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  • EDUCATING IN THE DIGITAL AGE - SHAPING TOMORROW

    In the digital era, many people think that communicating is having the possibility of accessing social networks, following a profile, "liking" attention-grabbing posts, sharing daily memes, or sending the "San Antonio chain" on WhatsApp... On the other hand, many people think that "communicating" means producing digital content, posting it on a social network and getting lots of "Likes", without realising that they have been trapped by the phenomenon called the "triumph of the selfie", in which people, instead of establishing true communication, reinforce the desire to be recognised. Some people have become so dependent on digital media that they develop behaviours that denote abnormal situations, some pathological cases such as addiction, because they have not been aware or oriented in the correct use of digital media and in the human concept of communicating. With all this, we do not seek to discourage anyone in their desire and impulse to develop certain communication proposals, and even less so in digital proposals. On the contrary, we would like to propose some elements that will help us to improve our relationship with the media, especially digital media, and to know how to guide, as pastors and educators, the generations that run the risk of losing the true meaning of communication. Communicating is an exchange: When we think that communication is only the transmission of a message, we betray the most essential concept of communication: interaction between people that generates an exchange of messages with meaning. True communication occurs when the process of reciprocity and interaction of the parties takes place. In this sense, it is not just sending a message but being able to receive and interpret the response to the given message. Communicating is listening: We cannot forget the tri-functions of communication: listening to oneself, listening to others, being listened to by others. In these three functions, we find the process of reflection and the capacity for empathy, which are the keys to being able to have an impact on the lives of others. Today's generations lack the ability to know how to listen and to be listened to, and therefore, we are invited to be the models of listening. We cannot not communicate: Every act we perform communicates. Our words, our gestures, our writings, our videos, the posts we make on networks—everything communicates. But this does not mean that everything we publish is what we really want to communicate. We often forget that, in the digital age, everything that is published on the web is public; therefore, it is susceptible to judgment and can be interpreted exactly the opposite way to what we would like it to be. That is why our communication must be well-formulated and well-targeted. To communicate is to educate: A parent, a teacher, a trainer, etc., is a communicator of knowledge which they learn from their own experiences. When we communicate any information or message, we must be sure not to make any mistake. Fake news is very common nowadays. We must avoid the risk of being identified one among the crowds. By communicating effectively, we will gain trust and credibility from our recipients. Communicating means creating bonds: The trend in social media management today points to the creation of digital communities formed by groups of people who share common interests or keep in touch through digital media. Our actions as educators and pastors invite us to enter the digital environment and create communities to benefit others and to overcome the loneliness that the use of digital media often leaves us with. By living this objective, we feel more in tune to share experiences and generate bonds that allow us to feel like brothers and sisters to one another. Our lives and the current conditions force us every day to deepen our actions. Let us always look for ways to put our experiences into practice and to be educators-communicators at all times. Therefore, in order to deepen these issues, we invite you to participate in the Communication Conference to be held in Rome from 1 to 7 August 2024. P. Carlos Méndez SDB carlosmendezsdb@gmail.com

  • ‘INAPPROPRIATE GESTURES’ - SHAPING TOMORROW

    Body language when speaking in public or in front of the camera reveals the speaker's secrets. However, this statement should not be exaggerated. Yet, body posture can betray emotions, especially stress, fear of judgement by others, lack of concentration, or fear of public speaking. Certain gestures can confuse the listener and create invisible barriers. It is the hands that convey most of the information to the audience. They are like a whiteboard on which the messages the recipient reads are clearly written. That is why awareness of one’s gestures and proper training help eliminate basic gestural errors during public speaking. How should I use my hands during a speech? The golden rule is: if you cannot see my hands, you cannot see my speech. Furthermore, it is worth remembering that there are so-called 'inappropriate gestures' (gestures to be avoided) which are interpreted negatively in most cultures. Many people do not realise how these inappropriate gestures can negatively influence the audience. Crossed arms are one of the most common 'inappropriate gestures': a person with this posture is quickly judged by listeners as closed, unwilling to have a conversation, and generally withdrawn. Another common gesture is hiding one's hands behind one's back, which also appears unnatural and is perceived as a negative posture. According to the experts, the most undesirable gesture is to keep one's hands or one hand in one's pocket. In many cultures, this is seen as disrespectful, indifferent, and even demeaning to the recipient. Experience shows that this gesture is very difficult to eliminate. It is worth remembering that when we speak in public, we put our keys, phone, or handkerchief in our pockets but not our hands. The index finger gesture, which implies orders, commands, and absolute submission, must be avoided. Crossed legs and touching one's face are not welcome either. Turning one's back to the interlocutor when speaking is also an inappropriate posture. On the other hand, when sitting at the table, it is advisable to keep your hands on the table, never under the table. These 'inappropriate gestures' create an invisible barrier between the speaker and the recipient. The audience can perceive that something is wrong and often does not focus on the content of the speech but on this invisible boundary that partially blocks the message. They should, therefore, remember to use open gestures during public speaking to facilitate correct communication. For clarity and to learn more about the usage of body language, we invite you to the Communication Conference to be held from 1 to 7 August 2024, in Rome.

