Sunday, August 3, 2014

DLSU’s 2nd Student Media Congress Urges Students to Be Media Catalysts Part 1 of 3

Wazzup Pilipinas!

After it sought to explore media breakthroughs in its first year, the DLSU Student Media Congress (SMC) was held the second time around at the DLSU Teresa Yuchengco Auditorium with the theme: “Empowering Media Catalysts”. On its first year, invited media practitioners, along with the SMC delegates probed the trends and evolving dynamics of Philippine media as well as its presence and impact in the near future.

It has been a week since the Congress yet many are still empowered with the many learnings, inspirations and realizations they got from the two day event where several of the countries significant influencers and innovators gathered together to bring one explosive sharing and brainstorming of knowledge and expertise. We have witnessed how "media" has evolved into a more relevant and social platform that totally affects the way we live, work and play.

There has been so many events lately that aimed to bring similar outputs from mostly the youth who are obviously more involved now due to the influence of media. Through the many talks and workshops at the event, the Congress tried its best to align the motives and direction of our youth towards a clearer and more profound path. We also hope it was able to bring about more significant yearnings for change and improvement with an objective role to become part of the solution rather than just a source of detraction. We all need to participate as nation-builders and not as the dividing force that builds walls instead of bridges.

Below are a list of the many speakers that graced the two day event. Since the speakers were so many, we actually divided the article into three parts. Please read on and be informed.

This year, the 2-day event was modified in order to fit the theme-- where Day 2 will have the delegates participate in workshops for further application of the seminars they attended on the first day, July 25, 2014.

For Day 1, media practitioners gave talks on issues that concerned respective media platforms. The keynote address was delivered by Rico Hizon, where he drew from his own experience of starting small and rising in the ranks of the media industry. Before he took the stage, many did not know that the now renowned BBC World News anchor started out as a production assistant at a local network. He urged aspiring media practitioners to dare to dream and achieve greater heights with their potential. Being a Filipino and product of the Philippine educational system, he remains proud of what both has led him to become. 


Mick Atienza, Lead Strategist for Creative and Digital Solution at The Philippine Star, imparted to the delegates how print is continually adapting to the new audience, not being left behind by the influx of media. And although the number of broadsheet readers have gone down due to people slowly shifting to other kinds of platforms, he believes that the shift from traditional to new media channels does not mean that the future of the print industry is bleak. Atienza says that online content may be cheap, free even, but it can never beat or withstand the credibility of newspapers. For him, print is not dead- it just got smarter.


Just like newspapers, television isn’t spared from the effects of the Internet-- Carlos Mori Rodriguez spoke about television and “the second screen”. The assistant Vice President and Head Digital Brand Management of ABS-CBN defined the second screen as a way of creating additional information, as any digital device would. Gone are the days when we only focus on the show we are watching. And, with the increasing number of Internet users locally, people now have more options to get more information and watch exclusive TV webisodes online. These second screens, however do not hinder the function of television. If anything, it helps the viewers get a fuller, more immersive experience with the medium.


Conversely, radio finds ways to export itself to the audience, which explains why it is not restricted to transmitters but it also is on the web, even accessed conveniently through mobile phones. Assistant Vice President of Promotions at Manila Broadcasting Company, Santiago Elizalde, spoke about how to create an image in radio through interaction. In light of this, and also considering that radio’s way of interacting is by shaping people’s minds, the content of each radio program must always be sensitive to culture and must be localized to be able to properly connect and interact with the program’s listeners.


Finally, Vice President for GMA Network’s Professional Development, Howie Severino discussed empowerment through the Internet, which incidentally was an overarching matter throughout the talks from Day 1. Severino attests that power has now shifted from television to the Internet as social media has significantly changed the dynamics of information exchange. Today, people are not just passive receivers but are rather active contributors of information. Social media has made it possible for people to reach a wider audience, produce news, and influence to a greater extent. “Thanks to social media, the youth are empowered to do good more than ever before. So create, collaborate, share, and mobilize to change the world for the better,” Severino ends.

Day 2 of SMC consisted of both competing and noncompeting workshops for the delegates to participate in and was capped off with Unveil, the culminating program that didn’t only recognize the exceptional outputs created during the workshops but also celebrated local music talent. Bands who performed include Maude, Musical O, and Up Dharma Down.

Competing Workshops

Magazine Layout 

Kit De Silva, a Communication Arts graduate of De La Salle University-Manila, shared her insights and knowledge regarding layout in her competing workshop, Magazine Layout. The right technical terms, the guidelines and the foundations of a good layout is what she shared among the catalysts. Also stressing that she couldn’t impose what a good layout is, she said, “I can’t tell you what a good design is dahil subjective ‘yan, as long as you follow a good foundation.” Positive procrastination is also something she believes in as long as it is used for inspiration finding such as looking for pegs in the internet and as long as it channels the inner creativity. She guided the catalysts as they create their own version of Travel magazine.

Feature Writing 

Anne Lorraine Balita-Centeno, inspired catalysts and writers in her competing workshop, Feature Writing. Because of today’s technology, she emphasized the fact that making people, especially teens, read is a challenge due to the declining attention span. “You have to get to know the readers,” is an advise she gave the catalysts as they go through picking the right topic for the right reader target segment. She also stressed on editing with “fresh eyes” for a clearer view of the article at hand. She gave the catalysts time to look for inspirations and for interviewees for their contest submissions, of course, with the topic, Student Media Congress.

