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Want a brighter career in communication?

/ 12:14 AM March 09, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—It is a communicator’s market. The opportunities are aplenty. Go for it.

Whether you want to be a TV news anchor, talk show host, public relations officer, publications editor, marketing communication manager, director of corporate communication, creative director, copywriter, film director, journalist, scriptwriter, reporter or an  entertainer, pursue it. The future is bright.

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Brighter if you got what it takes: love for the languages the world speaks, extraordinary knack for original creation, invention, discovery, an amazing personality and ability to express words entertainingly, written or verbally.

Brightest if your passion never dips, a dose of luck is on your side, and it is written—you’re destined to make it.

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Last month, around 300 broadcast communication students from the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication listened to communication specialists, all successful in their chosen fields, talk about pursuing a career in communication.

The career talk symposium titled “Track and Field” was launched by the UP Broadcasting Association (BroadAss) to celebrate its 43rd year of “Passion, Glory and Excellence.”

The college has produced some of the country’s best and most illustrious names in the field of media and advertising.

Through the college’s Broadcast Department and Student Council, the organization felt it was important to conduct an event that would inform students of the infinite opportunities available for them outside the academe.

“We wanted an event that will provide a venue to inspire our fellow students and help them decide the academic track that best suits their potentials and interests,” said Irene Pavia, marketing officer of BroadAss and Angela Garzon, project head.

Freshmen, sophomores, juniors and graduating students attended the event.

Award-winning journalist and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, well-known film director Mario de los Reyes and this author addressed the jampacked media studio of UPCMC.

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Ressa, former Jakarta bureau chief of CNN and head of ABS-CBN’s news and current affairs unit, spoke about “The Courage to Do What Is Right.”

In a world where doing the wrong thing seems to be the only way to get ahead, Ressa told the students: “You have to find the courage to say no.”

“Corrupt people don’t think they’re corrupt. Evil people don’t think they’re evil,” she said.

She quoted some powerful lines from Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point,” how little things make a difference like drawing a line in the sand and not crossing it.

Ressa’s insightful lectures resonated across the auditorium: “The more you say no, the easier it becomes. The more you do the right thing, the harder it is to do the wrong thing.”

She took a snipe at journalists who accept bribes and whose excuses are very familiar: “Everyone is doing it,” “I’d be stupid if I didn’t take it,” “The budget is there anyway,” “I don’t have to do what they want anyway.”

De los Reyes, who directed many gems of Philippine cinema like “Annie Batungbakal,” “High School Circa ’65,” “Bagets,” “Gabun” and the internationally acclaimed “Magnifico,” advised students to go and chase after their dreams.

“Dreams are never impossible to reach. Just do what you need to do: focus and you’ll be closer to reaching them,” he said.

The veteran director, whose film “Magnifico” many cineastes say could have done well in previous Oscar Best Foreign film competition, said, “Never beat around the bush, know what you want and go for it.”

“Magnifico” won many local grand slam awards, including Best Director for the UP Masscom alumnus. Last year, the movie was chosen by noted movie critics as one of the Philippines’ 10 Best Films of the Decade.

In the international scene, “Magnifico” and De los Reyes brought honors to the Philippines. The film and its director won top prizes in Berlin, Hawaii and the Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic) international festivals.

For those leaning toward a career in advertising, this author reminded them not to be afraid of failures or be bullied by them. “Fail the failure. Failure is just a word,” he said.

While it is cool, fun, glamorous to be in advertising, it requires a lot of hardwork, patience, flair, emotional investments, long hours and talent.

“If you don’t quit, it is satisfying, flattering and you may even get revered like rock stars as in Brazil,” he added.

The crowd was treated to a couple of entertaining TV commercials and print campaigns done by the author locally, as well as during his stint as expat in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia.

The future generation of Filipino media men and advertising practitioners also got a glimpse of the advertising process and how it operates.

After the three spoke, a question-and-answer forum followed. A student stood up and asked: Why do Filipinos go abroad to work and what can we learn from foreign commercials?

“Filipino talents are in demand abroad. We learn from other cultures, they learn from us. As the whole world gets smaller and smaller because of media communication that’s gone totally digital, we need an amalgam of cultures to benchmark ourselves without losing our uniqueness.”

A former broadcaster, who now shares his vast knowledge gained from years of experience, made an interesting insight: “At the end of it all, we all learn that it is not important what degree we have. Though most employees would be happy to ask for an English major for publications and broadcast media, it is the content that matters most.”

Many successful Filipinos in communication did internships without pay or for a pitiful amount. They stuck around until they got noticed and eventually rose to where they are now.

Are you a student who is seriously considering a career in communication? Take the following advice from Ressa: “Be excellent at what you do. Be self-aware. Take responsibility for what you say and what you do. Find your allies. You’ll need help.”

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