Children in Media Experiments 2012

A Brief Report On
Children in Media Experiments)
A Participatory Media initiative by Department of Journalism and Mass Communication
EFL University, Shillong campus in Partnership with UNICEF Assam
(16 October – 15 November 2012)

The English and Foreign Languages University, Shillong campus in partnership with UNICEF Assam held a workshop on the 16th and 17th of October 2012 on the theme of Participatory Media. The workshop was particularly meant towards collaborating on an advocacy initiative on Participatory Media to the Journalism and Mass Communication students in their undergraduate as well as post graduation studies, the purpose of which was to initiate a process whereby the goal of realizing that children in communities can actually accomplish roles where they take informed decisions, especially on issues affecting them. Hence the scope of the short-term partnership with UNICEF was planned to inculcate the philosophy and provide students of the department to have a hands-on learning experience. Through this it was hoped the students’ will have the opportunity to understand the perceptions and attitudes of the audience segments and begin to reflect on existing social norms and contexts within which people live and interact. This exposure will help the prospective journalists to make better attempt to create spaces for the unheard voices, especially those of children and children's issues in mainstream media and in developing a sensitivity to better understand how to represent news ethically.

It was initiated through a two – day intensive workshop which was followed by a hands-on experience among students who worked in different groups to develop participatory media outputs for video. The entire process started on 16th of October 2012 and concluded with a dissemination of the participatory media outputs produced by the children of the community.

This one month long project of participatory media is titled “Children in Media Experiments, (CHIME)” which was done in three different phases:

  • Pre production.
  • Production.
  • Post Production and Dissemination.

The Chief Guest, of the inaugural function, Ms. Suchorita Bardhan, Communications Officer, UNICEF Assam inaugurated the workshop. The function was presided over by Dr T.K. Bamon, HoD of English Language Education, EFL University Shillong Campus. Ms. Suchorita Bardhan and Mr. Debarun Dutta, the resource person for the workshop, were offered felicitations.

The introductory session started with participants expressing their expectations and concerns about learning new ideas from the workshop, developing a better understanding about the issues pertaining to media in general and ‘participatory media’ in particular, and sharing experiences. The concerns centered on the ability to exercise the freedom of speech, and how they can bring their theoretical knowledge to practice. Later in the session, the participants shared their views on what ‘participatory media’ is all about. And through interaction the students tried to evolve a working definition of ‘participatory media’.

In the following session the participants experienced a practical demonstration of the ‘politics of exclusion’, where some voices can be suppressed or remain unheard. It was highlighted that though certain activity may apparently seem to be a collective initiative or movement, it can actually be illusion and mass participation and common voice may still remain a dream. Later, the participants tried to discover some of the basic underlying issues and concerns that are crucial to socio-political scenario of the country. And tried to figure out where does media stand in all these and what is its role in bringing about a positive and constructive change to the present situation. The team building exercise was carried out through a basketball in the basketball court of the campus.

In the fourth session of the workshop, a group of nine students from the department of Journalism and Mass Communication was divided into three teams consisting of three members each.

Team 1: (Pynkhraw Dkhar, Shynna Lyngdoh and Bedanta Gahatraj)
Team 2: (Avishek Suman, Sonam Sultana Shah and Pyndaplang Ryntathiang)
Team 3: (Aaron Lemtur, Fenella Nongbri and Sanjeev Sharma)

Each team developed their own strategy of how to go and develop their rapport building process in a chosen village “Mylliem village” 20kms away from the city of Shillong. Each team planned different age group of children in the chosen village and presented their plan of production before the resource person. The presentation was followed by discussion on each of their strategies, the resource person suggested few inputs to their pre-production plan.

The three teams headed for the Mylliem village accompanied by the Resource person and the Coordinator of the workshop where they carried on the Rapport Building process. Each of the team proceeded with their work and at the end of the day the three teams came back from the Mylliem village to the EFL University, Shillong campus and briefed the resource person about their experience throughout the day in rapport building process. The resource person and the students sat together to make the necessary changes they require to make regarding the strategy prepared and experience on the field. All the three teams were ready to go for production from the next day and so got together and prepared their necessary arrangement along with their cameras and other items

On the following day, the three teams reached the venue accompanied by a facilitator for Cinematography and the coordinator of the workshop, who documented the production process of the three teams, which included the rapport building, media training exercise to the chosen children for the exercise. Ms Santidora Nongpluh documented the still photography. The teams returned back by 5:30pm to their respective places and captured their day’s activities in their hardware for postproduction process.

Having finished their production process they returned back to their places where they downloaded the footages for the next phase.

The three teams was given an orientation on the methods and aesthetics of editing by the facilitator of the post production process for 3 hours along with a screening of few clips to give a good understanding of the pros and cons of editing.

The three teams took their respective desktops where they have started their work of making a rough timeline of the footages and later showed their ideas and timeline to the facilitator. The facilitator suggested few inputs to their work. After the inputs the teams began their actual work in the studio and started their subtitling work for the films. Simultaneously the editing work of the process documentation also started in the studio by the facilitator and the coordinator.

The teams titled their respective films from the name they received from the children in the Mylliem village who shoot and scripted the film. The subtitling was added to all the films along with the audio track. The facilitator also completed the “Making of CHIME” along with the coordinator. The output of the process documentation film was taken in a DVD format. The unmixed version of the process documentation was also copied in a DVD for dissemination process. The three teams submitted the final copy of the films in a DVD format (both mixed and unmixed) to the coordinator on 05 Nov, 2012 after revising few aspects as suggested by the facilitator of the post production process.

The dissemination process started with the introduction to the workshop and the stages it covered by the coordinator of the workshop. The three teams introduced their respective video outputs and screened them accordingly. The making of the film was also screened during the public screening. The titles of the four films which were screened are:

  • Social work and Mid day meal (Team 1).
  • Journey (Team 2).
  • A wish (Team 3).
  • Making of CHIME.

Post screening, the students were called upon for sharing their experience and also clarified few questions and responded fairly. Prof K. C. Baral, Director, EFL University, Shillong campus, Ms. Suchorita Bardhan, Communications Officer, UNICEF Assam, attended the screening. Faculty members of the department of Journalism and Mass Communication and other department and students of the campus were also present. The Director of the campus congratulated the students for their efforts in the workshop during his address. Ms. Suchorita Bardhan too addressed the gathering on the importance of the participatory media and congratulated the teams for their positive output. The workshop was ended with the vote of thanks offered by Mr. Abir Suchiang, in charge, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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