the country. They inspired me. All were journalists.

  • Jun 192009

    First days in the Philippines

    Hello all. My name is Alex Tizon. I’m the new Knight Fellow in Manila, Philippines, and I arrived here May 21, after a 21-hour voyage, late on a muggy Thursday night. I guess all days and nights are muggy here. It only took me a few days to remember that.