Rappler exec urges EV campus scribes to use social media responsibly

BAYBAY CITY, Leyte – In a digital era where everyone could be a story-teller, Rappler’s Head of Research Gemma Bagayaua-Mendoza has urged campus journalists from at least 25 state universities and colleges in Eastern Visayas to exercise proper use of social media.

Mendoza emphasized in her keynote speech during the opening of the 2018 Regional Tertiary School Press Conference (RTSPC) at Visayas State University – Main Campus today (Sept. 19) the consequences of spreading fake news without checking its source and validity.

“Sometimes in social media, viral can be fatal,” she said.

The former editor-in-chief of ABS-CBN’s online news arm warned the campus journalists that while social media platforms could be used to promote social good, they may also be used to do the exact opposite.

“Social media is giving you a voice. How powerful is that voice? Your audience is the world,” she said.

Mendoza described the interaction of the Filipino community in Facebook, citing that over 74 million Filipinos are using the most popular cyberspace platform developed in 2004. To date, Filipinos are spending an average of nine hours daily for use of Facebook.

Mendoza discussed in brief the situation of the Philippine press, including attacks and various harassments found online, fake news and hoaxes, and political polarization.

The RTSPC is an annual gathering that aims to educate campus journalists and advisers from SUCs in Region 8 the basics and trends of campus paper writing. It also aims to recognize the journalistic abilities of the students through various contents and widen the network of campus journalists and advisers throughout the region.

This year, VSU – Main Campus hosts the four-day conference that will run from Sept. 19 to Sept. 22 with the theme “Science, stories and communities.” (Story by Ronieth Anne Arceo)

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