By Franz Jonathan G. de la Fuente

“If you don’t stand up for something, you will fall for anything,” she said. “Journalism is never about us. It’s all about the responsibility to others, first.”

Speaking to over 170 communication students at the first convention of the Metro Manila Alliance of Communication Students (MACS), Broadcast Communication professor Marie Anne Los Baños discussed the current state of media and communication among the youth at present.

Los Baños was one of the five speakers invited to speak at the Heyday: Youth Empowerment through Media and Communication convention at the University of Santo Tomas Saturday.

“This is our age; we must grab hold of that empowerment and use it with much responsibility,” College of Mass Communication Student Council (CMCSC) chairperson Sherwin Ian Su said in his opening remarks at the event.

She was joined by UP Film Institute professor and Internet personality Ramon Bautista; former McCann-Erickson CEO Emily Abrera, GMA-7 reporter Lia Mañalac, and Survivor Philippines: Celebrity Edition castaway Moi Marcampo.

‘A thankless, stressful job’

Los Baños, 26, emphasized the rigors and demands of her job in the media industry—which she still calls “the best job in town”—three days before the first anniversary of the slaughter of more than 30 journalists in Maguindanao.

“Isa akong mamamahayag sa isang bansang sadlak sa kahirapan. Ikaw, gusto mo pa ba?” the RPN 9 reporter and anchor challenged.

Abrera, who was recently appointed Cultural Center of the Philippines board chairperson, pointed to shifting media preferences as a factor in changing youth identity, while Bautista talked about social networking as the defining factor in young people’s existence today.

Mañalac and Marcampo recounted their experiences in entering the media industry. Hired as a television reporter right after graduation at age 20, Mañalac encouraged communication students to start young “while y(ou) are still idealistic.” She was awarded 2005 Best TV Field Reporter by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas.

Marcampo, whose claim to fame is her occupation as actor Piolo Pascual’s assistant, entertained the audience with her stories in the showbiz industry. The high school dropout from Zamboanga stressed the importance of grabbing opportunities the way she did in the media industry.

A first among communication schools

MACS, the first alliance of Metro Manila colleges and universities with a goal of “strengthening ties and organizing activities among communication students in the metro,” was conceived by the CMCSC. MACS-UP Diliman is currently headed by third year communication research major Alisa Baleva.

Keynote speaker at the Sept. 24 launch at the UP CMC Media Center was former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros, herself a former media practitioner.

Other member institutions of the alliance include De La Salle University, La Consolacion College, University of the Philippines Manila, Philippine Women’s University, University of Santo Tomas, Far Eastern University, and Polytechnic University of the Philippines.


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