by Dean Lozarie

Social media and the youth will play important roles in educating and informing the public about the 2013 elections, Commission on Elections spokesperson James Jimenez said on Friday.

“Social media facilitates conversation and wisdom of the crowd,” Jimenez said, speaking at the launch of the Mass Media Awareness Month in the UP College of Mass Communication.

The Comelec spokesperson said that social media will be more effective in increasing awareness of the 2013 polls than traditional media or person-to-person information drives, as traditional media sources often play on the drama and conflict of politics.

Jimenez added that students should be wary of of what he called “Jedi mind tricks,” such as mockery and rumor-mongering that politicians use during elections.

The Mass Media Awareness Month is an annual initiative of the UP CMC. For the first time, it is being held in November, instead of its usual September celebration to commemorate the Maguindanao Massacre on November 23, 2009, according to Triciah Terada, Broadcast Communication Representative.

The MMAM will include a Maguindanao Massacre exhibit and commemoration ceremonies. A “March Against Impunity” will also be held to benefit the children of the media workers who died in the massacre.

Meanwhile, during the Career Expose Seminar of the CMC Career Assistance Program (CMC-CAP), Ed Lingao of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism said that journalism is in exciting but also dangerous times.

Lingao said that when he was the news manager for Channel 5, he used to get applicants who just wanted to be seen on camera. “It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s not necessarily good,” he said.

He urged CMC students to “join news for the right reasons,” and not just because they want to be newscasters or anchors. Students should join the news, he said, “because [they] see the need for change.”

At the launch held at the Press Freedom Hall of the UP CMC, the MMAM team revealed the top 10 stories of the year, with the conviction of former Chief Justice Renato Corona topping the list.

Also included were the plunder charges filed against former President and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the upsurge of the Philippine economy, and the signing of the Bangsamoro framework agreement.

The MMAM celebration will also include the “Think Again” Campaign, a lecture series that will draw the connection between the media and other academic fields.

The month-long event will conclude with “Mediawatch,” a congress of media students on December 3.


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