  • LEADER - SHAPING TOMORROW

    We are looking for leaders - those who have vision, communication skills, empathy, can make decisions, build motivation and trust among others, can delegate tasks and are open to feedback. We are looking for leaders who work in the field of social communication. The following short article will discuss three selected qualities of a leader: the ability to motivate, communication skills and vision. Ability to motivate 'The goal of many leaders is to make people think the best of them. The goal of a great leader is to make people think better of themselves,' are the words of Professor Carla Northcutt. In reality, this translates into an essential ability to motivate colleagues to cross further seemingly insurmountable boundaries head-on. A leader who focuses public opinion on himself or herself is often primarily concerned with his or her positive image, which can result in a narcissistic attitude rather than the ability to motivate others. Similar words were uttered by Harry S. Truman, President of the United States: 'It is amazing how much one can achieve if one does not care about honours'. Concern for honours can be an enormous burden for a leader, who is often unaware of this fact. This aura around his or her person can create an invisible boundary, a nimbus of superiority and inaccessibility, which can cause people not to follow, but to feel rushed into their responsibilities. Motivation usually means being able to stimulate the desire to achieve goals. In addition to positive reinforcement, skills such as active listening, realistic praise, encouragement for change, respect for employees, constructive criticism, transparency in action and communication, challenge, control of emotions, a sense of security in decision-making and sense of action, help with competence development, appropriate remuneration, clear communication, empathy, understanding of employees' motivations, inspiration and clear delegation are essential. Communication skills What colour are my personality and communication skills? This question refers to the four personality colours described by the psychiatrist Carl Jung and known today as the DISC model. Thomas Erikson develops this topic in great depth in his work, describing the impact of colour differences on our communication and relationships with the environment. According to the author, we distinguish four types of behaviour and communication modes: red, yellow, green and blue. Red people are people with leadership qualities, extroverted, assertive, ambitious, independent, strong-willed, task-oriented, results-oriented, dominant and quick to work. Yellow people are enthusiastic, enterprising, optimistic, good listeners, relationship-oriented, extroverted, creative and satisfied with life. Green people are introverted, relationship-oriented, friendly, avoid conflict, balanced, patient, calm, have difficulty making decisions and resolving conflicts, are stable, reluctant to change. Blues are people with an introverted personality, curious, logical thinkers, very thorough, detailed and systematic in their work, even perfectionists, with an analytical mind. Erikson explains that most people are a combination of different colours: about 5 per cent of the population is single-coloured, 8 per cent two-coloured and the rest are personalities with three colours within them. Communication skills can and must be developed. Regardless of the communication pattern, it is worth studying and searching for answers to help you communicate correctly and understand the ways in which others communicate. An effective leader understands that people communicate in different ways and is well aware of his or her own way of communicating, especially when directing the work of others. Having a vision A leader has a clear vision of the institution and the group of people he or she leads. Moreover, he or she is characterised by the courage to make sometimes risky and uncertain decisions. Sun Tzu, in his advice in The Art of War, said that 'A commander without courage cannot overcome difficulties or realise great plans'. A true leader is a man with a vision, who knows where he is heading and shares his vision with passion and enthusiasm. Realising one's vision requires patience. "The more power you have, the more patience you must have," said Seneca the Younger. Having a vision means having the courage to face the problems that arise every day, rather than putting them off, hoping for a spontaneous solution. ‘Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them’, said Henry Ford. A leader must not only have a clear picture of the organisation's or project's goals, but also the ability to communicate these goals in a way that inspires his or her colleagues. His vision provides direction, but also builds commitment and motivation within the team. By inspiring others to act, the leader becomes a reference point for the entire organisation, setting clear standards and expectations. Finally, it is important to remember the words of John C. Maxwell: ‘People quit bosses not companies’. This underlines the importance of the leader's role in shaping the working atmosphere and relationships within the organisation. We invite you to the Communication Conference to be held from 1 to 7 August 2024, in Rome.

