By IVAN LABAYNE
Part 2 (Click here for Part 1)
It is from the previously stated idea that advocacy campaigns like Move.ph can lend a big help to alternative journalists, particularly college publication members. It is important to stress the alternative framework from which the campus journalists are supposedly coming from.
In the traditional printed journalism, the campus publications uphold its alternativeness by offering a standpoint and analysis that is different from what the mainstream offers. Unlike its counterparts whose brand and practice of journalism is usually affected by commercial nature, student publications have no other interest to uphold but that of the students, commonly its sole publisher.
This alternativeness, aside from the tools of analysis and perspectives, is also exemplified by the selection of issues tackled in the campus paper. Campus papers should strive to cover issues that they deem most relevant and useful to the students and not just issues that are all-over the mainstream.
In that sense, the campus papers are at a marginalized position compared to mainstream. In the aspects of technical devices, scope of coverage and wideness of readership, campus publications are evidently not at par with the mainstream. This makes their impact and influence look limited and whatever alternative issue of analysis they forward will most likely be confined to the immediate community. Remarkably, Baguio is situated in the larger area of the Cordillera where a lot of indigenous people reside and where the issue of the marginalization of everything indigenous is very resounding.
Here, the campus publications in Baguio which is part of the Cordilleras, seem to be facing an extra-harder task. While as campus journalists they are already marginalized in the sense that they are not key players in the field of journalism, and as such, their voices will be heard in a smaller territory and impact and influence will be limited, they are likewise expected to reach the marginalized indigenous culture that is nourished in their immediate location – the Cordillera culture.
This scenario should only add a sense of imperative among student publications. And in the continual formations and contradictions of discourses in the society, the campus publication in the Cordillera must work double-time to make their voices hears – first, the voice of students who have their own plights and have their own perspectives on issues beyond the campus, and second, the voice of the indigenous Cordillera who is facing a subtle institutionalized marginalization as manifested by the issues they are confronting such as large-scale mining, displacement, cultural robbery, bastardization and commodification.
Tapping the social media for this purpose is a wise option.
Again, this is the flavor of the times. Next, while the most that campus publications can do in terms of printed journalism is a monthly issue (very few can comply to the strict demands of a weekly campus publication, one of them The Philippine Collegian), most of the mainstream publications are on a daily circulation. Aside from the present times being largely fascinated with the visual is its obsession with everything instant, quick, fast-paced. No wonder text messaging, instant foods, fast food chains, tweets among others are such hits. The same applies in journalism as well, we believe, and not just journalism, but the bigger and more complex activity of discursive formations and shaping (not to say, conditioning and controlling) mass opinion and behavior.
Campus journalism must maximize the emerging social media. They must be innovative and must strive to set trends in its playing within this trend in order to realize and continually extend its potentials not just in disseminating information but also offering alternative insights and perspectives to students and other audience alike. They must avail of the possibilities offered by social media and appropriate these in advancing their own issues and advocacies. For instance, in the nationally-coordinated strike held last Friday, the role social media played in informing, educating and eventually mobilizing cannot be discounted.
For one, the College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines launched strike lead in Facebook – a page solely dedicated to news releases, media advisories, news updates and other propaganda materials about the budget cut issue and the strike action. Also, a group named Kilos na Laban sa Budget Cuts was also created in the same social networking site where membership was open to all. In the group, similar updates, news releases, and press statements about the budget cut and the strike action were posted. Members were also encouraged to engage in discussions regarding the budget cut issue and education in general to make way for a more solidified and more united stand about the issue.
The recent Strike campaign against the budget cuts seems to foreshadow only the tip of the iceberg that is the potential of social media in inspiring a community to be more socially aware and politically involved. The campus publications now just need to figure out more ways to play around with this potential, devise more effective means for a more interactive and discursive feedback mechanism with members of the community and extend the audience that they can reach.
Once the people started biting on this trend, campus journalists should begin focusing on entertaining their initial involvement and push that involvement further. The ultimate goal, again, is to make them more informed about issues beyond the walls of the university and to prod them to a more concrete action. We have the tools now readily available, it is time to utilize them and ignite the numbed sensibilities and socio-political awareness and consciousness not just of the Baguio students and youth but the entire Baguio City. # nordis.net