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KMO caps off 2018 learning events with gender-sensitive news and feature writing seminar-workshop

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by Stella Concepcion R. Britanico

The Knowledge Management Office (KMO) of CPAf ended its learning events series this year with a seminar-workshop on gender-sensitive news and feature writing. Co-organized with and funded by the UPLB Gender Center, the activity was held on November 5-6, 2018 at the Abagatan Ti Manila, Alfonso, Cavite. Ms. Jullie-Ann C. Reyes, university research associate at the Gender Center, and Ms. Laila M. Garcia, freelance consultant and former substitute faculty at the UPLB College of Development Communication, served as resource speakers.

CPAf faculty and researchers who write regularly for the college’s monthly newsletter and annual magazine and selected graduate students participated in the activity. Retired CPAf researcher Evangeline C. Sulabo also attended the seminar-workshop to share possible topics of feature articles for the 2018 In Focus magazine. 

Through lectures and workshop exercises, the 19 participants learned about gender-fair language and the basics of news and feature writing. In the lecture titled “Gender Sensitivity Media and Language,” Ms. Reyes discussed the agents of gender socialization or the factors that affect a person’s gender. She also highlighted media as a tool to promote gender sensitivity in today’s age of technology. “It is unfortunate, however, that instead of promoting gender equality, media is used to further propagate gender stereotyping,” she noted. 

So, what needs to be done? Ms. Reyes suggested the use of gender-fair language in writing and in speech. Gender-free language refers to “words that express no gender bias or no gender is being limited or trivialized;” e.g., use police officer instead of policeman. In addition, Ms. Reyes gave pointers on how to avoid non-sexist language, such as eliminating the generic use of man and sexual stereotyping of roles. Meanwhile, Ms. Garcia talked about “News and Feature Writing” for print and online media. She discussed the principles of clear and effective writing, the elements and structure of a news story, tips in news gathering, the types of lead, the difference between news and feature, the types of feature articles, and the ways to write feature articles. 

Ms. Garcia also covered writing for online media, which follows the old rules of journalism:fairness, attribution, accuracy, relevance, newness. However, she emphasized the additional guidelines in online writing, as online readers often scan information. These include the use of bullet points and lists, subheads, and links. 

Dr. Evelie P. Serrano, KMO head, shared that the seminar-workshop was intended to help CPAf staff and students write articles for the 2018 In Focus magazine, in time for the 20th Founding Anniversary of the College. The KMO learning events also intend to provide avenues for learning and knowledge sharing among CPAf staff and students.

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