After assessing all the approaches discussed in the laboratory class, I’ve realized that each framework has its own strengths and weaknesses. Just like theories and media, there is no one framework that can be applied to all situations.
In the case of the Los Baños Community where agriculture is a well-known business and activity, a large fraction of the population is composed of farmers and other livelihood related to farming.
The community has its own newspaper, LB Times, and educational programs aired through School-on-the-Air (SOA). Considering the resources, media availability, learners’ needs, and environment of the learners, here are my top 3 frameworks or approaches for participatory development journalism.
#1 PDJ Framework by Abao & Reyes (2016)
Among the five proposed frameworks of the class for the local setting, I find this framework one of the simplest and practical way to conduct participatory development journalism. Some are the following reasons:
- The Editorial Committee is not an elitist group where they were the only ones who dominate writing the stories.
- Sector correspondents are not separate group of writers. They are part of the development sector community as well as the editorial committee.
- Development Sectors are not considered as mere sources of information. They share their stories themselves and they are a part of the whole process of news production and publication.
- Feedback of the audience is sent to the team as a whole, not only on the editorial committee.
LB Times is the closest practice of this framework. Although the presence of the sector correspondents are not really necessary, the people can write their articles themselves and submit it to the editorial committee, who gatekeeps their stories in proper measures.
#2 PDJ Framework by Hemedes & Virtudes (2016)
This framework deserves to be on the top 3 since it highlights the empowerment of the stakeholders through workshops/vocational training, volunteering, story production, and broadcasting — activities which are said to be limited to those who studied by communication specialists alone.
This approach has opened the doors of stakeholders to many opportunities to enhance their skills while they share their own stories in the community. How is this framework empowering? Here are some of the reasons why:
- Learning an activity does not end in a single session alone. It is a cycle; thus, it is repeated until the stakeholders have sufficient experience to produce quality stories from their communities
- The framework specified how the stakeholders can be empowered. They are not limited to sharing their stories through writing alone. They participate in broadcast; thus, the stakeholders are more involved to various type of media.
(and the last slot goes to…)
#3 PDJ Framework by Nisperos and Layson (2016)
This framework is slightly similar to the framework of Abao and Reyes. However, this framework centralizes on how to produce stories (audience not really specified).
How does this framework made it to the top 3?
- It clearly emphasizes that community members hold the main roles in this approach.
- The staff here is not an elitist group. Community members can directly communicate with them.
- The framework highlights that the process of producing community stories with community members is not linear. (Staff doesn’t dictate what to do, they only facilitate and do gatekeeping.)
In the local context, community leaders can be seen as the cooperative leaders or the sector leaders which represents their group in meetings with the editorial staff. They know better than the correspondents sent by the staff since these leaders experience how the whole situation of their group. They can express better than any other correspondents the needs of the community they belong to.
There is no best framework, only appropriate ones depending on the situation. Just like how it is said that there is no one grand theory that applies for all, there is also no general framework that applies for all. Aside from the fact that the components involved are dynamic, we should also be open to the new possibilities that as time passes, preferences of people changes. As facilitators of participatory development journalism, we should aim to be flexible and adaptable to these changes.