SIFORDI = C4D (Communication for Development)
MODULE 11. DEVELOPMENT COMMUNICATION PRACTICE
At the end of this module, you should be able to:
- describe the five areas of development communication practice; and
- discuss the traits of a development communication practitioner.
Read Chapter 11 of your text.
Read the Role of Education in Rural Development by Philip Coombs in your Additional Readings (p.53).
Which area of development communication practice would you like to specialise in? Why? Prepare to defend your answer in the DEVC 202 discussion board for Module 11.
Five areas of practice were mentioned in the book. These are: community communication, community/development broadcasting, development journalism, educational communication and science communication. Of these five, my expertise seems to lie in development journalism as my BA is in the said discipline. I can almost say that I have been a practicing development journalist most of my working life. Since I got my BA degree and became a news reporter, I really only took pleasure in reporting stories related to development topics. I never enjoyed reporting about crime and politics. Especially politics. I always felt, whenever I had to sit through politicians’ press conferences, that it was just a waste of my time, not to mention that they were late most of the time.
However, the book limits a development journalist as one who only focuses in print reporting. I believe that in this day and age, the book can revamp the development journalist into someone who informs and interprets development topics and promotes change using old and new media and even mixing them.
I have to say that before I took this course, I had to really think hard because I thought, well, how different is it from my BA degree? I always thought that it is the job of journalists to be the catalysts of change by informing the public of what’s happening around them. Very much like development communication, right? But as I get to know development communication better, I realise that it is very much unlike my BA degree but is a good combination to it. Development communication gives journalism a deeper meaning because it’s not all about information anymore and there is no general public. It is all about having a participatory approach in development. Making sure that the message hits the target and the target does something about the message.
I am fully aware that many journalists also use this approach when they tell stories. However, a journalist cannot get involved in his/her story and cannot take sides. That is how he/she maintains objectivity. If one only has a journalism background, this practice can very well be confusing to the journalist himself and off-putting to his audience, which is, the general public. A background in development communication provides the right tools in the correct practice of the discipline. Finally, one does not have to be confused or even feel guilty. But if a journalist does choose development journalism, ethics might require him to not practice it along with objective reporting, otherwise, the public might get confused with the causes he is fighting for. #