When I first inquired for the Master in Development Communication at my former university, the dean of the Open University told me that they had no problems accepting me unto such a program only, I should be ready to face difficulties in its study since it does not jive with my Bachelor’s degree.
I took that as a challenge. Before applying for the program, I knew that I will have to do a lot of reading and understanding on the discipline. And so this morning, since I already have my school ID, I proceeded to the University library. I planned to read introductory books on development communication to prepare for the once-a-month class this coming Saturday.
The library has changed so much since the last time I set foot in there. New equipment, an overhauled hallway, and additional features. Luckily, the basic layout is the same so I wasn’t at all in the dark.
Mass COMM vs. Dev COMM
Even before applying for this degree, I already knew the difference between Mass COMM (also offered as BA Comm in some schools) and Dev COMM. Basically, Mass COMM is the use of broadcast media to convey information to a large group of people or to society. Conversely, Dev COMM is the use of communication tools for the development / improvement of the community or society.
Although I was aiming for a Master’s degree in Mass COMM, I couldn’t find a school that would accept me presently into their programs so I chose to go the path of Dev Communication and eventually establish a career similar to those achieved by Mass COMM graduates.
I’m not saying that Dev COMM is a lesser degree compared to Mass COMM. The way I make it out, their differences lie in the outcomes of each discipline. Mass COMM is more concerned with informing a population and so it focuses heavily on broadcast communication tools like television, radio, nationally-circulated broadsheets, and new media.
Dev COMM is adapted to social development. This applies to slum areas, mostly rural zones. It’s the type of communication wherein studies are made and published on the multi-variable (economics, health, employment, etc.) status of these areas, thus initiating action from the area’s governing bodies. At times, it is volunteer action work, the kind that involves UNICEF, Habitat for Humanity, and USAID, among others. Aside from researches, documentaries are also made regarding the conditions of living in said slum areas.
Reading About Development
I browsed through the catalogues of the University Library, looking for book with the basic concepts of Development Communication. I came across Introduction to Development Communication by Ila Virginia C. Ongkiko and Alexander G. Flor, first printed in 2003 and co-published by SEAMEO SEARCA and the U.P. Open University in Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines. It’s a basic book, obviously for undergrads, and is divided into three units: Development, Communication, and Development Communication.
“Perfect!” I thought.
I read through the first unit, titled “Development”. Accordingly,
Societal problems may be traced to root causes and these root causes may in turn be remedied by information and communication.
−Introduction to Development Communication (2003), Ila Virginia C. Ongkiko and Alexander G. Flor
Also, it stated that man is the true measure of development, coming from the perspective of Dev COMM. The unit went on to discuss societal problems, the underdevelopment problematique, and paradigms or perspectives of underdevelopment.
Maybe I Can
I have to admit, I was doubtful of my acceptance into this degree program since it wasn’t exactly what I was seeking and I have no past formal training in this field. But after going though the first unit of that book, I feel that my degree in Nursing can collaborate with my Master’s degree in Development Communication (that is, once I complete it). Since it deals with social problems and how to make an impact in their resolution through communication, as a nurse, I can make a significant contribution in this discipline specifically 0n community health. Besides, I’ve engaged in community immersions in Nursing college and done health-related activities to the community we were immersed in.
Maybe, just maybe, in this field, I will accomplish my life’s purpose …