Media network steps up growth in CALABARZON RegionThursday, September 20, 2012 05:19 AM Views : 126DOST IV-A S&T Media Service
Lowly beginnings underscored creation of this S&T information media network in Region IV-A.
Treated as of secondary importance and earmarked insignificant budgets, the Regional Science and Information Task Force Region IV-A Chapter or RSITAF IV-A is now 15 years old. Established in August 27, 1997, it has grown from a 23-member group to a 160-media network that it is today.
When created, most regarded its future as highly dubious, citing lack of financial support and attitudinal problems as valid concerns.
Nonetheless, its initiator, Adelia M. Guevarra, Public Information Officer of DOST CALABARZON looked on ahead undisturbed.
Guevarra credits members of RSITAF IV-A as the linchpin in the staying power and success of the media network. Saying, “A corporate agency such as ours can only do so much. Diffusion of an idea from a created information material is highly dependent on the network, such as RSITAF IV-A, that it rides on.”
She went on to cite authors Deanne (2004), and Waisbord and Larson (2005) who said that development programs use generic communication strategies without firm theoretical underpinnings. She agrees with the authors that cited also limited budget and human resources as culprits.
Guevarra elaborated, “I batted for RSITAF IV-A even when others believed otherwise. Our members initiated localization of information based on specific audiences’ preference. This interfaced with our agency’s need to promote S&T culture in the CALABARZON Region. The network has thus made the creation and distribution of S&T information strategic.”
RSITAF IV-A provided then and continues to provide today newspaper readers, radio station listeners, and TV viewers a variety of S&T information and their sources.
With these, the information materials and the network were thus able to address vital concerns. These include agency mandates, news content, distribution channels, variety of actors, and timing of availability of S&T information.
Recognizing strategic values
The network has thus stepped up growth in the region. It created opportunities for development programs to become more known hence effective.
S&T interventions are now more vernacular and specific to local contexts.
Among the more widely adopted S&T programs include those on technology upgrading of small enterprises, food safety quality assurance, and alternative energy from biomass fermentation or biogas Widespread adoption of the technology on biogas covers 16 provinces and 60 municipalities in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, length and width of the network’s membership include five private and public Websites. Two of these sites syndicate news to the national and international media.
On the other hand, the print media members of RSITAF IV-A devote an average of 46 column centimeters of newspaper space per article or 3,160 col cm per year. This is roughly equivalent to one whole page of newspaper space per month. Of these, 33% appears on the front page as headline.
Overall, DOST CALABARZON generated savings of Php7,000 per article in publication cost or a total of Php8.50M for the past 18 years.
Savings generated through free broadcast of public service announcements (PSAs) by member radio stations total Php2B for the same period. PSAs were broadcasted with an annual frequency of 815,000 times.
For varied and extensive dissemination of S&T programs and projects, radio programs which broadcasted internationally were made use of. These programs specifically catered to Overseas Filipino Workers in Europe and the Middle East.
In a working paper for the World Bank, Nobuya Inagaki, aptly sums up how RSITAF IV-A realized development through communication. He said that communication, “… should make development initiatives scalable.”
Borrowing from Inagaki, RSITAF IV-A addressed varying requirement for local, regional, national and international levels of action. It facilitated interactions between socially, politically, and culturally disconnected groups and ideas, “… between indigenous knowledge and science.”