I am thankful to have been invited recently to discuss campus journalism with the teachers and students of two schools in Malaybalay City. It was a wonderful experience. I learned a lot from the opportunities. I hope those who attended also learned from me.
It has been a long time since I last updated this podium on campus journalism. There were other things more urgent to do, everyday.
But today I have to key in these points again, and again.
I know the limits of teachers handling journalism lessons. Journalism is a special skill for public school teachers, especially for those in the elementary level where one could be assigned to just any subject in any level. Especially in remote areas, specialization is not given much weight due to some factors like lack of teachers.
Since schools press conferences from the district to the national levels are inevitable because of the Campus Journalism Act of 1991, then school administrations should take note that teachers assigned to the task need orientation and training, too.
Maybe the stress of going through all the process begins with the choice of the right person to be assigned to the job.
I think another factor is continuity of a trained teacher to keep the position with all factors such as promotion, transfer, among others.
With a few years of dealing with teachers handling journalism tasks in school, I realized, and they admit to me, that many of them do not even receive basic orientation on the preparation of the school paper, its purpose, parts, and other technicalities. What more on obtaining the skill to do by themselves what campus journalism aspires the students to produce?
I cannot imagine how a Chemistry teacher would handle a class on base and acidity if he or she does not know what’s a litmus paper.
Building the capacity of teachers handling campus journalism is as important as sending representatives to the district and division level schools press conferences.
The Department of Education, because it has held the schools press conferences even before the Campus Journalism Act was passed, if I’m not mistaken, should have already put mechanisms to ensure this.
There are existing ways the assigned teachers use to cope with the demands of the job, like spending their own money to attend training. But many of these reasons impact on their willingness to bring the campus journalism experience to its full potential for learners.
For almost a decade, I had been pushing for a change in mindset; if the funds are limited to ensure more frequent editions of the school paper, then why not make monthly editions with one or two articles produced through coaching and constant practice. For most, school papers are limited because of this concept: that it has to be printed in full color, with at least 10 pages, with all the stories in tact. Maybe this adheres to some values – like it is readable with good presentation.
But sometimes, it also shows how we missed the point about it. School papers should be regularly published. Aside from the autonomy that writers should posses in its production, learners should realize that timeliness and relevance are among the universal principles that apply to school papers.
What more sensible use does the paper have if it is distributed only towards the end of classes? Souvenir?
Press freedom is at the core of the lessons learners should understand with the Campus Journalism Act – but that’s still too faraway in the outlook of the present situation, at least in the circles were I have encounters.
I had been suggesting inmy campus journalism sessions with different schools in Bukidnon and Davao City that there are economical and practical ways to ensure the students are able to practice journalism. Since 2002, I had been suggesting the use of “peryo-dikit” (peryodikong dinikit) if the school lacks budget.
Post learners’ work on the bulletin board, even in the rawest form of students hand writing!
What’s more important is they are able to practice the craft and their works are somehow “published” even in the simplest of form. It’s the content that matters.
Since 2004, I also suggested the use of the free blog spaces in cyberspace.
For teachers who did not receive proper orientation and training and who were unable to grasp the value of journalism in school, will find it extremely difficult to anticipate as a problem. Of course, there are other factors, that hinder them – not to exclude availability of time – when they are already overloaded.
These concerns are not entirely in the hands of individual schools. DepEd should look at this systematically. The department should assess how it pushes journalism education in all schools around the country. There are really concerns on the modules, methods of teaching, training of teachers, mode of publications and other strategies for practice. Even the use of resources and choice of judges, criteria, and competition rules in the schools press conferences are interesting minefields to dig for improvements.
Do students really learn the basic knowledge, skills, and attitudes the Campus Journalism Act want them to learn with the present way of campus journalism instruction and practice? Here, I think the need for lesson exemplars is practical. The department should explore the possibility of developing teaching modules for learners and trainers training for teachers.
Another minefield for discussion is the financial aspect of campus journalism and the schools press conferences. How much does DepEd and parents of press conference participants spend for the annual competitions nationwide? Do we even have an accounting? That’s another story.
