SSP India-Nigeria: Training workship in journalism and creative writing

Over 60 people including  working journalists from Print and Electronic media , College lecturers, Social workers , Nuns, and Seminarians, actively  participated in a 3-day Workshop in journalism and creative writing at Eluru in West Godavari Dist of Andhra Pradesh from October 5  – 7, 2012.

Entitled “Unlock Your Potential” the workshop was organized by  Subodha Nilayam Communications,  Eluru.  Organised  in collaboration with the Media Office of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India ( CBCI), the workshop was part of different media-related programmes held nationwide, coinciding with the 2-year -long preparations for the forthcoming Centenary of the Pauline Family, founded by the Blessed James Alberione,  in Alba, Italy.

Fr Alberione often used to say, "we must flood the markets with Christian (wholesome) literature and media material".  If this Alberionian dream has to be realized , sooner or later, we need to have thousands of  professionally trained  journalists who can  purposefully use the media for the uplift of the human society.  It is this conviction that  prompted the Paulines to launch this training workshop for  journalists,  to help them face the challenging task.

Most  Rev. Thumma Bala, Archbishop of Hyderabad and Chairperson of the Andhra Pradesh Bishop’s Conference’s Media Commission,  inaugurated the  Workshop at a special session held at St Theresa’s  College Auditorium on October 5,  in the presence of a large audience, consisting of  college students, lecturers, representatives of major newspapers,and special invitees from all walks of life.

Highlighting the role of journalists , in our society , the Archbishop said that  the print media, specially the newspapers, continue to play a vital role in opinion formation , and in upholding the democratic and secular values of our country. People still wait for the morning newspapers for a more objective and reliable version of what they saw on TV, the previous evening, he concluded.

Mr M. Ramesh, IPS,  S.P. West Godavari  Dist, the Chief Guest, warned  young people against  careless and excessive use of mobile  phones,  internet and other social media, as these pose a huge security threat to all sections of society, and in particular to young minds in our country.

Most Rev. Mallavarapu Prakash, Archbishop of Visakapatnam, and Apostolic Administrator of Eluru presided over the function. Congratulating the Society of St Paul, for organizing a programme of this magnitude together with the CBCI Media Commission, he said that the Paulines should come up with more such valuable programmes, during the year leading to the Centenary of  their Congregation.

One of the other highlights  of the programme was the releasing of two Telugu books published by St Pauls, under the  banner of Jeevandhara Publications : Archbishop Thumma Bala released Devudu Manavudaina Vela (The Day God Became Man) —25 Christmas Homilies,  by Fr P. Bala of Eluru diocese.  Archbishop Prakash released Vadiponi Prema Pushpalu  (Unfading Flowers of Love), Telugu version of the original work in Malayalam by  Jaimon Kumarakom, a well-known Catholic journalist from Kerala.

The venue of the workshop  now moved to the APSSS Training Centre, situated at Xavier Nagar, where competent  resource persons took over 12 sessions, covering all the  important aspects of journalism and creative writing , over the next two and half days. Resource persons included Fr George Plathottam, sdb, Director NISCORT( Delhi), Mr G. Nagaraja (Special Correspondent, The Hindu), Mr B. Jayaraju (Bureau Chief, VARTHA)), Sr Helen Albuquerque, FSP (Secunderabad),  Dr George Kaitholil ( St Pauls, Mumbai) Mr D. Abraham ( Executive Director, APSSS), and Fr Alfonso Elengikal.

Basic Skills in Journalism,  Ethics in Journalism, P.R. in Reporting,  Role of Creative Visuals in journalism, Qualities of a Good Reporter,  Art of Writing Articles , Public Speaking Skills, etc. were among the highly relevant topics covered by the experts.

The workshop came to a happy end on Sunday, October 7, with a colourful valedictory function, attended by  leading journalists, heads of Institutions and prominent citizens. Particpatioin Certificates  were now presented to those who attended all the sessions, by the dignitaries on the dais: Mr Manickal Rao( President, Electronic Media Journalists Association), Dr George Plathottam ( Director, NISCOT), Sr Mercy ( Principal, St Theresa’s College)  and Fr G. Moses( Correspondent,  Amalodbhavi  School).

Speaking on the occasion , Fr Plathottam said: " journalists play a vital role in promoting social and moral values , and in achieving progress and human development . Taking great risks to their own lives, they keep us informed of what is happening around the world”. He hoped that the workshop  helped working journalists and would be journalists to understand their role better, and play that role effectively.