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by Almar E. Villanueva

John Nery (center, seated) poses with the participants and organizers at the end of the 2-day training at BSA Twin Towers, Mandaluyong City.

John Nery, a veteran columnist and editor of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, spoke before 20 regional Information and IT officers of the DILG on July 5-6, 2017 for the second batch of the Digital Media Management Training: Strategies in Writing.

This two-day training tackled fresh perspectives in writing. Specifically, it focused on teaching participants how to write lean, fast, and viral. This will come in handy when DILG writers come-up with their respective publications, press releases, and even information drives for the projects and programs of the department.

At the onset of the training, Nery laid down the three platforms of media. First is the Standard Media wherein news is defined by professional gatekeepers and the measure of success is setting the agenda. Next is the Search Media, a kind of media platform where the searchers plus algorithm define what news is and their success is determined by finding useful information on the internet. The last kind is the Social Media. News in social media is defined by the community, and the “buzz” or the conversation it drives is its success indicator.

After the lecture, Nery also tested the participants’ ability to write fast. He showed a short video clip on a Malacañan press briefing after which he gave the participants around 15 minutes to come up with a news story on the said press briefing. Outputs were emailed to him for feedbacks.

Nery also dissected the concept of virality. He gave useful insights on what makes a content viral. But he already forewarned the participants, “There is no secret formula to making your content viral.”

Towards the end of the training, there were also some refreshers on the technical aspect of writing. Another topic which Nery touched on was how to write lean. He emphasized the need to omit needless words, clarify the focus and create a sense of movement, among others.

“All good writing is swimming under the water and holding your breath.” This is one of the quotes by F. Scott Fitzgerald left by the speaker for the writers to appreciate the beauty of writing.

“Writing is an act of will. Set a time, write every day, and write as you can,” Nery said. “But let the subconscious work, too. Absorb your notes, take a walk, and feed your intuition,” he added.

Workshops and quizzes followed the lectures wherein participants wrote haikus, news, and articles on the selected best practice or project of the region.