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Don Bosco Communications Vows To Combat Fake News With Peace Journalism


By Chris Valentino
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Mumbai, Jul. 19. Tej-Prasarini, Don Bosco Communications, the media wing of the Mumbai Salesians of Don Bosco, organised a two-day intensive seminar-cum-workshop for its media correspondents on July 18-19 at the sprawling Don Bosco Educational Campus at Matunga, Mumbai.
Coordinated by Father Joaquim Fernandes, Regional Director of BOSCOM South Asia and Executive Director of Tej-Prasarini, over 78 participants availed of this opportunity to be trained in the rudiments of smart and sensible communication.

Father Peter Gonsalves, eminent professor-emeritus of Social Communications at the Salesian Pontfical University Rome, Communication Consultor at the Vatican Secretariat and founding member of BOSCOM India inaugurated the workshop on ''Fake News and Journalism for Peace.''

Father C. M. Paul, HoD Mass Communication - Sonada College, West Bengal, founding member of BOSCOM India, and Director of Radio Salesian 90.8 FM initiated the proceedings and set the pace with a brief keynote address stating, ''We need to be heralds of the good news with specific focus on communicating authentic news while combatting fake news, as explicitly desired by Pope Francis in his latest World Communications day message.''

Presenting the Salesian Social Communication System, Father Fernandes, introduced the multi-faceted programme and invited the participants to ''Be aware that we are creators, contributors and consumers in the ever evolving 'digital continent' which is the 'virtual playground'. What we write and post is out there for the entire world to see, since the Don Bosco Society is a mammoth network active in 133 countries,'' he said.

Ashley D'Mello, former Assistant Editor, Times of India, Mumbai walked the keen participants through a highly interactive session of news analysis, techniques of interview-reporting and news-writing.

Chris Valentino tackled the issue of fake news in his 30-minute address. In his discussion entitled ''Stop Faking It: detecting, comprehending, fixing, confronting'' he clarified and showcased the huge complexity of decoding Social Media News saying, ''We need to be informed citizens, act as catalysts to create and sustain a healthy ecosystem of truth-tellers amidst the alarmingly prevalent subgenre of misinformation and disinformation on social media platforms.''

Brian Martins, CEO Fotomartin combined theory with practicals during his session on digital photography. He dealt with DSLR and smartphone photography basics demonstrating the use of composing, framing, lighting, and editing for the purpose of effective photojournalism.

Karen Laurie, Editor, Bosco Information Service (BIS) joined the discourse via skype from Canada, emphasising the 5W's + 1H formula, and engaging the participants in the process of active reportage. Laurie demonstrated through connective interactivity, the know-how of 'headlines, bylines, the main content body and the wrap up', through the process of 'interviewing, writing and publishing'.

Acclaimed RJ Bosco Rodrigues of the All India Radio (AIR FM) enlivened the proceedings on a cloud-enveloped balmy Mumbai day, with a charming session on youth radio programmes, the art of public speaking and voice modulation. Rodrigues regaled the participants with actual work-anecdotes pepped with his inimitable humourous sensibility.

Thereafter, Philip Varghese - City Editor of The Afternoon, Mumbai took over the reins and pressed on the pedal narrating his foray into journalism. Varghese had the participants thinking, questioning and listening in rapt attention as he drove home his life as a news reporter. With pertinent references he succinctly summed up saying, ''If you want to be good journalists, hone your peace-time skills and work your way through journalism from the spot, which is the most difficult even after earning laurels from a journalism-finishing school.''

The workshop comprised senior school and college teachers, lecturers, media aspirants, communication specialists, citizen journalists, grassroot social activists, and budding media students from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. ''I just loved the entire programme,'' Brother Joyston Machado said, adding, ''This was a tremendous learning experience.'' Rajubhai Parmar said, ''I hope that when I get back, I will be able to practice what I learnt here and contribute to the local Gujarati press.'' Father Alex D'Mello from Sindhudurg said, ''I am fortunate to have had this experience. Thank you Don Bosco.''
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