by Rudy P. Parel Jr.
To explore partnerships with community institutions, the Los Baños Times (LB Times), managed by the Department of Development Journalism (DDJ) of the College of Development Communication (CDC), held a two-day Community Partners’ Training on the Basics of Media and Information Literacy (MIL) and Social Media Management (SMM) on 29-30 June 2021 via Zoom.
More than one hundred participants, who are mostly information officers and staff members, registered for the training. Key Los Baños institutions participated in the training, particularly, the Municipal Government of Los Baños (through the Municipal Public Information Office) and the 22 member agencies of the Los Baños Science Community Foundation Inc. (LBSCFI). UPLB colleges and institutes, such as the College of Agriculture and Food Science (CAFS), as well as executive offices, such as the Office of Public Relations-Office of the Chancellor (OPR-OC) and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs (OVCCA), also participated in the training.
Aside from capacitating these institutions on basic journalism concepts and skills, the training also aimed to introduce LB Times to them and engage them to become correspondents of the multimedia news platform
The speaker for MIL was Julliano Fernando “Jules” A. Guiang. As the Head of Community at Rappler, he manages, Move.PH, Rappler’s civic engagement arm. As a youth advocate, he also serves as the Founder and Board Chair of both 2030 Youth Force in the Philippines and the National Alliance of Youth Leaders Inc.
On the other hand, the speaker for SMM was Ms. Darla Mae Hasan, a BS Development Communication alumna from CDC. She is a social media and freelancing coach at her own platform called Freelancing Babe, where she offers social media management bootcamps and other digital marketing trainings to aspiring freelancers.
On the first day of the training, Guiang talked about media concepts, including MIL, journalism, roles and forms of media, and types of mass communication, and social media use in the Philippines. He ended his talk with a call to action for a productive call-out culture and being responsible social media users online.
On the second day, Hasan’s discussion was on the effective and efficient management of social media platforms, by unlocking and taking advantage of their algorithms, to enhance institutions’ online visibility, allowing them to reach their intended stakeholders.
The first day of the training also served as the opening ceremony, which was graced by Dr. Maria Stella C. Tirol, Dean of CDC. In her opening remarks, she mentioned that the event was meant to address the communication challenges caused by the pandemic, especially because community members, who are locked down in their homes for their safety, have become dependent on social media for news and information. She also emphasized that CDC, through LB Times, will continue to initiate programs that will involve community stakeholders, staying true to CDC’s participatory approach to development.
Meanwhile, in her welcoming remarks, Prof. Aletheia C. Araneta, chair of DDJ and program leader and editorial adviser of LB Times said that another aim of the training was to convene the different information personnel of institutions, so they can work together in providing factual and timely information to the community for the development of Los Baños.
Mr. Miguel Victor T. Durian, associate editor of LB Times and lead coordinator of the training, introduced the news outlets to the participants, including its projects, history, editorial board, editorial policies, and the multimedia platforms it manages.
Finally, Prof. Jyasmin M. Bautista-Calub, in her closing remarks delivered on the second day, expressed her appreciation to the resource speakers and all participants for making time to come to the event. She also hoped that the participants could apply their learnings in engaging with their own stakeholders and in collaborating with LB Times.
DDJ will also hold phase 2 of this community engagement activity during the latter part of 2021.