Education Secretary Leonor Briones highlighted the importance of campus journalism during the first-ever virtual National Schools Press Conference (NSPC).
“Journalism has always been a very important aspect, part of our society and we are all interested in what the journalists say about us, including myself of course,” Briones said in her keynote speech during the opening program on Aug. 11.
The NSPC 2021 is a three-day event, from Aug. 11 to 13, held online for the first time due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation in the country.
Briones said that through campus journalism, students practice grammar but also “practice how to comprehend, to extract the meat from the chaff of day-to-day developments in the country and in their area.”
The role of campus journalism, Briones added, is also very much heightened at this time – especially with the difficulties in communication.
“With the proliferation of fake news, accusations and counter-accusations, our learners, our journalism students have to be taught or mentored on how to distinguish the chaff from the grain, how to search out the truth, and how to report whatever there is to report and which the public is entitled to know about with courage, with determination, and readiness to make the necessary sacrifices,” she added.
Briones also underscored the role of information – noting that the DepEd does not have to be briefed on implications of fake news because “we, on many occasions, have been victims also a proliferation of fake news, of exaggerations, of dramatizations of supposed events which have never happened.”
Given this, Briones stressed the need for schools to “teach our budding journalists to be able to distinguish truth from fiction – especially at this time when it’s difficult to tell one from the other.”
Briones added that campus journalism serves to bridge the gap between the “old and the new normal.”
“Right now, we are behaving at the very changed circumstances with what we are used to doing under the so-called old normal as a means to connect with our peers and the school even as you are observing social distancing,” Briones said.
By providing meaningful content and re-establishing connections, Briones explained that campus journalism “empowers the community and the country to rise above the pandemic.”
Through NSPC, Briones expressed hope that young journalists would learn how to “share correct and truthful information, to be patient, [and] to be understanding — which is very difficult at this time of vicious attacks, at this time of cruel criticism, at this time of finger-pointing — to rise above the impacts of the pandemic.”