A Message to Today’s Communicators

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Photo credits: Christin Hume

I write this at a time when I probably should be sleeping. And it’s probably because I might not have the pleasure of writing this any other time or any other day, really.

We live in such an erratic time in history. I know it’s only been 20 years since the beginning of the century, but the past three months of 2020 have felt like five years wrapped up in one big punch in the gut.

Then the news of COVID-19 broke out. It first trickled into my country, the Philippines, in the last quarter of 2019. For a while, there was silence. Then, before we knew it, the numbers rose. As of this writing, we are now in the hundreds. The president had enforced an enhanced community quarantine in Luzon (where I live) just a few days ago. Most people (myself included) are now working from home.

I can’t even begin to think about the front-liners who risk their own lives to serve those who are infected by the virus, or those who get paid by the day and no longer get to work, or our country’s leaders who are barely getting enough sleep with all they have on their plate (we salute you!)… the list of people groups on my mind and in my heart are endless.

But right now I’m writing to a specific group of people out there. Those whose entire plans, events, publishing calendars, and not to mention lives, have now shifted to a crazy force of movement due to the pandemic. Those who, since COVID-19 broke out, have been constantly slammed with the need to respond to wave after wave of information.

I’m talking about my fellow communicators in the different spheres of society.

Those in journalism who deliver fact-checked news to the public. Those in the media—whether on-air, behind the camera, in charge of the script, or in the research teams. Those who are in the internal communications of private businesses. Those who are active and influential online. The communication teams of public sectors, government offices, hospitals, and churches. The list goes on.

This is quite an exciting time for all of us, isn’t it?

The work never seems to end. The coffee that sits beside us had grown cold with the work we took on in-between sips of it. The outside scenery had shifted from the high, noontime sun to the dark face of night before we even noticed it.

Yet here we all are, on our toes and glued to their screens, searching for any sign of news… and hopefully it’s something good this time.

Can I just say some quick things to all of you? (Because we’ve got work to do)

Keep doing what you’re doing.

Even when most people only see the finished product (that piece of information on their newsfeed that they scroll through) and not the countless hours you’ve spent on research, interviews, and fact-checking.

Even when it gets frustrating that there are still those who share fake news when many of us have worked hard to deliver only the facts.

Even when some people choose to spread content that breeds fear, rather than those helpful tips, safety precautions, and hopeful messages that you’ve worked so hard to produce and publish.

Even when you feel like you are, at one point, only responding to the newest bit of information out there that people need to hear right now, and it seems like you are just barely getting through it before another one pops along.

Can I say it again, but a little different this time?

Keep doing what you’re doing because your work makes a difference.

Information—the right kind—matters. Content—the helpful or hopeful kind—matters.

People respond to information. A large part of one’s behavior is influenced by the information presented to them.

This said, our work arguably shapes every sector of society—the political landscape, the psyche of the general public, the decisions of both private and public sectors.

And this matters now, in the digital age, in the midst of a pandemic, more than ever.

Now is our time to serve our world through the work that we do. We are the virtual front-liners in this pandemic, as we stand in the gap between facts and misinformation, hope and despair.

All this to say—you matter.

Please stay safe and healthy because you matter.

Please stay informed, and not fooled by the lies that circulate the different parts of the web.

Please (try to at least) keep your spirits up because you need to be alert and on the lookout for anything that the general public needs to know right now.

Please stay hopeful because this too, like any other headline ever produced, shall pass. Even when we don’t know when that will be.

Also, know this:

That even if the majority won’t see your share of behind-the-scenes work—the sleepless nights, the piles of research you had to dig through, and the countless hours spent in alignment and content meetings—God does. And He surely will reward those who love and serve his neighbor, even in this way.

As we do what God has called us to do as communicators, let’s keep everyone in our prayers. I’ll definitely be praying for each and every one of you.

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