PLDT Inc. (PLDT) and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) enabled the 17th run of SunStar Cebu’s Reaching Out to Future Journalists (ROTFJ) Forum in line with the celebration of Cebu Press Freedom Week 2023.
“PLDT and Smart’s support enabled the communication students from various universities and colleges in Cebu to learn about journalism from those who have practiced it in the capital and even abroad. They gained a lot of insights from hearing from the speakers, whose delivery of their message was not only straight to the point but also engaging and humorous,” said Cherry Ann Lim, Editor-in-Chief at SunStar Cebu.
Veteran journalist and chief of News 5 Luchi Cruz-Valdes was this year’s key guest speaker, equipping over 160 students and aspiring journalists in Cebu with effective ways on how to conduct interviews, particularly for news reporting.
She emphasized the critical role of the press in representing the people. “We are supposed to reflect the opinion, the voice, and the questions of the people. When you are doing your interviews, you are not doing it for yourself, but you are doing it on behalf of your readers or viewers,” she said, urging future journalists to do their job well since actual reality has become more difficult to uncover and report on.
The forum also featured PLDT Digital Corporate Communications Manager Rissa Camongol, who shared practical technological tools and applications to assist journalists in preparing for interviews and writing their stories. In a video presentation, Cathy Yang, First Vice President and Group Head of Corporate Communications at PLDT and Smart, also gave helpful advice to the student participants based on her experience as a long-time journalist and now as a corporate communications leader.
“This forum has really motivated me to become a good communicator for the people. Thank you SunStar, PLDT, and Smart for organizing this activity, which has given student communicators like me the opportunity to meet journalism professionals and get valuable insights from them that we may apply today and in the future,” said Andrian Bilbao, a third-year BA Communication student from Cebu Normal University.
Aside from the insightful presentations and talks, PLDT and Smart also provided raffle prizes, such as load cards, umbrellas, and a smartphone device. The group also deployed booths to assist participants with their inquiries about PLDT and Smart’s products and services.
PLDT and Smart’s efforts to support SunStar Cebu in upskilling communication students is also aligned with the group’s commitment to help the country attain the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 4 on Quality Education.