By Hannah Patricia Abril | News Writer
Vol. XCI No. 16
Jan. 24, 2020
Silliman University (SU) College of Mass Communication hosts annual Marshal McLuhan Forum Series on Responsible Media with Patricia Evangelista, an award-winning multimedia journalist as the guest speaker. The event was held at the Multi-Purpose Room, Instructional Media and Technology Center last Jan 23.
The topic for this year was Covering Trauma: Reporting for the Imagination, where it focuses journalism in tragic events that occur within the country. Mr. Carlo Figueroa, Public Affairs Attaché of the Embassy of Canada, and an assistant professorial lecturer at the Department of Communication of De La Salle University-Manila introduced the guest speaker.
“She has chosen the topic Covering Trauma: Reporting for the Imagination, which she will discuss covering the nature of traumatic events and how journalists should approach victims of trauma,” Figueroa said.
“Before I close, let me just say that Patricia’s work is commendable for raising the bar in journalism. And she is now paving the way for a brand of outstanding narrative journalism. Her work shows us how responsible journalism makes a vital contribution to elevate in a social discourse and issues with national and international importance,” he added.
Evangelista, a Manila-based journalist working for Rappler explained, “Trauma Journalism as an attempt to make the public imagine.”
“You cannot move, you cannot hear, if you cannot see.” Evangelista said during her lecture. “So, my rule of thumb is this: if they drown, I have to know enough to drown with them so I can tell you what I saw.”
Along with Evangelista’s works are Eighty-eight, a documentary about the Typhoon Yolanda back in 2013 and 58, another documentary about the Ampatuan massacre in 2009. Both works were showcased during the forum. Evangelista told the audience that nobody is bulletproof; physically, mentally, or emotionally.
“For many young people in this room who think journalism might be a mean to save the world, wear bulletproof vests at the same time, that’s not the job. The job is to keep the record straight and define the truth and to tell the story,” Evangelista stated.
Evangelista is a trauma journalist specializing in disaster, conflict, and development issues. She is a multimedia and investigative reporter for Rappler, producing long-form narrative stories, analysis pieces, and short documentaries.
After her lecture, the forum panelists consisting of Mary Judaline Flores, manager of Phil. News Agency; Roi Anthoni Lomotan, news reporter of the Philippine Information Agency; and Jameela Antoniette Mendoza, editorial assistant of the SU Office of Information and Publication (OIP); gave insights on the lecture.
According to Lomotan, the Marshal McLuhan forum series is a very insightful event that allows the people to see journalists in a non-journalist capacity and discuss their advocacies. Flores shared that the journalism trade in Dumaguete is dying. She views this as unfortunate that graduates of Journalism or Mass Communication tend to go somewhere else.
“Perhaps this is a challenge to the journalism schools here to offer some kind of basic training for the practicing journalists, because that’s what we need here. There are only a few of us left that are actually trying our best to tell that stories that we too have limitations,” Flores added.
When asked how she copes in the trauma, Evangelista answered that it was hard for people around her, including her parents and friends. She said that there were nightmares, trauma, and sleepless nights in which she encountered.
During the open forum, OIP Director Melita Aguilar asked a personal question, if there was an iota of regret of what she is doing since Evangelista had also trained in Silliman to be a creative writer.
In which Evangelista replied, “Dumaguete taught me the value of a sentence and the power it can have. For that, I am grateful.”
Photo by Kyle Andree Bolhano