Media revolution

“The Power of the Individual Communicator in Changing the World”

This is the theme of the 1st UP Broadcasters’ Guild Communication Convention which I attended last 29 January 2008 at the Balay Kalinaw Conference Hall with its sub-themes – instigate, innovate, inspire. The speakers were Nina Terol of YVOTE Philippines, Director Raymond Red, Howie Severino of GMA 7 and a lady teacher of UP. The attendees were students from various schools, professionals and less-than-a-handful alien guests (aside from this writer). The masters of ceremonies – Hazelyn Joy Bitana and Mark Vincent Telan – did a very good job as they flaunted their brand of UP education.

Offhand, the whole weight of the lecture centered around the power of the New Media.

Terol on the youth bloc, vote-wise

Her group, YVOTE is said to be an aggrupation of various youth and reform-minded organizations for 2010 and beyond via offline and online collaboration for voter’s registration and education.

Herself a UP alumnus of the IMC (Institute of Mass Communications) a decade ago, she zeroes in the theory of a “Generation We” or Web 2.0. with Barach Obama as its classic beneficiary.

A well-pointed out fact is that the emerging ‘citizen journalist’ has upset the social order through more access to information thus making any citizen an instant celebrity coming as one does from sheer anonymity or obscurity.

There are about 178 blogs in RP alone as Terol estimates and the mercurial rise not being far removed. Across the universe, on the other hand, there are about 184 million blogs as of March 2008 and with this configuration alone, it is clear that a ‘new people power has emerged’ – as was read by Terol from the article of columnist Amando Doronilla.

Then, she invited attendees to join this ‘Social Revolution’ since Terol finds in that 48-56% of registrants in the 2010 as a potent ‘youth bloc’.

Red on Philippine cinema

Icon of modern Filipino alternative cinema, Red touched on the state of Philippine cinema vis a vis the new digital technology. Presenting a couple of video clips of his winning works, he likened film language in this way – a shot is a word, a group of shots is a sentence, and a series a paragraph.

True enough, film making as traditionally known is dying in the emerging order called the modern society. The new alternative cinema is at everybody’s finger tips and harnessing the power of the new technology ought to be a must with the burst of this babble.

While not one formally trained in film making, Red admitted having left UP as a first year fine arts student who got bored with a curriculum that has already been substantially taken up in his high school years.

Severino on ‘media dinosaurs’

Writer, producer, host – all rolled into one – Severino talked on press freedom as we know it today.

Referring to himself as one of ‘media dinosaurs’ (under threat of extinction, I guess), he outlined his professional career as journalist some decades back when as a high school teacher in Ateneo shooting scenes at EDSA was arrested and jailed during the Marcos regime.

His theory of ‘super-empowered individuals’ carries along with it a sense of responsibility against his own personal account of the various social revolutions that the media has gone through. Fact is, he traced media from that period of ‘antiquity’ to the state of modernity it is now – on both realms – Severino did not fail to have mastery.

Certainly, he has outlined the decentralization of the power of content production in media as he attached premium to the role of a well-rounded education required of all media practitioners.

Lady teacher waxes poetic

With self-generated high, the lady teacher of UP started off with the power of the new technology by soliciting would-be-questions from the audience to be texted to the members of Eraserheads and how answers are coming out – which she reads in between her discussion the transforming landscape in media today.

Perhaps, the most important thing she said was that – “every tool is a weapon if you use it right” – which means exactly that media practitioners do have responsibility reposed upon themselves. This is perhaps what Alex Magno calls ‘self-regulation’.

Summing up

Every once in a while, it is liberating to listen to subject matter experts if only to situate or mark the spot where the New Media finds itself today and the attendant role of all media practitioners against the backdrop of a fast-changing media landscape.

As one of questions asked in the open forum, it is clear that for now, anti-libel law extends its cruel reach up to the blogosphere – more for lack of existing protocols, I suppose. But this is more on the level of intuition – so yet. There is yet to be a template on how indeed anti-libel law can invade a different realm to tame a different beast.

All told, there is a media revolution and the Old Media necessarily has to adopt with the New Media. The age of the betacam, filmed-cameras, typewriters, and all that – is entirely gone. Today, everyone can be a journalist, an artist, a film maker, a director, a producer – all in the same mold as a Terol, a Red, a Severino.

Perhaps, the next crop of topnotch media practitioners will come from the trash and garbage of imploding and exploding media production activities – its reach global, its effect unprecedented, its goal basic. With the new media revolution is borne a bunch of media revolutionaries in – us, all of us.

UP Diliman, Quezon City Email: