As part of its efforts to reignite the Los Baños Times’ partnership with its community constituents post-pandemic, the Department of Development Journalism (DDJ) held the Talaghay: Los Baños Times Community Partners’ Forum on 20 November 2023 at the College of Development Communication (CDC) Lecture Room 1 and via Zoom.

Almost 100 representatives from various people’s, academic, and government organizations from Los Baños and nearby communities attended the forum.

Dean Maria Stella C. Tirol personally graced the event with her presence and emphasized the importance of the community’s participation in the operations of LB Times.

“…naniniwala kami na ang mga kuwento ng Los Baños ay dapat manggaling din sa komunidad at ibalik din sa komunidad sa pamamagitan nitong ating community newspaper. Kaya mahalaga po sana na tuloy-tuloy po ang ating partnership at makita po namin ulit kayo, dahil kung wala kayo ay wala rin ‘yung ating Los Baños Times,” she said. 

Hence, to align LB Times’ agenda with the interests of its community constituents, DDJ academic staff and student volunteers facilitated a focus group discussion among the participants of the forum through breakout sessions per sector.

This aimed to assess the communication practices and current situation of the sectors and gauge how LB Times could best extend its assistance to them through participatory development journalism and capacity building.

Prior to this, Asst. Prof. Aletheia Araneta, DDJ chair, reintroduced LB Times to the participants and shared how the platform has grown in its 40 years of existence through the research and extension projects and academic field work of Devcom students and staff with the community.

“Magtulungan po tayo na magkaroon ng way or platform for the community na makahanap at magkaroon ng isang source of information na maaasahan. Hindi po namin ‘yun kaya na kami lamang, we need po your input, your insight and your help,” she said. 

Afterwards, DDJ launched the documentary video Mga Kwentong LB Times, featuring narratives from notable figures such as Dr. Crispin C. Maslog, the platform’s founder, as well as longtime community partners, such as the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) sector of Los Baños, through Ms. Leonarda Macaldo (President, PWD Association of Brgy. Anos) and Ms. Jeanette Ilagan (President, PWD Association of Brgy. San Antonio).

The forum was DDJ’s principal activity for its yearlong celebration of the 40th founding anniversary celebration of LB Times and CDC’s Silver Anniversary. (Mar Jhun Daniel; Photos by Mario Maningas)