We recently had a news writing workshop with the members of the Providential Youngsters Society (PrYS)-Kiangan in Ifugao.
The young people of Kiangan, I discovered, are a lot more media-savvy than their counterparts from Asipulo — a municipality where some barangays are not accessible except on foot and have no electricity.
Some participants attended the workshop with earphones glued to their ears.
After the workshop, some participants asked us if we had Friendster accounts.
How does their exposure to media affect them? How do they use it? Do they use it to their advantage? For research? For entertainment?
Do they feel empowered to use it to tell the world about their community? Or do they use it to get out of it?
If they could only feel empowered, think how much richer the national and even global dialogue would be. Citizen journalism is this dialogue, proof of empowerment, an alternative to the established media.
In the end, I believe that these young people can contribute. This is why we do these workshops: to help them contribute. A newsletter isn’t just a newsletter — it’s citizen journalism.
Perhaps my hoping they’d be citizen journalists someday is too ambitious, but there are stories only they can write. There is knowledge only they can share. And there is a future only they can create.
This photo shows PrYS organizer Gerald Puguon, Jr. accepting a book donation on behalf of PrYS. The books were given by the Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism (ACFJ) at the Ateneo de Manila University to support PrYS’s efforts to publish a newsletter.