In last week’s activity, pairs came up with participatory development journalism strategies, which were based on their assigned cases, that may be applicable in the Philippine setting. The strategies suggested were all considerable; each having its own edge over the other. However, putting into context our identified community, Bagong Silang, and the assigned theme, organic farming, I picked the three models that I think would best fit the puzzle.
Hemedes and Virtudes’ Model
Having my fair share of contributions to this model, I can say that the strategy we suggested is ideal in the context of our case. First point, participatory development journalism (PDJ) was well-illustrated; we wanted to eliminate the borderline between the journalists and the stakeholders. We see the stakeholders as the main component of the process, the most active in most of its stages.
We also considered their knowledge and skills in the journalism field. If we let the stakeholders produce their own stories without having the slightest hint of how to make the story, then that is not a practice of PDJ, rather of citizen journalism. This is where the workshop or training becomes essential. We certainly do not want our soldiers to go to war without arming them with weapons.
Volunteering is also emphasized in the model. No good output can come out from forcing farmers to write if they do not want to, especially since they are not professional writers. Moreover, farmers can be encouraged to volunteer through explaining to them the advantages of telling their stories, such as forwarding their concerns to higher authorities.
Although a writing/production team is not given place in the model, it does not mean that they are completely absent in the process. The idea here is that their intervention should be kept to a minimum. An example that would illustrate this would be in copyreading. Whether amateur or professional, stories written would certainly not come out as good in the first output as it would in the following drafts. Here writers can lend a hand to the Bagong Silang farmers by assisting in editing their stories and by giving suggestions on how to improve the stories.
Nisperos and Layson’s Model
Based on my experiences in previous DevCom courses, gaining the trust of the community members is not as simple as it sounds. I find this strategy ideal because the community leaders help the staff reach out to the members. The leaders’ credibility and the members’ familiarity with them are what make the strategy effective.
Although it was not specified in the model if the term “community leaders” refers and only refers to the local government unit (LGU), I would prefer a broader scope of the said term. It would be more ideal for me if “community leaders” include the local farmers’ leader or representative and community household representatives (if the community has any).
Despite the unilinear framework, it was explained that the staff is not limited to talking to the community leaders only; they can also directly communicate with the members through the help of the leaders. An ideal example for this, considering our community and theme, is probably a meeting with the members. The staff first coordinates with the leaders; the leaders talk to the members regarding meeting with the staff; the members, trusting their leaders, agree to meet with the staff.
Reyes and Abao’s Model
I found this model ideal because it emphasized the two-way exchange between the production team and the community, which implies the consideration of feedback. Feedback is essential so the production team would be able to hear out what the community may say about the stories. This can help improve the stories, clarify issues that may be miscommunicated in the story, determine whether or not they are satisfied with the story, and even probably engage in constructive discourse.
A good example for this would be a story that talks about malpractices of Bagong Silang farmers in their craft, and one of which turns out to be an allegation, then the community members will be able to clear the issue through the feedback mechanism.
Also, the development sectors were well-represented by correspondents in the model. Their partnership with the editorial committee to make up the production team makes telling community stories more efficiently.