The Changing Landscape of Journalism and Communication (Part II)

Manila Bulletin, December 18, 2004 | Go to article overview

The Changing Landscape of Journalism and Communication (Part II)


THIS is a continuation of my paper on the above topic during the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication Lecture Series held last December 07 at the GMA Network Penthouse.

Patterns in the Evolution of Communication

The pattern of historical growth had shown a cyclical trend. An example is "demassification," which describes communication exchange in the early days using interpersonal and indigenous communication media like the "tambuli" in community interaction. With the invention of the printing machine, radio and television, the communication system gradually became "massified" and the indicator of effectiveness was on reach of these channels. During the 70s, the trend towards bottom-up communication and peoples participation encouraged the growth of small, community media. The latter was a response to peoples need to have ownership and participation in the generation of information. Internet satisfied both the need to reach larger audiences and at the same time allow participation of audience or users. It combined the ability to reach a mass audience and at the same time cater to small, special-interest groups. The opportunity for individual users to construct their own websites and content led to the demassification of communication. McLuhans "medium is the message" rhetoric is still relevant today as we witness radical changes brought about by the media of Internet (through e-mail, chat rooms) and the cellphone through texting which had changed learning and entertainment patterns. In our knowledge society, however, there is demand for content which can only be satisfied through well crafted IEC messages. In the earlier days, the demographic profile was enough basis for planning advertising campaigns. Lately however, emphasis is given to psychographics or a focus on individuals psychological profile. The new technologies have likewise lessened the power of propaganda through the democratization of information and knowledge.

The Philippine Development Environment

These are some changes:

Promoting Effective Governance The continuing inability of leadership to provide structures for lessening the yawning gap between the rich and the poor; to combat continuing corruption and violence and the low credibility of national and local leaders has led to growing polarization, passivity, alienation, and loss of self-confidence. The communication theory of exchange and "win-win" spawned from game and decision theories responds to the need for continuing dialogue, sharing of power, gains, risks and responsibilities which if practiced, could reduce tensions and feeling of exclusion. The tools of communication address need for greater transparency and accountability, thus minimizing corruption. The theory of governance (information as nerve of government) posits need for continuing flow of information horizontally, vertically, to maintain stability in the system.

Promoting Cultural Diversity and Identity Continuing exchange among various cultural and social groups, the sense of identity so important in nation-building mediated by credible leaders help establish consensus and discovery of commonalities and pave the road to peace. A more balanced media content with focus on promoting cultural and multilingual diversity, gender and ethnic consciousness supported by policies and program guidelines would require alternative media systems if the existing commercial structure is unable to satisfy these requirements. Internet and the new technologies of digitization can preserve the memory of our cultural heritage. Virtual museums provide channels for preservation, conservation, and exchange not only in the field of culture but also in all areas of knowledge.

Bridging the Social-Economic Divide Those involved in development planning are aware of the continuing flow and utilization of new knowledge to achieve balanced growth, arrest deterioration of resources, promote alternative livelihood, and combat terrorism and barriers to stability, among the few of our priority challenges. …

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