News Update:

2/22/17

 

 

There is an ongoing debate as to whether bloggers and social media influencers should be given accreditation to cover the President and the other departments of the Executive branch.

I’m not going to discuss the merits or demerits of the issue, enough has been said and you can read the arguments for and against, in the following exchanges, articles and blog posts:

However, as a practicing Organization and Talent Developer,  allow me to add a perspective of someone who evaluates job requirements and approves plantilla prior to sourcing. In this blog post, I would like to share the competencies I will look for, and discuss the importance of a post-accreditation quality audit.

 

So who should seek accreditation, or what to look for when evaluating applicants for individual accreditation?

 

Rationale:

 

Since the Executive Department is an advocate of freedom of information, giving access not only thru traditional channels is only appropriate. Thru bloggers and social media influencers, the government can reach more people online, not only to inform them of its advocacies, policies and programs, but to engage them towards nation building.

 

From the stated rationale, below are the minimum skills, experience, and attributes that I thought are worth considering:

 

An applicant, prior to sending a request for accreditation, should ensure s/he met the minimum requirements and the vetting committee prior to approval, should also look for the likely indicators

 

  • Applicant has following; Maintains a credible blog, or manages a vertical or horizontal social media account or group, for a given time period. Me thinks one year blogging or managing an online community is good enough to gauge credibility.
    • The recommendation of Noemi Dado in her blog post applies in this criteria.
      Update: Sass Sasot also gave an insightful recommendation
    • Validation: 
      • Submission of blog url, social media accounts, or groups/ communities being managed
      • Vetting group can look at relevant blog posts, age of blog or social media account, number of followers/subscribers and engagements being generated
  • Applicant understands privacy and libel laws
    • Validation: A short exam will do confirming awareness of relevant laws; or a learning session can be held for all applicants to ensure that those who will be accredited understands the framework of said laws.
  • Applicant is passionate towards his/her niche of choice
    • Validation: consistency of posts and age of blog or online community being managed
  • Possesses the following competencies
    • Critical thinker
      • able to absorb and analyze information
    • Communicator
      • Can convey the message or story either in text, audio or video form
      • Conversant in the language being used by their existing or target communities
      • Familiarity with photography, video and audio content gathering and editing
    • People person
      • good at relating to all kinds of people
      • courteous and respectful
      • able to work well alone or in a group
      • cool under pressure
    • Validation: validating the 1st two competencies can be based on the existing  blog posts, vlogs and podcast that applicant will submit. However, validating the third competency is limited to interview and recommendation/ referral letters from associations or formal communities where the applicant belongs.  
  • Willing to subscribe to the editorial guidelines or social media policies that will be set, either by PCOO or a governing body that may be formed.
    • Validation: Signs conforme, to the set social media policy and editorial guidelines

In talent management, getting the right candidate is only half the job. Keeping them engaged and focused on their work is another. Though, this arrangement does not entail employer employee relationship, accredited bloggers should be able to stay motivated and focused.

Likewise:   Unsolicited Advice to PH News Agency (PNA)
Likewise:   My Take On PCOO's Social Media and Blogger Accreditation Policies

Now these Qs need to be answered so the other half can be accomplished (1) who will be the group that will process and approve the application for accreditation. And, (2) who will serve as quality audit to ensure editorial and/or social media policy is followed?

In an employer-employee framework, the group that handle items (1) and (2) is defined and may be handled by one department. But this one is different because accredited bloggers/ social media influencers are not employees, item (1) may be or can be spearheaded by PCOO in the beginning, but if item (2) will still be handled by them or a designate, then the editorial independence of those accredited will be perceived as compromised.

That’s why, it is of importance how those who will be accredited will respond proactively to self organize and conceptualized a mechanism to ensure editorial independence, standards are observed and establish a process that will ensure accountability.

The biggest integrity risk that needs to be discussed openly is funding. Most bloggers buy their own gadget, pays for their own fare and food. If this accreditation pushes thru, new opportunities will likewise present itself. Some bloggers may find benefactors to help them out. While this is not necessarily wrong, adopting a Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) suggestion of  a disclosure policy can mitigate a credibility issue, and it likewise promotes accountability.

Likewise:   Unsolicited Advice to PH News Agency (PNA)

 

Someone might ask why go to the level of looking at competencies in accrediting bloggers/social media influencers.

 

In contrast with members of Malacañang Press Corps, aside from the academic training, they have gone thru screening, exam and interviews by HR Departments prior to employment or engagement by the news agencies they are representing.

Bloggers and social media influencers seeking accreditation if not employed, or is not representing a formal organization have not gone thru a similar vetting, prior to their application for accreditation. While most bloggers and social media influencers are not journalists by profession, but once accredited, will be perceived as someone given a special privilege. If applicants will not go thru vetting, a few may use this as vanity badge, or worse, a means to push their way around and seek favors.

At the end of the day, the behavior of accredited bloggers and social media influencers can be a reflection of PCOO, who accredits them.

 

Here’s a draft copy of Malacañang’s PCOO Social Media Policy
 

 

Here’s a video clip of the town hall meeting
 

 

As a blogger, would you be interested to apply for accreditation? Do you think my suggested minimum requirements are too lenient or too strict?

 

 

Sonnie is a Talent and Organization Development and Brand Communications Strategist who won the best advocacy blogger in 2010 and best corporate and brand blogger in 2015.

He is a Senior Consultant for Presidential Communications and Operations Office working with the Committee on Media Affairs and Strategic Communications for ASEAN 2017. He also serves in similar capacity with other corporate clients.

His views remain his, and do not represent his clients, associates and family

.

 

 

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