MARGINALIA: Media studies 2.0 in presidential debate 2.0

MAKATI CITY (MindaNews / 28 March) – Not too long ago, the study of media would deal with the post-Gutenbergian mass communication through a small number of key forms like the printed books, newspapers, cinema, radio, and television. It was characterized by the writer or reporter shaping the ideas and opinions of the recipient or reader about the events.

This is what mass communications students call ‘Media Studies 1.0’.

With the advent of the computer technology and the paving of the information superhighway, there is now a murky distinction between the news producer and receiver. Gone are the days when the news production owners had the sole monopoly of the creation and production of the events’ narratives.

Through social networking sites, for instance, the ‘conventional’ news receiver could easily react to the news, thereby shaping the opinion of other ‘receivers’. Most often, the news of an event would shape the trend and even the outcome of that event.

In a speech a few years ago about the moral burden of the journalists or media people whom I described as the ‘modern-day poets’, I cited the case of a septuagenarian wife whose fellow septuagenarian husband was reported in the main news outlets to be missing. After sometime, the missing old man was found through the voluntary efforts of young netizens who had helped in locating him throughout Metro Manila and the surrounding towns.

This ambiguity concerning the news producer-versus-receiver and event-versus-news divide is dubbed ‘Media Studies 2.0’.

Once again, Media Studies 2.0 can be gleaned from the second round of Presidential Debate held in Cebu on March 20, 2016. Liberal Party Presidential Candidate Mar Roxas’ “Muslim na mananakop” (“Muslim invaders”) remark provoked various reactions from the social media.

For instance, immediately after the debate, Iyyah Sinarimbo, a young Muslim netizen posted at 10:41 pm (March 20) her “Open Letter to Mar Roxas” in her Facebook page. And it has instantly gone viral. So far, the post has already earned at least 500 ‘Likes’ and 6,796 ‘Shares’.

Then the social media reactions soon turned into another news item in both the print and online media platforms: “Pro-BBL Roxas Hit for ‘Muslim na Mananakop’ Line in Debate” (Rappler, March 21, 2016), “Mar Roxas Hit for ‘Trumped’ Muslim na Mananakop Remark” (Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 21, 2016) “Roxas Blasted, Defended for ‘Muslim na Mananakop’ Term in Presidential Debate” (Kicker Daily News, March 21, 2016), “Roxas Defends Self Over ‘Anti-Muslim Slur’” (Sun Star, March 21, 2016), “Mar Hit for ‘Muslim’ Remark” (Bandera, March 22, 2016), and “Must Read: An Open Letter from a Muslim Netizen For Mar Roxas Goes Viral on Social Media!” (Cebu and Davao Journey, March 22, 2016).

In a nutshell, Media Studies 2.0 deals with a news story (by the news ‘producer’) that may incite reaction (of the ‘receiver’) which may become another news story (news ‘receiver’ becoming ‘producer’) which, in turn, may elicit yet another reaction (by another ‘receiver’ to the news ‘product’ of the earlier ‘receiver’).

Be that as it may, the Election Day will tell if this online reaction would turn into an offline vote.

[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Mansoor L. Limba, PhD in International Relations, is a writer, educator, blogger, and translator (from Persian into English and Filipino) with tens of written and translation works to his credit on such subjects as international politics, history, political philosophy, Islamic finance, jurisprudence (fiqh), theology (‘ilm al-kalam), Qur’anic sciences and exegesis (tafsir), hadith, ethics, and mysticism. He can be reached at [email protected] or http://www.mlimba.com.]