Students complete USAID, city-sponsored peace journ training PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 11:15

Fifteen college students from the Ateneo de Zamboanga University and Western Mindanao State University completed a peace journalism training last March 7, which was made possible by the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Engage Project in partnership with the City Government of Zamboanga.

The training, which lasted for 10 to 20 days, brought the students to have a go at interviewing, research and writing of stories through the mentoring of veteran local journalists.

Vanessa Mora, a mass communications major from Ateneo, who was assigned to have an on-the-job exposure with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) said that seeing how a journalists actually works through immersion in the field made her feel more confident to join the ranks in the future after she graduates.

“We covered some activities, and I realized that it is important to be exposed to the realities in the field this early to give us a grasp of what it actually feels like,” she said.

During the seminar’s culmination program held at the Alavar Seafood Restaurant Friday, Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar congratulated the students for completing the training and encouraged the young journalists to be objective in their work in the near future.

“There are a lot of negative things that happen to our city especially during these times, but do not be discouraged. There are a lot of good things that happen here, all we need is to do is write about them for our people to be aware. Please be true to your work as journalists,” Mayor Climaco-Salazar said.

Meanwhile, Lee Forsythe, General Development Officer for Mindanao of the USAID, said there is something wonderful with peace journalism. “Through writing about peace, you are changing the perspective of those who read your story. If we write about peace, we are inspired to be pro-peace. But if all we see is war, because all we write about is war, then people will probably only always think about war. Let’s write about peace,” Forsythe said.

Jules Benitez, seminar facilitator of USAID-Engage, explained that the seminar’s objective is to infuse the practice of responsible journalism in the city, especially among the youth through a “peace perspective”. He added that this is a pilot endeavor with the city government, and hopes that there will be more similar activities in the future.

Sheila Covarrubias, City Information Officer emphasized “we need a new breed of journalists, and you can do a lot to contribute to build back a better Zamboanga through responsible and sensitive writing”.