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Students trained in citizen journalism

By C.M.Paul
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Guwahati, Aug. 22. Students of Social Work at the Don Bosco University (DBU) in Guwahati were imparted training to be good citizen journalists to raise social issues through social media.

The students were given training at the five day ''Social Media Applications for Social Work'' workshop for students of DBU's Institute of Social Sciences, that concluded yesterday.
''It is a matter of pride that our students got the opportunity to be trained in social media skills as no other top social sciences institutions in the country has mandatory social media skill training in their curriculum,'' says Dr. Riju Sharma Head of DBU's Social Work Department.

A group of 48 students worked in 12 teams on social issues like clogged sewage, open drains, educational stress, social networking addiction on campus, lack of playground facilities, canteen cleanliness, child labour, and sale of tobacco products at college back gate.

The course facilitated by Signis Bengal president Fr. Robin Gomes SDB from Kolkata and Fr. C.M. Paul was the first of its kind attempted for students of Social Work.

''We are following the principles of Backpack Journalism but applying it to grassroots level social activists who have no access to professional equipment. The trainer's challenge/opportunity was to tap student's social media application skills exhibited in the use of mobile phones as camera, and audio/video digital recorder,'' says Fr. C.M. Paul, DBU Head of Mass Communication Department.

Revealing the workshop mood, Fr. Paul adds ''We stretched the students and their machines to the extreme limits... Movie Maker software crashed, team sprit sagged... but they kept going spurred on by the competition between 12 teams.''

Prior to the workshop, DBU Registrar Dr. Basil Koikara spent two hours training the group in audio editing with Audacity software, and another two hours for Videopad software for video editing.

After a 15 hour training in news writing and reporting for newspapers/website /blogs / FaceBook and Twitter, the students had 30 hours of hands on training in the production of photographs, campaign banners and posters for FaceBook postings, Podcast and YouTube film on the campaign topic.

''We enjoyed working in groups and it was great joy to see our articles and photographs on the MSW department blog created for the workshop,'' says Nadeen Pakyntein, a participant from Shillong.

Lijo Joseph from Balasore says, ''the process of creating the five minute radio magazine for Podcast and five minute YouTube film on our campaign topic was more exciting.''

The workshop concluded with award ceremony held for all MSW students during which the DBU Vice-Chancellor and Head of Social Work Department handed over certificates of participation to all students who had full attendance and successfully completed the program.
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