Campus journalism status: On-line

by Mark Dave M. Balmilero

Competitions at different levels have considerably affected contact hours of teachers and students for the past years. Rigorous trainings and workshops, intensive reviews and series of practices require both teacher trainers and student contestants to leave the classroom, thus affecting both the teaching and learning process.

Winning is an achievement but the process of attaining it entails sacrifices. Should classes be sacrificed? Isn’t it possible to have “the best of both worlds?”

The Department of Education (DepEd) plans to hold School Press Conferences online, from the Division up to the National Level, starting this incoming school year 2012-2013, an alternative that will surely preserve students’ freedom of expression while promoting digital literacy.

Several competitions have been omitted due to the issue of contact hours. However, Schools Press Conference is exempted for the fact that: (1) it serves as a means to strengthen the ethical values of people; (2) it encourages the creative and critical thinking of the Filipino youth; and (3) it helps in developing the personal discipline and moral character of the young. Add the benefit of holding it online: it prepares our journalists for the Digital Age!

In our present “fast-paced” world dominated by flourishing technology breakthroughs, almost anything can be done in just a snap of the finger. Yet, one should have a lot of knowledge on how to use these digital tools and gadgets.

How then can campus journalism promote digital literacy? Consider these:

The traditional way of gathering information can be tiring even to committed journalists but with knowledge in accessing the internet, relevant information can now be gathered, evaluated and organized, anytime, anywhere. Submission of articles would be easier and would not be time-consuming. Thus the chances of publishing (virtually)the schoolpaper on time would be greater.Lay-outing and drawing are made easier using softwares specifically developed for these purposes. In need of catchy photos as backgrounds? Just access websites which offer a large storage of images. How would you let others know about your school? Uploading and networking will do the trick. Information will be shared at a faster rate and at a wider scope.

However, being a digital literate should carry with it the principles of journalism. Social networking sites can build strong connections the way it can also break friendship. Freedom of the press does not entail publishing whatever one wants to be printed out. How many friendships were broken and word wars ensued via the net? All of these boil down to the lack of ethics on journalism. The internet has been used as a freedom wall where one can “freely” post his angst, express one’s violent feelings and even destroy the image of a person through nasty comments.

Digital literacy does not only mean the skill in accessing information but also the ability to evaluate the information before circulating it out.

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