NMC 2017 Addresses Communication Challenges Thru Genuine Storytelling

The Most Rev. Dennis Villarojo, DD giving his Keynote Address during the 3rd National Media Convention in Cebu last August 15, 2017. (Photo credit: Julius Penafiel)

Conveying the Church’s message has become more challenging as fake news remain unabated and the use of expletives have become the new normal.

This was expressed by Most Rev. Dennis C. Villarojo. D.D. in his keynote address at the second day of the 3rd National Media Convention (NMC 2017) held at the Betania Retreat House in Cebu City last August 15, 2017.

“The use of expletives in the public discourse is not only a force of habit but an intended modus to dissolve all normative rightness or the proper way of saying things,” he said.

He likewise decried the proliferation still of fake news mostly published by unthinking netizens. He added, “In the face of information overload, we are called to sift through the materials we are being fed.”

The bishop, however, was optimistic in saying that, despite the confusing times, there are many ways to tell a story, with the Gospel of Christ as a rich source of material. He expounded on the Convention’s theme, “Storya Ta!”, as three nuances depending on the intonation.

“If said in a high-pitched, excited way, it is an invitation to fellowship,” he explained, “in a low serious tone, an invitation to serious conversation as problems need to be discussed and may need advice; and when expressed with an exclamation mark, it means cynical or anderisive remark akin to those who tell tall tales.”

In line with this, he emphasized the role of the storyteller and shared three factors that make storytelling effective and meaningful.

“It must be easily understood, with intelligible content and conveyed rightly, and it must be the truth,” he said. He then enumerated the many tools for storytelling, which make up the topics and workshops of the four-day Convention.

“A story put into music is more powerful than a narration; Poetry, on the other hand, is music set into words; and Film and the Stage, are vehicles of human experience,” he highlighted. “Storytelling is a viable means of communicating.”

In conclusion, he called on the participants to use the Gospel that has the story of Jesus–the story that pieces all stories together”–to communicate the message of the Church so that it will stop “speaking in the wilderness.” (~Lulu Reclusado-Nario)