  • CAPCUT - SHAPING TOMORROW

    Capture the moment and cut. It is one of the cornerstones of content creators, who usually have at least one editing programme for the PC and one for mobile devices at hand. Creators know that the right editing tools and a little skill can tell the world's story in a way that resembles storytelling. A skilled content creator can create a cinematic masterpiece that turns into a viral hit in a matter of minutes. A film editing application is the brush of modern artists, known as content creators. Their canvas becomes the screen of their computer or phone. The colours they choose can be compared to the functions built into the software, and creative flair is aided by artificial intelligence. The display of artwork becomes social media, and the audience is anyone with access to the Internet. Film editing, which was once only available to a select few, has now become an everyday event for a wide range of Internet users. From the recording of a video content to its publication, it sometimes takes only a few minutes. One of the major trends of 2024 in social media is the publication of short videos. To create an engaging video of a few tens of seconds or more, we need good shots, appropriate music, basic editing skills and the right software. Choosing a video editing tool is not easy. The number of programmes is overwhelming. Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, Vegas Pro, DaVinci Resolve, Shotcut, iMovie, inShot, Adobe Premiere Rush, KineMaster, VLLO, Movavi Video Editor, Lightworks, YouCut, PowerDirector, LumaFusion, Pinnacle Studio and dozens of others. For some years now, we can find CapCut in the video editing scene, an application available on Android, iOS, Windows, macOS and online. Moreover, it is a free application, with the exception of some advanced features.  CapCut offers users both basic and advanced editing tools. It has an easy-to-use interface, which is often a key factor in choosing an application. The programme makes extensive use of artificial intelligence, which helps to achieve the desired results. CapCut works well on all platforms but is particularly recommended for the mobile version. We invite you to attend the Communication Conference from 1 to 7 August 2024, in Rome, where we will learn how to work on the CapCut app.