Glamour Photography 

Wesley Villarica, advertising photographer and Canon crusader of light shared what makes Glamour Photography different from all other kinds of photography. “Glamour Photography gives you the freedom to create a whole new world,” he said. In his three hour talk, he gave the delegates, all of whom are aspiring photographers, a few tips on how they can be a successful glamour photographer. He discussed the four crucial elements of a glamour shoot, namely, clothes (or the lack of it), make up, mood and technique, and of course, the model. All of these are essential since a photographer tells a story through the use of the camera angle, lighting, composition, set design and location. “It’s all about sexiness,” he said, saying how photographers can glamourize anything or anyone they want. Also, in order to become a good glamour photographer, one must know how to connect with the model. Having rapport with the subject will go a long way. “At the end of it all, it’s still all about the model. Build the lighting, camera, and wardrobe around your model.” he said. Basically, the magic of glamour photography lies in the photographer’s ability to show and emphasize the model’s best assets.

Prenuptial Photography 

Dino Lara, a wedding photographer and Canon ambassador, shared his experience in the field of Wedding photography. Combining passion and business, he discussed the importance of maintaining a balance between the two ends of the spectrum, in which one has a stable career without compromising his/her passion for wedding photography. Unlike other types of photography wherein time can be controlled by the photographer, in wedding photography, it’s the other way around because time is the one controlling the photographer. With this, Mr. Lara talked about what he has learned through the years; from the angles to be used, to the elements in a picture, to creating an effective workflow, he shared various tips and tricks to maximize one’s time and effort when in the actual event. Engaging the catalysts to a wedding photoshoot activity, Sir Dino Lara goes hands on and imparts his knowledge regarding the artistic, technical and business aspects of wedding photography, enlightening the audience on true essence of prenuptial photography.

Video Production 

Yano Escueta is the Creative Director of Pixeleyes Multimedia Inc. In this year’s Student Media Congress, he was invited to hold a video production workshop for the delegates. He has been involved in productions of advertisements, films, and broadcast media. He believes that video is one of the best ways of storytelling, and that video is the language of the future. How so? Because he believes that it is easier to relay information through video, and obviously much more entertaining. In video production, you have to consider a lot of things from pre-production to post production. With the proper skills and equipment, one can create the masterpiece that the audience deserves to see.            

News Writing 

Two speakers headed the workshop on News Writing, Ms. AR Sabangan and Ms. Tricia Aquino.

AR Sabangan is the senior editor and research head of In the online world, how can we deliver news properly? AR Sabangan tells us how we should write news in the digital age. The difference in web and print may be many, but the essentials to news writing remain the same. To be a great news writer, you have to develop a “nose for news.” Having a nose for news ensures that you are an effective journalist and that you follow all the guidelines in proper reportage. Journalism is considered a vocation – it will not make you rich. It is the passion to deliver the truth to the people that serves as a true journalist’s source of strength and joy in today’s modern world.

Tricia Aquino is a reporter at She talked about how online news is different in print. When we talk about news online, we have to consider the differences of the platform, and how one should adapt to it. Having an online publication would mean that you should always be ready and vigilant in making sure what you report gets delivered fast and efficiently. People can practically get their news online, and hundreds of websites are all fighting for the impatient reader’s attention. In order to stand out, one must do innovative practices such as providing infographics, interactive programs, and fresh, new ways of reporting in order to attract a bigger audience. Of course, the truth remains the most important, and that one should still practice ethical journalism. Social media is the number one source of spreading news nowadays, and it is up to passionate journalists to deliver.

Web Design 

Ronnie Morales is the CEO of RMDC Inc. In his Web Design workshop, he taught delegates the essentials of website building, and why having a website is a no-brainer in the digital world. Websites nowadays are portals to content, serving people of various tastes and interests. In order to put yourself out there, a website is essential in making your internet footprint. However, a website is just one of the elements that make a successful branding: you would need to have proper software to support it. Hence, Wordpress, a content management system, is perfect in handling all the things you want to put in a site. With its flexibility and customizability, web design is now more accessible to everyone who wishes to dive in to the world of web development.


Jimmy Domingo is a freelance photojournalist and educator at De La Salle University. His works include several contributions to mass media. In his workshop for Photojournalism he asks, “para kanino ka pumipitik?” (For whom do you side with?) Jimmy Domingo explains the essentials in capturing good photos. He demonstrates that one must take great photos and write their captions. Photojournalism is informing and reporting through pictures, and sometimes getting the perfect photo can be a challenge. Sometimes it’s not even just the photo at all, but what you do with it. A photo, however good, may be bad and damaging to others. This is where the ethics of photojournalism come in, where you have to consider many things before you publish. At the end of the day, we capture moments to immortalize in photos. When we show them to the world, it’s up to us to ensure that what we publish is both amazing, and in good faith.

Youth as Catalysts for Social Change through Television 

Robert Tan, currently the Sales and Marketing Director of People’s Television and the anchor on its news program, Newslife, discussed to the delegates the process of becoming catalysts for change. Tan discussed that they must address to the problems that they feel strongly about and act accordingly to change it. Tan also mentioned that the embodiment of a catalyst was a person that causes change or action and not a mere observer that doesn’t respond to the call for action. In becoming so, he suggested to start small, like a ripple, which would create an effect to a larger group through those small acts. Tan said that if the youth wants to do something worthy, they should invest on these acts through engaging and inspiring other people to do the same.

Please also read Part 2 and Part 3.

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