Top 3 Participatory Development Journalism Strategies applicable in the Philippine Context

by Chicco Carmona

For the past two laboratory meetings, several cases were presented in class. In my group’s case, India was assigned to us. The readings showed a comprehensive description of the Participatory Development Journalism situation in India. For me, that one country was informative enough. How helpful it would be if situationers of other countries were presented. With this in mind, seeing Participatory Development Journalism applied in several other nations and communities was enough input for our class to formulate practical frameworks that could be applicable in the local context. Let’s see how these frameworks could be applied to the Organic Farming community of Barangay Bagong Silang.

1. The Virtudes & Hemedes Framework

One of the frameworks that I found plausible to be applied in the local context was the framework  of Sofia Virtudes and Camille Hemedes. Their concept focuses on the absence of the facilitator. Its aim was to emphasize the active participation and involvement of the stakeholders in the whole process given that the facilitators would only have minimal involvement in aiding them throughout the process.

In the case of the Organic Farming community of Barangay Bagong Silang, introducing them to vocational workshops on news writing  would be a very logical step in beginning the participatory process in development journalism. The next step would be the gathering of volunteers. This is important because participation is best when done voluntarily. Eventually, the story production will begin with the aim of being able to broadcast their stories and issues on livelihood.

Given that this is a cycle, it will inevitably repeat the process with the hope that the first batch of farmers who attended the writing workshops will be the ones to eventually facilitate the second batch of farmers.

2. The Nisperos and Layson Framework

The second framework that can realistically be applied to my group’s assigned community was the framework formulated by Adriel Nisperos and Riz Layson. The process will begin with the staff’s engagement with the leaders involved with the Organic Farming community of Barangay Bagong Silang. Given the assumption that the community leaders would provide full cooperation to, for example LB Times, the leaders would then relay the issues and concerns the community members may want to raise. After the community leaders have met up with its members, the leaders may now meet back with the LB Times staff to project an overview of the primary issues and concerns that the community members would like to be published and broadcasted.

After the complex process of pass the message, the staff may now meet up personally with the community members to conduct discussions of how the community newspaper could be beneficial to them. Similar to the Virtudes and Hemedes Framework, writing workshops will also be conducted. This is in order for the staff to collate and prioritize the stories which the members wish to be seen on the newspaper. Eventually, final touches would be done through the staff’s editing of the stories. To clarify, the writing sessions do not hold onto the assumption that the community members, specifically the Organic Farmers of Barangay Bagong Silang, have no experience in news writing. These workshops are only necessary to enhance the basic skills that they already have.

3. The PPP (Public-Private Partnership) Approach

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The final framework I also found appropriate to our assigned community would be the approach formulated by my partner Aira Pagaduan. The PPP Approach or the Public-Private Partnership approach focuses on the need for the public sector to create partnerships with the private sector in order to fulfill the necessary steps needed to achieve the goals set by the public sector. Funding from the private sector is greatly beneficial to community radio stations so long as conflicts of interest will not occur. Not worrying about funding and resources would mean more time in prioritizing the primary issues and concerns of the Organic Farmers of Barangay Bagong Silang.

The revised approach Aira and I created presents how these issues and concerns may be prioritized. This is through the conversion of tradional studio-based community radio programs into field-based community radio programs. This is where participatory development journalism is seen to occur the most. The engagement of not only the community radio program staff are presented but also the involvement of the organic farmers as well.

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