Diocesan Commission on Social Communications held its celebration of the 53rd World Communications Day reflecting on the theme, “We are members of one another (Eph4:25) From social network community to human communities.
World Communications Day is usually celebrated between Ascension Sunday and Pentecost. Diocese of Malolos celebrated the occasion on June 1 by gathering its Commission on Social Communications members from different parishes. There were around 40 social communications volunteers who attended for a half-day event which focused on the message of Pope Francis for the 53rd World Communications Sunday released by the Vatican last January 24th, Feast of St. Francis of Sales, patron saint of writers and journalist.
We had an award-winning journalist for our speaker that morning. Mr. Christian Esguerra, host of Early Edition which airs on ABSCBN’s News Channel and a Journalism professor at University of Sto. Tomas. He shared his experiences in covering mostly politics on news print and tv and gave suggestions on how to apply same principles to social media practitioners for the Catholic church. He shared tips, too, on how he maintains and balances being Catholic in the journalism world.
Here are some of the notable takeaways I got from the discussion with Mr. Christian Esguerra.
THE CHALLENGE IS AUTHENTICITY
For social communications practitioners, there is the temptation of hypocrisy. Practically all media personality announces to the world that they condemn corruption and yet it isn’t so shocking to discover some who are living a double life by being involved in corrupt practices. “There are media practitioners who have sold their soul to the devil a long time ago”, Mr. Esguerra openly said.
On the other side of the spectrum is self-righteousness, the belief that one is totally correct and holds a moral superiority above everyone else. “One temptation for media practitioner is to self-promote. The tragedy of our time: our value as a person somehow gets defined by the number of likes, ” he added.
In between these two extremes – self-righteousness and hypocrisy – the challenge is to be at the center of the spectrum. The challenge is authenticity.
DO YOUR JOB BECAUSE OF CHRIST
“Sometimes there is a problem with how technology is changing us instead of us making sure that technology doesn’t change our values.”
Taking cue from Pope Benedict, he shares it’s important that as media practitioners, we shouldn’t make ourselves become the focus. We have to make sure that it is Christ we bring in what we say and what we do.
METAPHOR OF THE NET, A SHARED RESPONSIBILITY
Pope Francis, in his message, used the metaphor of the net:
The figure of the network invites us to reflect on the multiplicity of paths and nodes that ensure its stability, in the absence of a center, of a hierarchical type structure, of a vertical type organization. The network works thanks to the sharing of all the elements.
Referred to the anthropological dimension, the metaphor of the network recalls another figure full of meaning: that of the community . A community is stronger the more it is cohesive and supportive, animated by feelings of trust and pursues shared goals. The community as a solidary network requires mutual listening and dialogue, based on the responsible use of language.
Citing the big roles that air war and net war played at the recently concluded mid-term election, Mr. Esguerra stressed the weight of responsibility that rests in the hands of journalists. He also encouraged attendees to call out the media if they think the media is doing something wrong.
To say what has to be said and for it to be said properly. Discussions like this will have an impact for better or for worse. “In many cases, if our character is not well-formed, we tend to abuse the power and responsibility that is given to us. We get sense of privilege that easily morphs into a sense of entitlement which should not be the case.”
Photos and videos from St. Peter of Alcantara Parish of Bocaue, Bulacan.