Category: In English (Page 1 of 2)

Can we save communication?

I vividly remember my arrival in Aceh, north of Sumatra island, Indonesia, only six months after the 2004 Tsunami that devastated entire communities in several countries. The inner silence was everything I had, while I was stepping on the ground of hundreds of destroyed houses. Here was a bathroom, there a kitchen. While newspapers all around the world talked about numbers of death, right there, with my feet on that land, I realised that we were talking about people.

That experience was a milestone for me and made me choose communication as my brush which I’ve been using to paint a more humane world, that puts people and nature at the center of political action. In these 13 years, people, neither money nor comfort or career, have been my mission. They are in my writings, in my photos, videos. I am not assuming that everyone should do the same, but I believe it’s my calling.

However, recent times have shown challenges that sometimes seem too hard to overcome. I’ve been noticing that even people of goodwill, when facing conflicts, have chosen violent methodologies to respond. Understanding, empathy and dialogue must be the tools to negotiate existence. And we should do that through our political actions using all our skills.

As a Christian communicator, I echo the words of Pope Francis who invites all faithful to be “bridges”: Promoting dialogue instead of enhancing division – within communities, with political leaders or in the global arena.

The primary challenge seems not to repeat the mainstream media, but to bring hope to the vulnerable communities and to the recipients of the information we share, using methodologies that promote cohesion. That is the only way we can be actors of positive change. That is a one-way road to fulfil my mission as a communicator and continue to work towards making societies a space for peaceful coexistence, besides our differences.

First of all, communication

As I said in my last post, convergence is a one-way road for journalism and journalists. Learning how to have a transversal approach through different tools is one of the main challenges in relation to communicating efficiently.

However, before talk about tools and those choices I have made in order to find a personal strategy to improve my communication skills, I would like to think over the meaning of communication and information. Without clarification of these two concepts the convergence may become a cacophonous confusion.

During college, many of my teachers tried to convince me about the importance of information. “You have the responsibility to inform, delivering only the facts, showing the both sides, impartially”, they said. But only during my Masters degree I understood that they tried to make me believe in half-truths.

Etymologically, information came from the latin word “informare” (to inform) in the sense of “to give form to the mind”, “to discipline”, “instruct”, or finally, “teach”. The main focus is delivery, transmit their own truth, top down . On the other hand, communication is derived from two Latin words ‘communis’ (noun) and ‘communicare’ (verb) which means commonality and to make common respectively. Communication goes beyond simply sharing information. It is focussed on the effort to make the information common, so as facts can be understandable for either the transmitter or its audience.

These two concepts are key when we aim to be true communicators. Rather to be concentrated on tools, self-assessment is essential challenge whether we have been communicative or not. Only then, we can talk about appropriate channels for delivering information.

Backpack journalist

One person doing the reporting and producing news in multiple formats.

Today, for the first time, I have found the perfect term to describe what Ive been doing as a professional communicator. Every time I say that I am journalist, most of my interlocutors think that I have only written articles for newspapers, magazines or internet.

Even though every story has, technically, a text behind itself, as a backpack journalist I have been asked mainly to improve my technical skills in order to expand the way of telling stories. In a convergence era of communication, ordinary people assume that it is possible find the same story in different formats: video, photo, audio and text.

Video (recording and edition), photo, social media and, surely, text are platforms with which I have had to deal with daily so as to be able to choose which one would be better for each specific audience.

I appreciate it. I really like being a backpack journalist. Having the courage to face the challenge of engaging audiences helps me to become a better communicator. Pushing me to think outside the box when I have to reach different audiences.

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