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Empowering people through citizen journalism

Thursday 21 April 2016, by SIGNIS

Manila, April, 21st, 2016 (CFA). "OurNews," a seminar-workshop on empowering people through citizen journalism, was held at the Communication Foundation for Asia (CFA), in Manila, April 4-8.

The reason for holding this training is that the CFA is "convinced that only the ordinary man (and woman) on the street, in the field or in the factory, can accurately report about his (or her) needs and situation". The workshop drew inspiration from recent events — including the Arab Spring, the East Indian Ocean Tsunami, Occupy Wall Street, and Typhoon Yolanda — where the bulk of the initial reporting was generated not by mainstream media but by plain folks.

Participants came from different Church organizations, NGOs, schools and people’s organizations, from India, Pakistan and Myanmar.

After going through the basics of news and feature writing, ethics of journalism, and photo and video journalism, the participants were sent to the field on "immersion" trips. They interviewed, took pictures of, and reported on those that citizen journalism intends to serve: the poor and the marginalized.

Some participants visited a village of indigenous Ambalay Aetas, while some went to a site off Manila Bay where a planned massive reclamation threatens the ecological balance. Others spent a day with a group fighting violence against women, others joined an urban poor community and some observed how persons with disabilities are learning to lead productive lives.

One participant said the immersion "gave us a first-hand experience of data gathering." Another said the whole course "opened (his) eyes to advocating and being the voice of the voiceless."

"Our News" was made possible by a grant from the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) based in Canada.

Find here some videos, produced by the participants:

  • An Aeta girl and her parents talk about the value of education. Click here.
  • Persons with disabilities (PWDs) working for self-reliance by making chacoal briquettes. Click here.
  • PWDs making wheelchairs and other mobility aids. Click here.

More info: visit the CFA Website.

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