  • THE COMMUNICATION STRATEGY - SHAPING TOMORROW

    Introduction It would be worth analysing the process of developing a communication strategy, using examples and suggestions from the world of professional media. It is important to remember that the creation of a strategy implies, among other things, the formulation of appropriate questions and the search for answers. A strategy is a plan for the actions we would like to take in the future to achieve our goal. A strategy helps to set long-term goals and shows how to achieve them. It is impossible to achieve a goal with a strategy alone, because concrete actions, i.e. tactics, must be taken to put it into practice. While strategy is long-term, tactics are short-term steps to be taken to achieve smaller goals. Planning tactics involves breaking down the strategy into smaller, achievable actions. Tactics are more visible from the outside, while strategy is more visible from within the organisation. The best strategies are built around clearly defined objectives, because it is much easier to prepare a strategy if you know exactly what you want to achieve. Clearly defined objectives are a fundamental part of the long-term strategic planning process. Preparing a strategy is not so simple. Devising a communication strategy within the Church, be it at diocese, institution or religious congregation level, may seem intuitive and straightforward, but the reality is far more complex. Creating a strategy requires a thorough and careful process, far from apparent simplicity. In the following, I would like to outline the various steps in the creation of a communication strategy. It is essential to bear in mind that the design of a communication strategy should never be approached individually; on the contrary, we should actively involve several people in the process. Stages in the development of a communication strategy Initial audit - diagnosis What exactly is an audit? In the clearest terms, it is an analysis of the initial situation, aimed at identifying the current position of a company, institution, diocese or religious congregation in the field of communication. This process involves an in-depth analysis of what has been achieved so far, including a thorough review of the communication channels and tools used. Usually, two types of audit are referred to: external and internal. What is the essence of an external quality audit? It requires an external perspective, an external institution and the intervention of external experts. It requires an external observer who can critically examine our past actions, assess our path so far and offer thoughtful solutions. This figure can be a specialised company or a person qualified in the field. What characterises an internal quality audit? It involves individuals with an inside view, experts of the institution who are able to critically examine the existing situation. In addition, the use of evaluation tools, e.g. SWOT analysis, to obtain a detailed and informative overview is crucial. An external and internal audit is the foundation of an effective communication strategy. Without it, we would be operating in the dark. The audit translates into concrete facts, figures, reports and tangible proposals. Without this tool, we would run the risk of plunging into an alternative reality. Equivalent to an accurate diagnosis, it allows us to distinguish the vital and healthy parts from the possible need for care within the communicative organism of our institution. In essence, it is a detailed examination of the communicative bloodstream that permeates our reality. Why are we afraid of audits? Because they bring with them the wind of change. They challenge the status quo, invite reflection on our actions and suggest changes to the existing order. Audits, if done well, act as an impartial mirror, revealing not only our vulnerabilities but also our strengths. Without a thorough audit, our communication strategy could turn out to be a mere exercise in self-aggrandisement, akin to a circle of smiles without depth. Or even worse, it could be comparable to selling premium fruit and vegetables in a clothes shop: we have valuable products, but we offer them in the least appropriate context and at the least appropriate time. What is the value of conducting an audit? It is the means by which we remain aligned with reality. Otherwise, we would risk perpetuating the illusion that everything is going swimmingly, smiling radiantly, while the world slips through our fingers at an ever-increasing pace. All we would be left with would be our self-satisfaction, fuelled by communication that takes place in a parallel world, isolated from the real context, moving us further and further away from people, appropriate tools and authentic ways of communicating. Do we lack financial resources and know few people? In that case, let us start with something more modest, with the first step. Let us turn to a journalist friend, a lecturer, or a figure in the media industry. Let us begin and assess whether this analysis makes sense, whether it is effective. Let us start with the first, modest step. In a year's time, we will probably have a clearer view of what this is all about. Check the communication guidelines of our institution and the Church (if we are a religious institution) In every institution, there are general guidelines for communication, some explicitly documented, others passed on orally through the years. In shaping a communication strategy, it is crucial to consider the heritage of communication skills already present in our institution. It is crucial to remember that we are building on already solid ground: there are certainly several guidelines, some implemented more successfully, others less so, over the past years in our reality. As far as the Salesian Congregation is concerned, there are the Communication Guidelines for the sexennium 2020-2026 (Project for the animation and governance of the Rector Major and his Council for the sexennium 2020-2026). This is the essential document concerning communication in the Salesian Congregation. Here are some of the points it contains: AREA 1. CHARISMATIC COMMUNICATION AND THE SALESIAN MISSION Living communication in an evangelical, synodal, Salesian and convergent way. AREA 2. INSTITUTIONAL COMMUNICATION AND SHARED MANAGEMENT Support communication with a view to animation and governance for the Salesians, the Salesian Family and external institutions. AREA 3. COLLABORATIVE AND SUPPORTIVE MANAGEMENT Giving structure to the Salesian Congregation's institutional, political and governance communication. AREA 4. SALESIAN IDENTITY AND THE WORLD OF YOUTH To live communication as a 'Salesian sacrament' of presence, effectively and affectively among young people with the heart of the Good Shepherd. AREA 5. EVANGELISATION AND DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT Inculturating the faith, in communication and in the digital world of young people, giving priority to the centrality of the person. AREA 6. FORMATION AND MISSION IN COLLABORATION WITH THE LAITY Collaborate with other sectors in the training processes of Salesians and lay people to increase basic skills in evangelisation and education of young people in the digital world. AREA 7. TECHNOLOGY, INFORMATION AND NETWORKING Promoting the digitisation of Salesian works and networking for a charismatic, co-responsible and inter-sectoral vision of mission. AREA 8. HISTORICAL MEMORY AND ARTISTIC HERITAGE See the artistic heritage and the memory of the Salesian mission and works, throughout its history and today. The aforementioned guidelines are of extraordinary importance as they outline