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The McLuhan lectures on responsible journalism


UNIVERSITY students in mass communications/journalism can gain much from experienced media people themselves, particularly those who keep to responsible journalism. Universities offering these courses would do society a great service, to the whole world, in fact, to hone these future media practitioners stick to genuine journalism tenets. Universities should strive to have their students learn from multi-awarded journalists.

Journalism’s purpose is providing people with verified information, that is, useful to decision-making. The value of journalism is from its very purpose — to provide people not just with the 5 Ws (the what, who, where, when and why) and 1H (How) but that these Ws and H have been faithfully verified. As a source puts it, journalism as a “discipline of verification” is “not just the facts,” but also the “truth about the facts.” <https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/journalism-essentials/what-is-journalism/>

Marshall McLuhan (1911–1980). Marshall McLuhan was a Canadian philosopher, a communication theorist, whose work is one of the cornerstones of media theory study. “His studies of mass media effects on thought and behavior became internationally famous during the 1960s.” He is credited to have coined the term “global village” (in 1964) “to describe the phenomenon of the world’s culture shrinking and expanding at the same time due to pervasive technological advances that allow for instantaneous sharing of culture” (Johnson 192).

Marshall McLuhan Fellowship. Commemorating his legacy to the journalism world, “the Marshall McLuhan Fellowship is the flagship public diplomacy initiative of the Embassy of Canada in the Philippines. “Launched in 1997, the Fellowship is part of the Embassy’s advocacy to encourage responsible journalism in the Philippines with the belief that a strong media is essential to a strong, democratic society.” <www.asiapacific.ca › events › journalism-time-haiyan-evolving-role-c.> Annually, “the Manila-based Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility assists the Embassy in choosing a Filipino journalist who has either published an outstanding piece of investigative reporting or possesses a collective body of journalistic work that contributes to positive change in the social arena or has raised the level of public discourse on an important issue.” <www.facebook.com › CanEmbPH › photos › the-embassys-mcluhan-f..>. “The recipient undertakes a two-week program in Canada to interact with media counterparts and to discuss significant current issues on governance with Canadian government officials, academics, and members of civil society. The recipient also has the opportunity to sit as a Fellow at the University of Toronto’s McLuhan Centre.” The Canadian Embassy organizes a series of forums in several cities to enable the returning journalist share experiences in Canada with students of communication and members of the local and community media. “The Sun Life Financial Inc. has been the Embassy’s partner in this initiative by providing funding to the recipient’s travel to Canada since 2007.” <www.facebook.com › CanEmbPH › photos › the-embassys-mcluhan-f..>.

The Lecturers. A great favor from the Canadian Embassy’s Public Affairs Attache Mr. Carlo Figueroa for Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) audiences, especially that Mindanao is far from the Philippine capital, is the hosting by Liceo de Cagayan University in Cagayan de Oro City of these multi-awarded McLuhan fellows. In all the lectures, the host university located in the Region 10 capital city, ensured that mass communication students, faculty members and practitioners composed the majority of the audience of a hundred and more.

The lecture series began in 2007 with McLuhan awardee Ma. Teresa Bacalla who talked on investigative journalism. She was training director of the Philippine Press Institute and is a member of VERA Files — a nonprofit online news organization in the Philippines focusing on investigative journalism and in-depth reporting of Philippine social issues.

In 2009, Glenda Gloria of the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) chief operating officer and one of the most highly regarded print journalists today discussed “Engaging the Media with New Technology.” Ms. Gloria is a master’s degree alumna of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

In 2011, Ed Lingao, multi-media director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) described the Changing Dynamics of the Role of Media in Society in “The Messenger as Victim and Shooter: From Maguindanao to Manila — the unusual phenomena of media’s role in the Philippines.”

In 2015, Joseph Morong, senior reporter for GMA Network Inc. discussed “The Narrative of Peace of the Bangsa Moro, sharing his insights to the audience on communicating the message of the Bangsamoro Peace Process especially to audiences outside Mindanao in the context of the 2016 elections.

In 2017, Gigi Grande, popular among Mindanao news buffs, focused on “Journalism in Challenging Times: Media as guardians of democracy and watchdog of society.” Ms. Grande is news editor and reporter of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. and correspondent for ABS-CBN’s Investigative Research group.

Last year’s speaker Patricia Evangelista, award-winning multimedia journalist for the online news organization Rappler, focused her lecture on “Covering Trauma: Reporting for the Imagination.” How does one report on traumatic events minus the reporter’s bias and how should journalists approach victims of trauma? Her outstanding documentaries and long-form multimedia reportage of various human rights issues (victims of trauma, natural disasters, sexual violence, and the drug war) brought her international acclaim and recognition, such as The Kate Webb Prize for exceptional journalism in dangerous conditions (on armed conflict), the Agence France-Presse for the Super Typhoon “Yolanda” aftermath report, two New York Festivals medals for her documentary work, and the Hong Kong Human Rights Press Awards, the Society of Publishers in Asia, and the Global Investigative Journalism Network awards for her “The Impunity Series” — about the Philippine government’s anti-narcotics campaign.

Thanks indeed, Mr. Carlo Figueroa and to the Canadian Embassy for this great privilege!

Email: ttumapon@liceo.edu.ph


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