A journalism training panel with GoodNewsPilipinas.com’s editor and visual media experts shared their expertise with coconut agriculturists of the Philippines’ CALABARZON Region to revitalize their pioneering newsletter project.
Good News Pilipinas Managing Editor Aurora Quadra-Balibay, media practitioner-teacher Kathryn Kagawan-Salvan, and photographer Kenneth Yaya, were invited by Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Region IV-A officials to conduct a workshop on news and feature writing, Adobe design layout, and photo editing on August 15-16, 2019.
The regional office of the PCA which covers the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon (CALABARZON) reached out to the media industry practitioners to help them improve their skills in enhancing the iCoConnect quarterly newsletter which has been piloted this year. The PCA leads the Philippines’ coconut industry which has recently been tapped to export young coconuts to China and welcomed by the United States market.
PCA CALABARZON’s Regional Manager Officer-in-Charge Attorney Andrew Ian Edrada said he wanted the workshop to help the coconut agriculturists who are not necessarily skilled in writing news reports about the coconut industry and its products in the style which would fit the newsletter.
iCoConnect Editor-in-Chief Engineer Edilberto Escobar revealed that the newsletter is the first regional newsletter for the PCA. The good reception of their first issue released in March, with the June issue up for release soon, has spurred the regional team to learn more about newsletter creation from media industry experts. Escobar also said the workshop would bring their skills and presentation at par with the digital age.
GoodNewsPilipinas.com’s Balibay, whose media practice spanning nearly 30 years involved her in radio, television, print, and more recently in online media, readily accepted the challenge and presented to the iCoConnect team gathered in Batangas, how their newsletter reports can appeal to a broader audience by writing in ways similar to how website news is written.
Balibay challenged the trainees to think of their audience first, go beyond technical reporting, and make their important stories interesting because the newsletter readers are also readers of news on the internet and social media.
“Your mindset should be, ‘What would it take for readers to keep reading my story?’ The answers are, make them news worthy topics, with grabber headlines, and content that people will find useful,” said Balibay who also had 14 years of experience teaching university media students.
Media practioner and teacher Kathryn Salvan, who is a guest professional lecturer at the Graphics Design and Multimedia Department in the College of Engineering and Architecture of De La Salle University-Dasmarinas shared to Good News Pilipinas, “We are just as enthusiastic to provide them with the skills to write stories and news articles, as well as learn from our experiences in the field of media.”
Salvan, who also teaches seminarian-students at the Saint Paul Seminary about communication media as part of their vocation to spread the Gospel, welcomed the challenge of training the coconut agriculturists who were more used to technical writing for reports. Salvan talked to the PCA team members about news production and design and lay-outing for their newsletter.
“Seeing how they transformed themselves while writing compelling articles, made us so moved that in such a short time we witnessed that change in them, in their outlook and their output. There is still room for improvement and we will be honoured to be part of that journey again,” added Salvan whose media experience spans some 40 years of private and government practice.
Photographer Kenneth Yaya taught the trainees how to shoot pictures to accompany their news reports. Yaya presented ways for the field workers to maximize lighting, finding appealing subjects, and proper framing even with the use of their mobile smartphones.
Good News Pilipinas also asked the coconut agriculturists at the training about what they have learned from the workshop.
PCA Quezon field worker Alyssa Leyda-Aldemo shared, “Ang talagang natandaan ko po dun yung IPPRIDE. When writing kailangan ilagay mo yung sarili mo as the reader para makita mo kung worth it ba yung pagbabasa nung article or not (What I remember is the IPPRIDE [news values acronym taught by Aurora Balibay]. You need to put yourself in the reader’s view so you can see what is worth telling).
“I’ll definitely apply it! Meron na po kaming prospective topic for the newsletter and the principles taught in the training served as our guide,” added Aldemo.
Marianne De Luna Maranan said, “What I learned most is yung pagsusulat and photography have something in common, kailangan you write and you capture things with ‘EMOTIONS’. I’ve realized na kapag susulat ka it depends upon, kung news letter po it needs to be precise, hindi paligoy ligoy, dapat short lang at may ‘DRAMA’ (When you write i needs to be precise, not beating around the bush, it has to be short but with drama).”
“Bilang isang writer with no background in writing basta passion lang po, I’m glad na marami pong nadagdag sa akin na mga technical aspects in writing para mas maging makatotohanan at makabuluhan po yung mga sinusulat ko (As a writer with no background in writing but has passion about what we are doing, I am glad I know more on the technical aspects of writing so my story is more truthful and meanigful), Maranan shared.
“At yung training po it opens wide opportunity for me para makasulat ng mas maganda. I see wide spectrum, na parang hindi lang isang genra, or isang uri yung pwede kong masulat (The training opens opportunities for me to write better, in many genres). Everything is possible, because of this training, writing brings me into a ‘WORLD WITH NO LIMITATIONS’,” added Maranan.
At the end of the training, the first batch of news reports edited by Balibay, with photos reviewed by Yaya, were presented in a newsletter lay-out created by Salvan together with PCA’s artist, Irvin Obcemane.
The PCA CALABARZON journalism training is expected to improve the iCoConnect Newsletter’s 3rd quarter issue which will include reports on the ongoing 33rd National Coconut Week Celebration which started on August 26 and ends on September 3, 2019.
SEND well wishes in the comments below for our nation’s coconut agriculturists and the PCA for innovating on ways to spread awareness about the Philippine coconut industry!
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