University University Feature

On shooting media projects: Gaining a clearer perspective of STRATCOM’s policy

Incidents of security personnel stopping students from producing visual materials, specifically shooting videos on campus, and demanding for a permit from the Office of Strategic Communications (STRATCOM) have grown in number since a help desk announcement detailing the University’s new media request policy was released on September 8 this year.

A message from STRATCOM, disseminated through the Office of the Chancellor, reminded University stakeholders that “all requests for print, broadcast, radio, and online media interviews and photo or video coverage held inside the University premises should be coursed through and cleared by STRATCOM.”

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Student limitations

Given the number of media projects lined up as class outputs for students under the Communication program, the policy has led Communication majors to speak about their experiences in shooting videos or photos as part of their academic requirements.

Sofia Onte (II, AB-OCM) recounts her experience of being stopped by a guard at the Learning Commons for filming a project as a requirement for a major subject. She mentions that she was not aware of the policy, which prompted her to look for another venue for filming outside campus. “I would opt not to film inside the campus, for securing a permit can consume a large chunk of time,” she expresses, suggesting that in the future the policy proponents should consider online securing of permit as an option.

On the other hand, Ben* (II, AB-OCM) was familiar with the policy yet his project shooting was still cut short by a guard along Agno Street, even with the presence of his professor. He voices out that securing a permit can be inconvenient as STRATCOM’s office is located on the 21st floor of Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall.

Such scenarios have led some students to film along hallways where there are fewer guards present. Malagant Escudero (III, AB-OCM) shares that when a security guard interrupted his video shoot at the Henry Sy Sr. Hall grounds, he was asked for a permit and was told it was “against the rules to shoot videos in campus.”


On censorship and uniformity

When asked about the advantages that the policy can give to students, Department of Communication Chair Gerardo Mariano highlights that the University, as the direct beneficiary of the policy, will be able to establish a greater sense of harmony among the Lasallian community. He remarks, “The students will benefit because there is going to be a uniform identity.”

Mariano notes that the rule is more of a matter of coordination. He further elaborates that the policy is not meant to censor and limit students from communicating their views on certain matters, but, to a greater extent, monitor students’ media requests.

Mariano states that STRATCOM did not consult with his department regarding the policy primarily because STRATCOM does not have any obligation to since the Communication Department is a teaching department.


A misunderstanding

STRATCOM Director for Operations Johannes Badillo and Internal Marketing and Merchandise Coordinator Jill Legaspi clarify that the “Media Requests” policy is only put in place for media organizations from outside the University who come to the campus to cover events in the University, or to interview faculty members, students, or any member of the Lasallian community. According to Badillo and Legaspi, the policy is put in place to ensure that University is protected from being used for any agenda which is not within its vision mission.

STRATCOM expounds that the clearance sought from STRATCOM by external media organizations must be imposed for three reasons. First, in the case of interviewing members of the Lasallian community, the clearance is needed to ensure that the media outlet seeking for an interview is asking for the right person authorized to speak on the matter. Badillo explains that determining whether the topic of the interview matches with the faculty member or the student’s expertise is one way to maintain the credibility of DLSU.

Second, for covering events inside the University, STRATCOM must guarantee that the footage gathered by external media will not be a misrepresentation of the stands, beliefs, and image of the University to the public. Also, STRATCOM certifies that any material taken within and about DLSU must not violate the non-commercialization policy enforced by the University.


Confusion among offices

Badillo and Legaspi express their bewilderment when more students were coming to the STRATCOM office to ask permission to shoot materials within the University for class projects.

Badillo stresses that STRATCOM is only in charge of monitoring external media outlets coming in to the University, and that the office does not hold any authority regarding student media coverages and media productions for academic purposes within DLSU. These functions are under the jurisdiction of the Student Media Office and the academic departments concerned, respectively.

After learning about incidents that students were prevented by campus security to shoot, Badillo figures that the Security Office were probably “over-eager” to implement the policy in its strictest sense. It was not initially made clear that the permission to be sought from STRATCOM was only applicable for external media organizations.

Legaspi reported, however, that STRATCOM already had a meeting with the Security Office to smooth out the confusions regarding this policy and will release another statement to be sent through another help desk announcement starting next term.


A shared responsibility

Legaspi, although not questioning the intentions of the students’ reasons to shoot inside the campus, reminds the entire Lasallian community that everyone is responsible for maintaining and upholding the image of the University. “Keeping the [integrity of the University’s] name is a shared responsibility,” she highlights.

To prevent the inconvenience of being halted from shooting within the campus, STRATCOM proposes that academic departments who assign media production projects coordinate with the Security Office and inform the office about such activities. Meanwhile, for student media organizations in the University, Badillo suggests that students wear their official press IDs when covering an event to avoid, if ever there would be any, interferences from the security personnel in the campus.


* Name was changed.

Jill Chua

By Jill Chua

Debrah Louise Tabaquero

By Debrah Louise Tabaquero

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