I think one of the pivotal strategies that needed serious consideration is how to ensure that both mentors and learners have enough opportunities to practice the craft, not just discuss and illustrate the concept of campus journalism. The concept of campus journalism, too, appears to be outdated. Now, THE campus is no longer limited to the school premises, there is reason to believe that expanding the concept to community journalism – less academic, more relevant, more useful is already timely.
I have good reasons to suggest that DepEd should re-think its policies on campus journalism and allow local schools to initiate strategies as their share to the whole cause. Maybe it’s about time, too, to check if the 23 year old Campus Journalism Act still holds with reality.
Lastly, I would like to stress that these musings are my view of the way things are going. I defer to the wisdom of those who have come ahead of me and who have more authority on the subject. (Walter I. Balane)
The author is reporter of MindaNews and editor in chief of Bukidnon News.Net.
MALAYBALAY CITY – Authorities here have assured residents not to panic as there is no truth to the rumor circulating around town that children are being killed for their bodily organs to be transplanted to patients in need.
The latest of such rumors says that bodies of two children believed to be victims of child organ trafficking were dumped at Barangay Kalasungay here on Tuesday, prompting the Malaybalay City Federation of Parents Teachers Associations to warn parents not to be complacent and for the police to keep its guard.
Even the principal of the Malaybalay City Central School, the biggest elementary school here, called on her constituents to be careful even as the 3,399 pupils in her school have been all accounted for. Antonieta Reburiano also alerted her school’s security guards, this is according to MindaNews.
Please find my project presentation. I can’t log to my other blog so I pasted it here now. I’m sorry I failed to do a powerpoint presentation. Thanks.
I myself found the venue of my earlier writing energy in the school paper.
In most cases, however, the school paper is never really a sufficient training ground for young reporters and journalists.
With limited resources, most schools can afford to publish school papers only once or twice a year.
On the other hand, journalistic endeavors and creative juices of many young people are lured into “emotional” writings in personal journals.
That’s good for free expression. But what about a working free press?
It is about time to tap other resources for enterprising and idealistic student forces to tap campus journalism avenues like bulletin board journalism (periodikit) or pasa news.
But the techno savvy and capable can tap the new media also to launch blog type or weekly online versions of their school paper that could complement the role of the limited printed version.They can even tap the support of social networks to do this.
Somehow this improves the dynamism of campus press freedom and encourages younger writers to practice and learn early.
School administrators, teachers, and other educators are ought to give campus journalism a lift.
The schools could be a very good training ground or pool for future journalists or at least writers.
Some paper advisers, however, complained against carrying academic overloads.
The advisory role is viewed as an additional load that does not pay. In return, some of them do not give their all in working with the paper. Many of them concern themselves only on coming out with a single issue of the school paper with minimum or no coaching contacts anymore.
This is indeed a problem, which will especially surface if there are pupils and students who wanted to learn how to write or be part of the school paper.
There is a gap between the clamor for learning and the available opportunities to inspire young writers.
I have this opportunity to deal with school teachers whose job descriptions include advising the school paper staff.
According to them, their greatest problem is time management and also unit over load.
But the way I see it, skills development is at the core of the problem.
While the public expects the teachers to mentor the kids on campus journalism, some if not most of them lack the skills to write even the most basic form of journalistic practice, news writing.
The Philippines’ Department of Education must be able to integrate journalism in classes in a practical way, that is, by selecting and training the mentors so they, too, would be equipped.
The MindaNews’ Summer Institute of Journalism will offer a training module on “Journalism for non-journalists”.
The summer program will be held for the second year at the Ateneo de Davao University from May 4 to 27.
The module is designed for news practitioners who are not professional journalists.
It covers Basic News writing (News elements, characteristics, parts, structure, and tips), media ethics and challenges, and expectations of news desks on press releases.
The module will include a lecture, writing activities and other exercises, and critiquing.
Among the target audiences for this module are information officers of local governments and other government agencies, non-government organizations, private companies, and other organizations.
Teachers who are advising student publications in elementary and high school who did not have formal training on journalism may also enroll in the course.
There is a need for non-professional news practitioners to refresh regularly on reporting principles, and practice to upgrade their knowledge, skills, and attitude at work.
Many of the practitioners, especially teachers, work with the youth in informal training on news writing and other journalistic endeavors.
This module should help them stay attuned to the practices in the field and contribute to journalism education.