The current generation has always seemed interested in the idea of creating something out of nothing. We were raised to believe that we are bound to create our own world, a world which has interconnectivity as a norm and involvement as a practice—for now, we have media as a starting point. Sadly, the negative connotations surrounding media, such as biased views and false dissemination of information, have degraded one of its main purposes, which is to give people a say.
Team Communication’s 2nd Communication Conference was held last July 30, 2016, at the Tereso Yuchengco Auditorium with the theme of ‘Revolutionizing the Future of Media.’ Given the opportunity to attend this event, I geared up for the basics of media work—knowing how to edit, conceptualize, and other similar ideas. The moment the event began, however, my perspectives toward the field that I have always loved were not only challenged, but altogether broadened.
Making a difference
The event began with a set of plenary speakers who showcased their missions and visions, which are not commonly recognized and given due credit in their line of work. The auditorium was packed with a crowd composed of mostly high school students, college students, and fresh graduates, however, which meant the speakers would be able to educate and inspire inquisitive and passionate young bloods with their experiences.
The first speaker was Maria Ressa, CEO of Rappler, the website that’s been everywhere on social media with its variety of opinions, breaking news, and features. Ressa shared how certain elements of the website, such as the mood meter, give everyone the opportunity to voice out their thoughts. The website itself advocates and supports citizen journalism and reports from social media, through which the people behind Rappler are able to immediately respond. This involves calling for assistance during disasters, or even giving live updates during pressing issues in both national and international levels.
What surprised me the most, though, was Ressa’s application of Moore’s law, or in layman’s terms, an explosion of information. Ressa explained how she was tired of writing stories that weren’t able to make the necessary differences when it came to social stigmas, so she makes certain that everyone is aware, and that everyone takes part in recreating society through media and through the unseen intelligence of the youth.
Afterwards, independent filmmaker Ellen Marfil shared how she took a leap of faith, transitioning from her former field towards filmmaking. She believes that there is a humanistic sense beyond the cinematic lens, especially with film as one of the most popular forms of media. I couldn’t help but agree with her sentiments. A good movie, blockbuster or not, holds the capability of touching one’s heart. It is more than just a means for entertainment, more than just a compilation of scripts and sketches.
The impact and inspiration radiated by the speakers continued, as David Guerrero, chairperson of BBDO Guerrero, turned the tables to advertising. In the Philippines, we usually see advertisements that are crafted musically, satirically, or dramatically, with only a few purpose-driven commercials. Guerrero emphasized the need to ceaselessly present ideas since every single day is a race in advertising, but he also noted that despite the competition, we should never forget to do things for a purpose—most especially when lives are entailed.
The transition of the discussion topic from passion to work ethic was quite swift. John Nery, editor in chief of Inquirer.net, focused on how Filipinos should be engaged in online media. The prevalence of online users in the Philippines is no longer a surprise, but instead of just letting people engage lethargically and irresponsibly, Nery’s aim, similar to that of Ressa, is to entice active participation in social media as a way to pay it forward.
Finally, JR Dela Cerna from ABS-CBN capped off the first part of the event. Dela Cerna’s approach was quite unique since he was able to make use of science in order to relate the significance of virality in media to the audience. He remarked that any interaction and action on the online platform can be quantified nowadays due to the presence of analytics and trackers. These numbers are not only used for the sake of profit, but also to gather information regarding what each netizen wants to be informed about.
Revolutionizing the future
That was quite a lot of information to process for one morning, but I remained excited to attend the breakout sessions with other professionals.
The conference’s breakout sessions consisted of seminars tackling print and online publishing, editing wedding videos, mobile journalism, use of panorama cameras, and other similar topics. I personally chose print and online, hosted by speaker Denison Dalupang, a writer for The Philippine Star. We were taught how to frame articles, how to make catchy titles, and how to have a mastered writing style. Dalupang claimed to have only taught the basic tenets of journalism, but he seemed to have been able to impart much more.
I went home that day awestruck, yet more than ready to brave the mess that we have been hurtling towards for several years. The conference was all about ‘Revolutionizing the Future of Media,’ and when we think of revolutions, they have always conjured up images of fights and violence. But the way I see it, revolutions don’t have to constitute shouting or an enormous mass of angry people. They also push forth the creation of something tangible from absolute nothingness—a single camera lens, a lengthy script, a data-gathering device, a tweet, an article—the list goes on and on.