the general direction of communication activities. Furthermore, it is crucial to carefully examine the Church's documents and teachings on the media, with particular attention to the recent teachings of Pope Francis. How has the Church's teaching on media evolved? What messages does Pope Francis convey in his reflections for World Communications Day? What positions does the Church take on the latest trends in communication, such as artificial intelligence? These are questions that deserve in-depth reflection in order to guide our communication initiatives in an informed manner. Audience analysis Audience analysis is the process of identifying and understanding the needs, interests, preferences and characteristics of our target audience. It helps to create effective messages, choose appropriate channels and measure impact. Who do we wish to address our messages to? It is imperative to conduct a thorough analysis of the target groups we wish to engage with our message. Defining these groups means outlining who the recipients are, what their needs are, what fears they have and what challenges they face. Who do we intend to reach with our message? Perhaps young people? If so, which age group? Or the Salesians? In what language should we communicate? Or perhaps the benefactors of the missions? But should we distinguish between younger and older generations? Are we looking for new benefactors or do we wish to inform existing ones? Or perhaps we wish to focus on vocations to the priesthood? It is essential to reflect precisely on whom we want to reach with our message. The broadcast of the Holy Mass on public television is primarily aimed at the sick and elderly. The 30-second rap-style video clips are specially created to engage young people between the ages of 15 and 18, using language and rhythm that resonate in their sphere of interest. The audios on Spotify in Spanish, accompanied by the text of the Memoirs of the Oratory (a recognised work among the Salesians), are dedicated to adults belonging to the Salesian Family who are already familiar with the Salesian charism. An article in the local press focusing on our religious school is targeted at young parents in our local community, offering information relevant to their educational decisions. Finally, the channel on TikTok is designed to actively engage young people between the ages of 13 and 17, adapting the content to the language and trends that resonate in this dynamic age group. Identifying the target audience (target groups) plays a central role in defining the content of the message and choosing the most effective communication channel. This process, known in marketing language as the creation of 'personas' or models, consists of a detailed analysis of the characteristics of the people we wish to address our message to. Market and competitor analysis It involves identifying our competitors, carefully studying their strategies and analysing their most effective practices. This research process offers a valuable opportunity to learn in depth about your own company's strengths and weaknesses. In this phase, we immerse ourselves in the surrounding landscape to examine the actions and methodologies adopted by other relevant actors. We carefully observe the dynamics of other religious congregations, the local church, Salesians in other parts of the world, prominent influencers and bishops of interest. We spy with curiosity the suggestive initiatives of sisters, explore new church groups and seek communicative stimuli from around the globe. The discovery of fascinating ideas serves as a catalyst for the birth of our own brilliant ideas. Curiosity sparks our imagination and stimulates our initiative. A fascinating initiative from Argentina, coupled with an equally intriguing one from India, can serve as inspiration to create an innovative proposal in Kenya. An analysis of the media activities of Caritas or the Vatican's social media can serve as a model for our own initiatives. The advertising campaigns of companies like Coca-Cola or Nike can serve as a reference, giving us valuable insights for our strategy. Communication tools and channels Communication channels constitute the vehicles or platforms through which we convey our messages to stakeholders. Communication tools, on the other hand, represent the software or hardware that facilitates the effectiveness of communication channels and techniques. The art of choosing the specific media to implement our strategy is a crucial process. It is important to understand that no single communication channel can guarantee reaching 100 per cent of the audience, therefore, acting multichannel and consciously selecting is imperative. When deciding which tools and channels to adopt, it is essential to refine our selection. Social media, with its vastness, requires a specific focus, for example on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. We could opt for local television if it offers Catholic programmes, thus exploiting an established channel in our community. The Catholic press, with its widespread audience, can be an effective communication channel, as can collaboration with local radio or even starting our own radio station, if resources and skills allow. Collaboration with the Catholic newsroom of a national public television station can be an advantageous option, especially if we see prosperity in such a partnership. Investing in optimising our Instagram profile can be a wise choice, especially if we have an experienced person working with us for some time. If a channel does not produce the desired results, it is crucial to analyse it, to consider changing tactics or, in some cases, to close it down. For example, WhatsApp might work well in Africa but might not be as effective in Europe. Catholic radio might be successful in Africa but might not be as impactful in Europe. Facebook advertising campaigns might be effective in Europe, but not necessarily in Africa. Mission documentaries might be successful in Europe, but not necessarily in Asia. A key element to be taken into account is multi-channeling. In the 21st century, communication is based on the diversification of channels. We should ensure that we have access to a variety of communication channels, both in Catholic and non-Catholic media, both private and public, managed both internally and externally. This diverse approach allows us to broaden our reach and interact with a wider and more diverse audience. Definition of objectives At the beginning of the strategic journey, it is imperative to clearly outline the business objective, understood as the fundamental purpose of the organisation that will guide the development of the strategy. In corporate entities, this objective usually focuses on the sale of a product. However, for entities such as the Church, dioceses and religious congregations, the central question becomes: what do we wish to 'offer' or communicate? Education, faith, formation... are just some of the possible answers to this fundamental question. In the context of the Salesian Congregation, the objective could be articulated around concepts such as “Educating children and young people in the spirit of Don Bosco” or “Educating honest citizens and good Christians”. A tangible example of a general business objective for these entities is the mission statement, which represents the polar star, the inspirational guide of the organisation. Other significant examples may include: "Increasing awareness of the presence of Salesians in the society of our country", "Raising public interest and promoting ecological attitudes", "Educating believers on the Church's teaching regarding