6 schools launch community journalism network in UST

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Photo by Kevin A. Alabaso

JOURNALISM professors and students from six journalism schools launched last week a network for civic and community journalism aimed at highlighting local stories and voices often ignored by the mainstream media.

The network will have an online platform to disseminate stories and videos on a weekly, if not daily basis, and will adhere to journalistic standards, said Felipe Salvosa II, UST journalism coordinator.

The Commission on Higher Education’s recognition of UST as a Center of Development in journalism gave the University’s journalism program the opportunity to reach out to other journalism schools, he said.

“We are not going to compete with the mainstream. We are not going to be a campus paper. And we are not going to do public relations for local governments or for our schools. We need to do honest-to-goodness journalism, observe ethical standards if we want to be taken seriously,” he said during the network’s launch last Feb. 22.

The inaugural members of the network are the University of the East Journalism Society, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Bulacan State University and its student publication Pacesetter, Lyceum of the Philippines University, and the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Manila.

The six schools signed a “Manifesto of Commitment” to civic and community journalism and agreed to meet annually to sustain the project.

It was the first time journalism societies from various universities met under one roof for a collaborative effort, Salvosa noted.

The launching featured a series of lectures, with Crispin Maslog, founding director of the Silliman University journalism and communication school and chairman of the Asian Media Information and Communication Center, delivering the keynote address.

Other speakers were former Batangas Press Club president Joenald Rayos and Alwyn Alburo, executive producer at GMA News.

The network’s guidelines were drafted by Leo Laparan II, journalism instructor in UST and Letran.

Heads of journalism societies said it was timely to launch a community news website as it would help improve journalism education in the country.

“The new website is a great opportunity [to learn] about community journalism and online writing,” Francis Felix Falgui, president of Lyceum’s Journalism Society, said.

“As [journalism students], we are dealing with real issues and not theoretical examples anymore. [It] could be a training ground for us,” said Carlo Ventura, president of Bulacan State University’s journalism society.

Francheska Viernes, student co-project head, said the UST Journalism Society wanted to link with other journalism societies.

“It is a new take on the usual news reportage of students because with this, they will be able to develop a nose for news and they will be able to be the voice for the voiceless,” Viernes told the Varsitarian in an interview.

Giselle Ombay, student project head, said the network would reach out to more journalism schools this year. Julia Claire L. Medina

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