Can content quality actually improve, or must we settle for passivity?An interview with Gabriel Delgado of “A Favor de lo Mejor”

Can content quality actually improve, or must we settle for passivity?An interview with Gabriel Delgado of “A Favor de lo Mejor”

Through modern TV and radio programming, and the constantly updated web variety, mainstream media offers a much broader content choices than previous decades.

But the media doesn’t always offer quality content that corresponds to this programming panorama and great freedom of selection. One of the most frequent questions that Family and Media receives from related associations and forums, as well as simple users, is how can we actually improve quality or are we forced to resign to a passive, idle and sometimes damaging reception, above all for children and teens ?

To unpack the issue and find answers to such a question, we’ve interviewed Gabriela Delgado, responsible for the development of communications of A Favor de lo Mejor , an association that has been working for years towards the improvement of media content to benefit families, children and society in Mexico. Her story is sure to provide helpful indications for readers from around the globe.

How was A Favor de lo Mejor born and what are your main objectives?

A Favor de lo Mejor was born as a people’s movement, where representatives of social and business realities wanted to contribute to the improvement of media content. The fundamental objective is to create the “friendliest” possible relationship between mass media and society. We are convinced that it is vital to work towards a society where positive content is always flowing from television screens to the public. By “positive”, I refer to creative, attractive, and above all, high quality content.

Could you tell us about your various initiatives? For example, the contest #DíaQUniversitario, a project that you have carried out with Mexican university students to stimulate the creativity and sensibility of the youth?

The #DíaQUniversitario competition aims to stimulate the creativity of communication students from some Mexican universities and simultaneously give them thorough references for their work in the communications field. The last edition of the contest , for example, was thought of as a type of rally, where experts and professionals from the world of communications and advertising presented their success stories and offered valuable suggestions on how to develop this type of work. After these testimonies, the students, divided into teams, worked for 5-6 hours on a video through which they were able to tell their own story.

In that way, we were able to see what and how next-to-be communication professionals tell their stories. And to our surprise, we saw that the majority of the stories were positive and creative, without violent or vulgar content. It’s a long and complex job that we can summarize in three steps. The first is the task of the headhunters to scope out talent. The second is typically a coaching on finalists, because we believe that betting on the formation of worthy students should be the main basis for stimulating talent in the youth. The last step is the hope that these young people can find work within the media field, and thus use their talent to positively impact content.

The Senate of the Republic of Mexico called in your movement to listen to the voice of viewer associations regarding the bill to reform the telecommunications law. Is this simply a political approach to tweak public image, or is there a real interest to give voice to the public? At what stage is the parlimentary debate?

I admit that we too have asked ourselves the same question. After the President of Mexico decided on the new draft for the Constitutional Reform of Telecommunications and debate subsequently triggered in the Senate and the House, they wanted to hear the opinion of associations and citizens. A Favor de lo Mejor was one of the organizations summoned. We were able to make the voice of Mexican society heard, and we managed to insert a section related to “User Rights” into the Constitutional Reform. We strongly advise that the demands of the citizens are heard, especially on such topics that directly involve them. We therefore made our voice heard in institutional headquarters and often found, to our benefit, a willingness to listen and offer positive responses. We hope that from this new law, a clearer frame emerges in which creators and producers can move in such a way that necessary changes may be seen immediately.

To speak of quality television today is quite complicated. What main characteristics should a good program have?

True, it’s very complicated. And to be honest, I haven’t really found a precise definition of quality for a program. I have the feeling that nobody has the courage to express their opinion in the absense of indicators and parameters that could help define a standard of quality. Nevertheless, we’ll try. By quality, we intend the following dimensions:

1. The production quality is the technical quality, where only the best possible resources are taken into consideration.

2. The message quality is obtained when the contents fufill the social function of the media, thereby contributing to the betterment of society through elevating culture, a harmonic development of childhood, preserving national traditions and identity, and strengthening family bonds, universal principles and values, and human dignity.

3. The quality of program placement lies in the type of placement within television schedules and relevance of timing with regard to the target audience.

4. Finally, I would like to highlight the consideration of the target audience and respect towards viewers .

Who must decide? Surely there must be a widespread and general consensus. The means alone (i.e. the television, radio, etc.) cannot determine what may or may not be quality; the audience, the institutions, and the opinions of experts and associations must be taken into consideration, in addition to consulting others in accademic or business circles.

Cyberbullying is a global phenomenon that unfortunately continues to increase and is neverthless underestimated, even on the legistlative level. In what way can it be opposed?

It’s true. It’s quite a disconcerting phenomenon that unfortunately is increasing in numbers. I think that we should work to raise awareness of the issue among the authorities, with accurate facts on hand. This would make the need for a more fitting and careful legislation evident, with laws that don’t account only for punishments and prohibitions, but rather provide public policies and campaigns for mediatic and digital literacy in order to promote the responsible usage of media, especially Internet. I am convinced that with a well prepared user that knows how to use techonology to its best, we will have less cases of cyberbullying. Beyond the protection laws, the greater challenge is to form the user so that, independently of any punishment, vigilance, or filter, he/she does not cause damage to other users. Futhermore, I believe that in addition to good legislation, there’s a need for a close collaboration with other educational and family entities.

Now to close with a provocatory question: are video games a good gift for our children?

This question can be responded to with another question: is a baseball bat a good gift for a child? It could become a weapon for vandalism or for threatening his friends. What I want to say with this example is that the videogame or the bat can be whatever the user wants it to be. A videogame can be a good gift if I choose it well, if I know what it deals with, what sort of content is has, what are the challenges to overcome, what a fair amount of time needs to be spent on it, etc. Because even though it is true that in many videogames we find violence, crime, and sexuality, we also find games that involve dexterity, music, and strategy, which can help train and develop certain capacities, motor skills, sociability, and creativity. They can even become an excuse to play together as a family.

Hits: 33

No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment