By Julie Ann Gonzales (SOCOM Facilitator)
The Media Literacy Seminar Workshop gathered 61 parish correspondents composed of pastoral workers, Catechists and youth last November 30 to December 1, at the Domus Dei Complex, Silay City.
The two-day seminar organized by Pauline Institute of Communication in Asia (PICA) with the Diocese of Bacolod Diocesan Social Communications Commission focused on media education. The series of talks tackled media culture and spirituality, integrating media education, the roles and responsibilities of social media users, the impact of social media on the development of society and news and advertisement analysis.
The first resource speaker Fr. Norman Peña, SSP, Ph.D. talked about media education, media culture, and spirituality. He introduced the effects of media on people, how human is “mastered” by their social media devices rather than the other way around. He said that we must not focus only on cliché images to post on social media like the food you eat in a restaurant but must post photos that can capture the imagination and arrest the emotion. He also emphasized that posting is not just for meaning but should be more on the significance.
Fr. Norman said that” spirituality as the essence of being human …is not to be learned by flight from the world (running away) rather we must learn an inner solitude wherever or with whomsoever we may be”.
Fr. Peña also showed participants some creative ways to preach the gospel by using social media sites and apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, in their storylines. Participants were able to depict scenes in the scripture incorporating social media elements: groups portrayed the Last Supper events with the characters ordering a meal through “Food Panda”, the Baptism of Jesus where John the Baptist invited people to be baptized through Facebook, and the Exodus in which Moses posted photos on Instagram of his activities when he led Israelites out of Egypt.
There was a story analysis that focused on framing messages, using correct words for the exact meaning and significance of the message to be understood by the common people. Fr. Norman urged the participants to always focus on every detail of the story and not to be impatient.
“There are a lot of things we miss because we like to go to the end of the story already,” Fr. Norman said.
Fr. Peña reminded SOCCOM correspondents that they have the power to create change.
“You can do something…you cannot control what people say but you can suggest what people can talk about,” he said.
He also added that what we write as a comment can change how people view things.
On the night of the first day, SOCCOM Correspondents were able to have a movie review. It helped them appreciate movies in terms of its technical presentations and impact on moral values and spiritual culture.
Sister Consolata Manding, FSP, Ph.D. said, that “Movies show the contrast of cultures…the spiritual life and the worldly life.”
News, the media and the pop culture were the focus of the second day of the seminar.
Sister Consolata Manding gave the basis in news gathering and news writing. She also explained how media govern the daily life of people. She also said that “in order to survive in our information-saturated culture we put our minds on automatic pilot” and this leads to the decrease in exercising control of our daily media exposure. She added that our constant reliance on social media creates information clutter, which means that there is a lot of unnecessary information being broadcast.
When tackling about bias in news, Sis. Manding said that “bias in a sense is not bad; one has simply to know the bias…even the Church has a bias, that is, for the Gospel. We select news that highlights the Gospel values.”
She said that one must understand that news institutions have considerations in choosing what news and angle should be published, especially on business matters.
“You just don’t stick to one media platform source to know the truth,” Sis. Manding added.
A profiling of parish correspondents were made after the talks, this is for the SOCCOM to create a directory of parish correspondents.
Media present during the seminar workshop were Rev. Fr. Roy Christian Gesulgon, head of Diocesan Social Communications Commission; SOCCOM facilitators and Sr. Amelyne Paglinawan of Daughters of St. Paul-Bacolod.