THIS year’s USTV Student’s Choice Awards (USTv) have slightly revised the criteria and categories to better promote Christian values in television programming.

The most significant change is the top award. In the last two years, the television station that got the most number of awards was named Station of the Year. But this year, the top award will be the “Television with the Most Youth-Responsible Programming,” said Benjamin Reodica, president of the Student Organizations Coordinating Council (SOCC), among several campus organizations helping organized the awards under the Office of the UST Secretary-General.

By focusing on “youth-responsible” television programming, the awards seek to encourage stations to come up with “family-oriented” programs to deepen the Catholic values of young audiences, organizers said.

The criteria have remained the same, but more weight will be given to “significant content”. Technical or formal criteria (“excellence in craft” and “originality”) will have 40 percent while content (“promotion of Christian values” and “reflection of Thomasian vision of truth in charity”) will have 60 percent.

Two new awards have been added.

The Students Choice of Catholic program seeks to encourage young people to patronize Catholic broadcasting and support efforts of television stations to produce Catholic-oriented programs.

Another new category, Students’ Choice of Animated Program, seeks to encourage Christian values in animated short features.

All of the categories will be under two general divisions—Information and Entertainment. The divisions will be presided over by jurors from the professional media and campus organizations such as the Varsitarian, UST Journalism Society, UST Communication Arts Student Association and Mediartrix.

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Varsitarian adviser and Philippine Daily Inquirer editor Lito Zulueta will chair the Information division while Communication Arts professor Arsenio Salandanan will chair the Entertainment division.

Organizers said the two divisions have been made to discourage “infotainment,” the tendency of television programming today to blur the distinction between news and public affairs programming and entertainment programming, with the latter often gaining the upper hand because of its profit-orientation.

Only one “Students’ Choice for News and Public Affairs Hosting” will be named, regardless of gender. And the Students’ Choice for Entertainment News Program will fall under the Information division, to discourage the tendency of entertainment news shows to deteriorate into arenas for rumor-mongering and crass entertainment.

Under the Information division are the Students’ Choices of News Program, Public Affairs Program, News and Public Affairs Host, Documentary Program, Magazine Program, Entertainment News Program, Educational Program, and Catholic Program.

Under the Entertainment Division are the Students’ Choices of Variety Program Situational Comedy, Drama Anthology, Drama Mini-Series (daily local soap opera), Foreign Soap Opera, Actor in a Drama Mini-Series, Actress in a Drama Mini-Series, Reality TV, Full Animated Program, and Music Video.

Reodica said the Institute of Religion will facilitate the voting in Theology classes campus-wide.

The Third USTV Awards kicked off last September with a variety program featuring singer Christian Bautista and a series of orientation lectures for all of the University’s class presidents, campus advisers, and Theology teachers.

Nominations for USTV Student’s Choice candidates will start this month. The awarding ceremonies are set tentatively on Jan. 30 next year. Kristine Jane Liu and Rafael Mejia

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