refugees" or "Keeping believers informed about the activities of the diocese with integrity and honesty". Ultimately, these business objectives are the essential guides for the development of a cohesive and value-oriented strategy. Google's business goal is to organise the world's information to make it universally accessible and useful. Nike's business objective is to offer innovation and inspiration to all sportsmen and women around the world. The business objective is linked to the institution's mission and vision. We then define marketing objectives. A marketing objective is a direction for communication activities, guidelines, e.g. - Increase brand awareness on social media channels; Educate Salesians on traditional and social media; Develop new ways of internal diocesan communication; Improve the image of Salesians as experts in youth education; Improve believers' awareness of Synod 2023 in Rome. Finally, we define communication objectives. A communication goal is an action objective expressed in a measurable, concrete way. For example: Increase the number of followers of the Facebook page to 10,000; Conduct 5 two-day media training sessions for the Salesians of Kenya; Prepare a media education manual for our diocese; Organise the Crisis Management Team with the participation of people from the legal and communication area. Where do these objectives come from? They stem from the previous steps, especially the audit, the analysis of our institution, the search for communication channels and tools, and the special characteristics of our audience. In short, they are the result of a thoughtful process of in-depth exploration and understanding of the context in which we operate and the needs of our community. Attention: In the church context, business goals are often called 'mission' or 'vision'; marketing goals are called 'guidelines', 'lines of action', 'processes'; communication goals are called 'action' or 'concrete initiatives'. Budget The media budget is a detailed document outlining spending forecasts for both traditional and social media, covering a specific time period. It also includes the resources needed for equipment, salaries and other strategic elements included in our communication vision. This crucial document answers fundamental questions: who will be responsible for covering these expenses? How much money is available to support these activities? Who is in charge of managing the related finances? What is the planned budget for the coming year? Dealing with this phase, although it may be complex and sometimes painful, is essential. Ignoring the need for a media budget is like navigating the vast sea of communication without a lighthouse to guide our course. It is of great importance to ensure the existence of a physical document detailing the financing of our institution's communication activities. Without adequate documentation, we are exposed to the risk of losing an essential point of reference over time, especially with changes in personnel. This could result in a decrease in the effectiveness of our social communication initiatives in the long run. Additional issues When working on a communication strategy, there are some additional aspects to pay attention to. Depending on the institution you represent, these will be more or less important. Here are some of them. Creating an appropriate visual identity The visual identity helps to implement the communication strategy adopted and is a very clear sign of the messages coming from our institution. The language of communication It is worth thinking about the communication style, the language one wants to use in the relevant communication channels. Internal and external communication When preparing the communication strategy, a clear distinction must be made between communication inside and outside the institution. Experts Communication activities, in particular contact with the media and journalists, at some point lead to the need for experts in our institution. These people, properly trained, can communicate in various fields on behalf of the institution. Feedback, monitoring and evaluation Feedback on the way communication is carried out must be taken into account once the communication strategy has been implemented. At the same time, it should be ensured that an appropriate tool is in place to monitor online communication activities. Finally, a periodic evaluation of the communication activities undertaken in the institution should be carried out. Project manager and collaborators It is essential to appoint a person responsible for communication and the implementation of the communication strategy. At the same time, care must be taken to ensure that employees are selected appropriately. This includes setting up press office structures, possibly appointing a spokesperson for the institution, and ensuring appropriate relations with journalists and editors of the various media. Legal issues It should be ensured that employees are adequately trained on legal issues related to media communication. Ethics The creation of appropriate codes of ethics concerning the institution's communications should be considered. Approval by the competent authorities The strategy, including the budget, must be submitted to the competent decision-making body of the institution for approval. Writing the text of the communication strategy And it is at this very moment that we plunge into the creative phase of writing. Careful preparation, detailed analysis and clear definition of objectives laid the foundation for turning ideas into words, giving life to our narrative. With each word that takes shape, we are weaving a narrative that will give voice to our communication strategy. In this writing process, we expand and enrich the information gathered during the previous stages. We add details, nuances and facets that make our message compelling and engaging. Writing is the means by which we transform the abstract into the tangible, concepts into stories and ideas into actions. It is an act of transformation that completes the cycle of creating our communication strategy, taking it from initial vision to concrete reality. Conclusion Creating a communication strategy is not simply lighting fleeting fires that are destined to be quickly extinguished; instead, it is like lighting a blazing fire, carefully feeding it and watching to ensure that the flame continues to burn brightly. A communication strategy can take many forms: it could be a single page chart, containing an objective, two key processes and five specific actions, or it could develop into a detailed twenty-page text that delves into the audit, objectives, tools and communication channels. Let's be honest with ourselves: creating a quality communication strategy is a task that requires expertise and preparation. Therefore, it is imperative to seek the help of competent professionals. Preparing a communication strategy and managing communication as a whole are by no means simple; instead, they represent a great responsibility and require a systematic commitment. Finding the right people, providing training, experiencing successes and failures, continuing to train, accumulating experience, exchanging knowledge and constantly searching for new solutions: managing communication is a fascinating adventure. On this journey, we explore new lands, islands and uncharted territories from time to time. Communication within our institutions is a shared adventure, a journey we take together, never alone. The Church needs professional social communication, as traditional media and the Internet are the tools of the Holy Spirit that we have received. Maciej Makula SDB

