INFORMATION officers from government agencies and local government units (LGUs) collaborated with news media outlets in Cebu in a knowledge-sharing webinar on public information development on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) 7, organizer of the webinar, invited journalists from three media outlets to share their inputs and insights on news writing, social media management and infographics design in a webinar that carried the theme: “Refocused Development Communication Towards Engaged Information Officers in the Digital Age.”
It was attended by hundreds of information officers from the DILG 7 office, its sub-regional offices, government agencies and the LGUs in Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor and Negros Oriental.
The webinar, which was conducted as part of the nationwide celebration of the 29th Local Government Month, was aimed to help improve the government’s information drive, education and communication programs and maximize the digital platform, especially during these trying times.
“This webinar is a collaboration of the media, the national government agencies and LGUs in connection to the development of information dissemination,” DILG 7 Director Leocadio Trovela said in his opening remarks.
The event was participated by journalists from SunStar, The Freeman and CDN Digital.
The participants heard and learned from the expertise of Nickolas Earl Tubo, multimedia editor of SunStar Publishing Inc.; Morexette Erram, multimedia reporter of CDN Digital; and Joeberth Ocao, online editor of The Freeman.
“One of the important lessons that we’ve learned as we are going through this pandemic is that our works (government and media) are very much connected,” said Ocao, who shared his knowledge on social media management and news writing, among others.
For his part, Tubo underscored the importance of accuracy and facts in writing news stories and press releases in this digital age because people have easy access to information through the internet.
“News can’t be fabricated. You can’t write information based on assumptions. Tell the story as it is,” he said.
Erram, meanwhile, shared details on how to create effective infographics that can easily be understood by the public.
Former photojournalist Iste Sesante Leopoldo, who now heads the Public Information Office (PIO) of the Municipality of Cordova, said the webinar was very informative and useful, especially to members of their PIO team who don’t have any journalism experience.
The webinar pushed through with the support of the Philippine Information Agency 7 led by its director, Fayette Riñen.
In her speech, Riñen emphasized the importance of information officers in disseminating information about the government’s development projects and community building.
“To the IOs: you learn, grow and be more productive. Go beyond informing. Educate and empower people. Make a difference in your community because this is the essence of development communication,” she said.
DILG 7 information officer Michael Braga hoped that the exchange of relevant information would pave the way to another partnership between information officers and media practitioners.
“As stewards of truth, let us continue to work and battle fake news. We urge you to take advantage of the digital platforms to educate and inform the public and help the government in making its presence felt at the grassroots level,” said Braga.