Gov’t IOs get ‘rehash’ for better public service PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 18 January 2011 13:42

Information officers (IOs) of the government, particularly from the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) of regions 1 to 13 got a total “makeup” in the form of rigid training-write shop to enhance quality of work and service to public.

“This training is intended to develop a core of very good writers na p’weding ihambing sa mga magagaling na magsusulat natin dito sa bansa” (that can be at par with the country’s best writers) said PIA Director General Jose A. Fabia before 35 IO-participants in his welcome message during the opening program on January 11 at the PIA conference room in Manila.

The workshop centers on enhancing writing skills of PIA IOs for better service to public through clear, accurate and real-time delivery of information and bringing regional news into public knowledge through the PIA website.

“Ibandila ang mga nangyayari sa inyong lugar sa buomg Pilipinas as sa ibang bansa” DG encouraged. “Sabik sa mga balita ang mga kababayan natin. Ito yung mga balita na di nila nakikita sa national papers kundi sa PIA web site lamang,” he said.

“Be the first to bring the news!” he emphasized.

The four-day (Jan. 11-14) rigid writeshop/workshop brought the participants not just to a mere “walk through” on their writing skills but for every lecture was equivalent an actual writeshop application.

“Gusto nating iangat ang quality of PIA news writing, feature writing and photo journalism,”said Fabia. “Kaya we will train the best of you that we have.”

“PIA’s mission is not to do propaganda for anyone, but to do good work for the best interest of the country, of the people,” he added.

The nerve wracking, brain draining workshop included effective news writing as one very interesting and helpful topic discussed by one of the country’s finest news editor Vergel Santos, who is at present Editorial Board Chairman of the Businessworld.

“Writing should come natural, don’t over do it. It’s not about stringing nice and easy words together. Let’s be simple,” advised Santos.

Other topics discussed for day one included photojournalism by Gil Nartea, close-in photographer, Malacanang Photo Bureau.

Day two discussion was focused on effective feature writing thoroughly shared by renowned feature writer Marites D. Vitug, who is now Chairman, Advisory Board of NewsBreak (TV program). Like Santos,  Vitug also emphasized on “writing simply and clearly” meaning, using simple words and clearly articulating into the story the writer’s intention.

For his part, Gerry Zaragoza of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Central Desk, shared his expertise on the topic “preparing for coverage” as the participants were scheduled to do field work (interview) to their assigned topic and agencies the flowing day (day three of workshop).

The participants were made to do the planning and coordination for field coverage as part of the training/workshop.

Day three was quite “heavy load” for the participants as the enthusiastic IOs were “filtered” into actual coverage of a press conference with Environment Management Bureau (EMB) Assistant Director Gilbert Gonzales and EMB Communications Group Head Elenida Basug.

Participants were made to write the press conference story shortly after the presscon covering the broad topic of “ EMB’s thrust and direction for 2011.”

In the afternoon, participants were divided into seven groups, each group was assigned particular topic and agency for actual visit and conduct of interview. Every participant was expected to produce a feature article out of that field work.

Day four was devoted to critiquing of write ups with PIA Deputy Director General (DDG) Virgilio Galvez, Gerry Zaragoza and Eduardo Luarca as panelists.

The participants’ write-ups were presented and were constructively criticized. The critics pointed some weak and strong points of the writers concerned and gave them tips on how to improve writing skills.

“The training opportunity has given me an affirmation and direction as well in what I am doing. It has broaden my understanding on journalism and enhanced the skills I have as news writer,” proudly said Bennie Recebido, IO, PIA Region 5.

“Information is power. It can save lives. It can change this country. Information is communication that can lead to understanding. We have to bring down timely and accurate information to the Filipinos” said Fabia as he expected an “improved” IO’s after the four day stiff training.