  • TRAINING OF PROFESSIONALS - SHAPING TOMORROW

    Professionalisation in the media refers to improving the standards, skills and ethics of employees as well as the development of technology. The development of professional skills is an important process to improve the quality of work. Without the above, working with the media can become an attempt to open new doors with old keys. SHAPING TOMORROW is the training of media professionals in the Salesian Family. The training of media professionals dedicated to the Church, whether priests, consecrated persons or lay people, is becoming a pressing need. An example of recommendations can be found in the Aparecida Document of 2007. The bishops present at the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean committed themselves to the formation and accompaniment of the faithful in the practice of social communication. Here are some of the requests contained in the document (Aparecida, 2007, no. 486): Be familiar with and appreciate this new culture of communications. Promote professional training in the culture of communications in all pastoral agents and believers. Train competent professionals in communications who are committed to human and Christian values in the evangelical transformation of society, with particular attention to media owners, producers, program directors, journalists, and announcers. Support and optimise the creation by the Church of its own communications media in both television and radio, on Internet sites, and in print media. Be present in the mass media: press, radio and TV, digital film, Internet sites, forums, and many other systems in order to introduce into them the mystery of Christ. SHAPING TOMORROW in the midst of the digital revolution requires the training of media professionals. Digital culture change is an area where technology plays a key role in all aspects of social, cultural and economic life. Moreover, transformations in the arts, education and entertainment often come from the digital revolution. In addition, the development of artificial intelligence is likely to affect culture as a sustained rainstorm; therefore, SHAPING TOMORROW is a pressing need for specialists in the technological and ethical aspects of artificial intelligence. The digital revolution is also changing the paradigm of communication and the language of evangelisation. There is undoubtedly a need for new forms of communication and an understanding of the growing role of professional content. SHAPING TOMORROW is the professionalisation in the field of media communication in the Church, which should take place in the following areas: quality of communication, media competence of the creators, technology, professionalisation of content, training, care of finances, support from the competent superiors, as well as the emotional maturity of those in charge of communication, undertaking spiritual discernment in the context of faith, human resource management and ethics at work. We invite you to the Communication Conference to be held from 1 to 7 August 2024, in Rome.

