Aspirar 2.0

Aspirar 2.0, a media skills initiative on Journalism and Photography, organized by the International Youth Alliance for Peace (IYAP), along with the Rotaract Club of University of Colombo, Faculty of Management and Finance was held on the 21st of August 2015 at the faculty premises. The discussions were conducted as four sessions with the participation of several professionals in the fields of media, journalism and blogging. 


#1 What to publish on a newspaper and what not
The first session on media ethics was conducted by Mr. Sukumar Rockwood, the Chairman of Sri Lanka Press Complaints Commission (PCCSL). PCCSL is the 1st self regulatory body set up in South Asia to handle complaints with regard to newspaper complaints in all three languages of Sinhala, English and Tamil.


The session was quite interactive and comprised of the topics; the parties that support the PCCSL, the reasons for the establishment of PCCSL, the parties that can complain about misstatements or misquoting on newspapers and the instances where one can complain. The session was ever so most interesting with pictorial and practical examples of actual scenarios the facilitator has come across during his extensive profession of almost 20 years.


Further the gathering was versed in regarding the rules and codes on editors’ work and the complaint procedure for a miscommunication on newspapers and how the paper should carry the correction and the results of complaint which is to work towards an accurate and responsible press in Sri Lanka. The session was concluded by providing an insight on the responsibilities of the PCCSL and on the programmes conducted by the PCCSL, namely, “Doing Ethics” workshop for provincial journalists, “Media Studies” program for students etc. The participants were handed out with publications of PCCSL by Mr. Sukumar to enhance the knowledge on journalism and to create interest in taking up journalism as a profession. 

Mr. Sukumar Rockwood from PCCSL (Source: IYAP)

#2 Imagination creates reality
Second session of the program was conducted by one of the most amazing and a must meet individual with a bold personality, Mrs. Sulochana Mohan, the Chief Editor of Ceylon Today newspaper. It was an out of the usual presentation guided session but gave a lot to the participants as she unveiled her experiences in the profession of journalism and bosomed the interest towards journalism within the youth who attended the program.  She revealed the level to which she has been able to influence people and how she represents people who are not in a state to make themselves hear in the society through creative writing and feature writing. 


The discussion was extensively detailed as she explained on what creative writing is, which simply is all about writing on what you feel based on your imagination or on a personal experience or a particular character that live amongst us in the society. Also on how to develop and structure a topic and how to begin with an introduction and how to characterize a person and also on the importance of pictures when relating a story as pictures carry a message and an untold story.

Mrs. Sulochana Mohan (Source: IYAP)

To wrap up the session Mrs. Sulochana gave away some noteworthy tips on how to be a journalist and how to instill an interest within oneself to start up with writing. Since journalism in a way is a social service as they educate people she advised the participants to improve the fluency in few languages and most importantly to write, to have fun and be entertained with what you write.


On a personal note she inspired me to dream, to dream so hard as dreams are forced to manifest themselves into reality.


#How to figure out a vision on what to communicate
The follow up speaker was an award winning young individual who represents the youth through her writing, on social media, blogs and twitter, Miss. Thisuri Wanniarachchi. Within a short span of time she briefed the participants on how to figure out the vision on what to communicate and the end goal. She went on to discuss on the importance of building a thoughtful foundation and having a proper structure. On finding the medium that would suit oneself better, let it be blog, facebook, twitter or instagram. 


She also spoke on how to break down a piece to generate clarity to the reader and instructions on how to make an article more personal to make it more appealing to the audience. She wound up the session by proving the participants with guidelines on how to mark one’s presence on twitter, by knowing who you are, who your audience is and what you want to talk about.


# Blogging
Final session of the Aspirar 2.0 was on blogging conducted by the Chief Editor of readme.lk, Mr. Yudhanjaya Wijerathna. Rather than a speech or a presentation it was more or less a casual conversation where Mr. Wijerathna went ahead to describe about the history of blogging that dated back to the early 1900s and how it has evolved to the state it is today. 

Mr. Yudhanjaya Wijerathna (Source:IYAP)

All the participants were questioned on what they would blog about given they had a space on social media to express their views and every individual had unique interesting topics varying from domestic violence, backstage life of the music world, travel and education. It was told by Mr. Wijerathna that people blog often to voice their opinion, to rant for entertainment and to provide information. He also said that it is always better to cater to a niche that isn’t saturated, to grab the attention.  


He further emphasized the significance of choosing a font and branding and picking up a visual theme, since the first impression matters no matter what the situations are, and on the  importance of following up. The session was quite useful to those who attended representing our club since our blog is in initial stages and through the session the members were able to grasp a lot for the progress of the club’s appearance on social media and also to generate an interest towards journalism. 

It’s noteworthy to mention one common statement all the speakers highlighted: They all believed that their aim is to change the world, and writing keeps them alive while they are at it. We may not be good at writing to inspire a community, but changing one person is all that matters.


Written by-

photo Rtr. Shalini Wijewardana
Vice President 2015/16 

  

 

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