Kabataan News Network or KNN (Youth News Network) is a 30-minute weekly magazine TV show produced by young Filipinos. It has 12 bureaus located in 12 provinces in the Philippines. The bureaus' reporters have been trained on TV production and were provided with the necessary equipment to produce their stories. UNICEF Philippines funds the project. There are about 100 young reporters who shoot, interview, write and report the stories aired on KNN. It is the only program in the Philippines that allows young people to take charge and speak out and a great example of how broadcasters and youth can collaborate.
MediaSnackers (an online forum for information on youth and media) recently featured an interview with a youth journalist from KNN. His experience shows firsthand how getting youth involved in media can empower them to address their rights.
INTERVIEW WITH RAMON ANGELO P. SUPE
Ramon Angelo P. Supe started his broadcasting exposure at the age of 17 when he joined the tele magazine show made by youth for the youth, Kabataan News Network or KNN (Youth News Network). He is part of the Manila Bureau of KNN.
Now only in his 3rd year college at the University of the Philippines where he is taking up Broadcast Communication, Angelo has produced, shot, and written a hodgepodge of feature stories that affect and involve the youth. Among these are the scavenger kids of Payatas garbage dumpsite who re-cook garbage for food and the Muslim teens of Manila who experience prejudice from non-Muslims.
What being a youth reporter is like.
Being a KNN youth reporter puts me in a position where I can tell everybody the concerns of the Filipino youth and explain to our viewers (youngsters and adults alike) the effects and impacts of these issues to the lives of young people. Being a reporter exposes me to a lot of realities and challenges me to act on some pressing issues—actions that are not necessarily initiated by me, but actions from those that are in better positions that are sparked by our reports. Being a young reporter is something I will treasure for the rest of my life for as cliche as it may sound, we only pass through adolescence once and I am proud that before I leave this stage, I am being able to engage and tap people through our features that affect and involve our peers.
What issues do you focus on and feel passionate about?
Issues in KNN revolve around the youth's concerns—our identities, our emotions, our community, our dreams. Personally, I feel passionate about the plight of the children who live in unlikely homes like those young people living under the bridge or in the cemetery or beside the railroad. Needless to say, shelter is one of our basic needs as a person and children cannot fully develop themselves (physically, mentally, emotionally) in those un-conducive places. I want to explore how their everyday life there is by immersing myself in those habitats of theirs.
How does kabataannews.com help you and your peers communicate your message?
KNN helps me express my sentiments and feeling on different issues—from simple family problems to the socio-political issues. KNN serves as an avenue for us, the youth, to present the news and stories that occupy and engage us. It is also where we learn other young people's experiences that can give a lesson or two to others. KNN is the perfect venue where young people from almost all islands of the archipelago converge and interact.
Why do you think it's important for young people to create news media?
It is so important for young people like me to create news media because it's about time to hear our voices and opinions. It's about time to focus the limelight to our underestimated sector that carries that optimism and idealism. As young people, we have so many concerns and it's only us, the youth, which can best present these concerns.
How has being involved in this project helped you personally?
Personally, involving myself in this endeavor widens my horizon both as a communication student and as an individual. Through the show, I meet a lot of people from almost all spectra of life and I go to places I normally don't go to. Interviewing people—from public officials to youth on the street—broadens my knowledge. This is also where I learned the technicalities of television production (like handling camera, framing subjects, etc.) and where I developed that working ethics as I mingle with competent professionals in the media industry. Being in this worthwhile project equips me with the exposure and experience I need once I step out of college and pursue a career in this mega world of mass communication.
Thanks to MediaSnackers for granting permission to reprint this article. You can read the article in its original form at http://www.mediasnackers.com/report/2006/July/14/105/