Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Journalistic Writing Competencies of AB Communication Students: Basis for Development of Training Manual in Journalism

Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Journalistic Writing Competencies of AB Communication Students: Basis for Development of Training Manual in Journalism

Article excerpt

Introduction

Writing is often perceived as one of the most challenging aspects of second language learning and difficulties in writing different types of texts may come from the fact that writers have to understand the linguistic features such as pragmatic, syntax and semantics and other components of these different text types. Palmer mentioned that in journalism, just like any other forms of writing, the writers are required to construct text discourse precisely in standard language; thus, observing grammatical competencies and other aspects of text discourse such as creating cohesion and coherence in the text. Failure to perform this, writing can be a painful and anxiety producing task for many individuals. Hence, Zinsser stated that, in journalism, nothing was easy and nothing was fun - journalism is hard and lonely, and the words will seldom just flow.

In the United States, Yomiyama [1], explained that the improper use of linking words would result in global errors. This may lead to misunderstanding and even communication breakdown. In addition, excessive use of coordination made written composition tedious to read and difficult to focus on the ideas expressed. Thus, the text, whether in academic and creative writing and even journalistic writing, suffers syntactically and semantically if the logical connectors are misused, underused, overused or improperly used. These connectors are identified as sources of difficulty in second language (L2) writing. Similarly, this will be difficult in writing using the flrst language (L1) [2]. These are the common writing problems encountered by the students. Therefore, language teachers need to address this at present.

For graduates of mass communication programs in the Philippines, such inability threatens the very core of a profession that depends upon communications skills. This concern about students' weak writing skills, which has been echoed by many, including Licuanan, who in an article in the Philippine-Star wrote:

In journalism, they [students] need to learn the craft and art of writing. Unfortunately, most writing-across-the-curriculum programs are too hit-and-miss to inculcate a love of writing or even an attitude of appreciating the importance of writing.

In General Santos City, an educational institution like Notre Dame of Dadiangas University (NDDU), offers a four-year degree program such as AB Communication (formerly AB Mass Communication) where students are trained and developed their skills in media and journalism. This undertaking is to shore up the institution's mission to produce competent professionals to address the needs of the local community and the global market as well. However, the competencies of the students taking the communication course in terms of journalistic writing are subdued for evaluation. In an interview conducted among Subject Matter Experts (SME) handling campus journalism subjects, they expressed that the concepts and theories in journalism had been introduced; however, this does not warrant that the students skills in content, mechanics, lexico-grammatical (vocabulary and grammar), and semantic-logical (organization) are marked satisfactory. Moreover, upon examining the grade analysis report of the AB Communication students enrolled in the journalism course, it revealed that the students have a grade point average of 2.66, interpreted as satisfactory in terms of their classroom performance. Specifically, six (6) out of fourteen (14) students have a grade from 2.25 to 1.75, interpreted as good while eight (8) students have grades ranging from 2.50 to 4.0 (failure). This implies that majority of the students enrolled in the AB Communication program have satisfactory performance and others have failing grades in journalism subject.

Furthermore, Tasarra [3] conducted a study on journalistic writing among secondary students. The study revealed that the journalistic writing competencies of journalism learners in the secondary level are more of a fair ability. …

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