UPV and ISAT-U Miagao collaborate to advance citizen journalism

The University of the Philippines Visayas’ The Western Visayas Portal (TWVP) and Iloilo Science and Technology University – Miagao Campus’ The Techno Forum joined forces in a workshop titled “Tingog Mo, Tingog Ko: A Basic Citizen Journalism Workshop on Using Social Media for Social Good” on May 20, 2024 at the ISAT-U Hostel.

The seminar aimed to empower campus and citizen journalists to leverage their skills and social media platforms to serve the public and champion truth. It also sought to prepare citizen journalists for the critical role of reporting during the upcoming 2025 elections.

Dr. Zoilo S. Andrada, Jr., founder and adviser of The Western Visayas Portal, highlighted the responsibilities of campus and citizen journalists in covering elections and understanding social media algorithms, which significantly impact information flow and democracy.

Discussion Highlights

The TWVP staff provided extensive training to The Techno Forum’s 30 participants on various aspects of election-related journalism, including voter education, news writing, digital content creation, scriptwriting for digital broadcasting, civic engagement through social media, and fact-checking.

Lara Grace Palay, TWVP editor-in-chief, emphasized the media’s role as the fourth estate in safeguarding democracy.

“I’d like to emphasize our role as journalists, as media, in being the checks and balances of the government especially that today our democracy is at risk,” she stated.

TWVP Copy Editors Kobe Patrick Serinas and Jannelle Rellin discussed digital content generation, stressing the importance of adapting content to different social media platforms while maintaining journalistic integrity. “We must balance perspectives and remain fair in our content,” Serinas noted.

Jasmine Kris Caleza and Ma. Louiela Mataac, TWVP layout artists, conducted a refresher on news writing, particularly during election seasons. Caleza underscored the necessity for journalists to be well-versed in election-related legislation and activities to keep the public informed.

Mike Joshua Garmillos, associate editor, and Chikki Villanueva, copy editor, addressed the significance of digital journalism and scriptwriting for broadcasting and social media. They concluded their session by stressing the importance of using digital platforms to convey impactful, truthful, and unbiased messages.

Associate Editor Josine Elinor Luison discussed the impact of social media algorithms and the critical need for fact-checking in the digital age. “With fake news easily swaying public opinion, fact-checking is crucial,” Luison emphasized.

Dr. Andrada concluded by discussing the importance of fact-checking amid widespread disinformation, particularly during elections. He advised participants to be responsible storytellers, ensuring accuracy and trustworthiness in their narratives.

Workshop Activity

In the afternoon session, participants from The Techno Forum engaged in a practical workshop, applying their skills in news writing, digital content creation, live reporting, and fact-checking to real-life scenarios.

“We are very grateful to The Western Visayas Portal for this partnership and the valuable lessons shared. This collaboration strengthens our commitment to responsible journalism and better equips us to serve the public,” said Julius Jose Borjal, The Techno Forum’s editor-in-chief.

“This collaborative event marks the beginning of a strong partnership between UPV and ISAT-U in promoting informed communities and empowering journalists,” said Dr. Loriedee Bentula, Chair, Board of Advisers, The Techno Forum and Head, Office of Instruction, ISAT-U Miagao Campus.

The two Universities are set to launch digital journalism guidelines for adoption by regional universities and organizations.

“Tingog Mo, Tingog Ko” is one of the major activities in empowering campus and citizen journalists as part of the MOU signed by Dr. Zoilo Andrada Jr. representing UP Visayas as the first FactsFirstPH organization outside Metro Manila and Gemma Mendoza representing Rappler last October 2023.

The Western Visayas Portal is the official publication of the CMS 135 class, under the Communication and Media Studies program of the Division of Humanities, College of Arts and Science, UPV. The course aims to develop students’ abilities to critically evaluate and responsibly publish information on social media. (Ms. Lara Grace Palay with reports from TWVP staff)

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