  • ETHICS IN COMMUNICATION - SHAPING TOMORROW

    There are many ethical systems in the world, with the result that there are no 'universal ethical principles' clearly defined and accepted by all people in the world. The same applies to the ethical principles of human communication. However, there is agreement on some basic ethical principles that also operate in the world of social communication. SHAPING TOMORROW of salesian communication is to be guided by Christian ethics in communication activities and to respect generally accepted ethical principles. Here are some of them: The principle of humanism (human dignity) - every person has value and must be treated with dignity and respect. The principle of justice - all people must be treated according to the principles of equality and fairness. Principle of honesty and truth - all actions must be honest and characterised by truth. Principle of doing no harm - avoid activities that cause harm to other people. Principle of autonomy - respect the rights of people to make free choices and direct their own lives. Principle of respect for otherness and privacy - an individual must respect cultural, religious, racial or worldview differences. Principle of general good - pursue the general good of the human community. Principle of beneficence (subsidiarity) - everyone is expected to act for the good of others, to help those in need and to contribute to the general good of society. Principle of reciprocity - people must act towards others as they would want others to act towards them (the so-called Golden Rule). Principle of responsibility - people are responsible for their decisions and the consequences of their actions. Principle of integrity - people must act according to their moral convictions and adhere to their values. Ethics is a set of moral principles that condition a person's choices. Similarly, in a social communication environment, ethics indicates the principles and criteria for choosing good and bad behaviour when communicating with others. It also specifies the elements that have a significant impact on responsible communication. We can find many of these ethical principles in the documents of the Catholic Church. In the document Ethics in Communications from 2000, we read: "In all three areas-message, process, structural and systemic issues-the fundamental ethical principle is this: The human person and the human community are the end and measure of the use of the media of social communication; communication should be by persons to persons for the integral development of persons" (nr 21). And in another place: 'For even though acts of communicating often do have unintended consequences, nevertheless people choose whether to use the media for good or evil ends, in a good or evil way' (nr 1). These basic ethical principles, which place the person and his dignity at the centre, give hope for SHAPING TOMORROW of communication in the Salesian Family, in accordance with the doctrine of the Catholic Church, in the spirit of ethics with a personalist foundation. Communication from a personalist perspective places great emphasis on respect for the human person, his dignity and freedom. It emphasises the value of the human person, his or her integrity, as well as demonstrating the great importance of community and cooperation. Personalism emphasises the freedom of choice of each person and the responsibility for his or her actions. The personalist norm described by John Paul II indicates the primacy of the person over technology. According to this principle, the person must always be treated as an end, never as a means. Accordingly, any action in the field of social communication must also aim at the good of the person and his dignity, which are of paramount importance. SHAPING TOMORROW is concerned with cultivating communication according to a personalistic norm and with a sound Christian anthropology and ethics. We invite you to the Communication Conference to be held from 1 to 7 August 2024, in Rome.

  • THE FUTURE OF COMMUNICATION IN THE SALESIAN FAMILY - SHAPING TOMORROW

    The world is constantly transformed by technological advances and dynamic social changes. Technological innovations sometimes resemble exceptional special effects in a film, evoking a thrill through the sophisticated application of editing. In a different technological and social configuration, the Salesian Family, with its long tradition of educating young people, faces the challenge of shaping the future of communication in the spirit of Don Bosco. The slogan SHAPING TOMORROW becomes not only the motto, but also a guideline for actions leading to the dynamic development of salesian communication worldwide. The future of salesian communication is a journey towards modernity, but with solid roots in tradition. The Salesian Family stands on the threshold of innovative communication, characterised by a spirit of personalism, concern for the human being and respect for his dignity. In a world of digital acceleration, SHAPING TOMORROW aims to build bridges between generations and to promote collaboration between different salesian institutions around the world. It is also a media effort to inspire and encourage the active participation of young people in the life of the salesian community. Salesian communication is not only about transmitting information, but above all about building relationships. The impact of technological developments on today's communication challenges often obscures this precious image in the landscape of human relationships. On the other hand, by using new technologies, the Salesian Family transcends borders, creating a community whose heart beats simultaneously in many corners of the world. SHAPING TOMORROW is an invitation to actively participate in creating a better future through wise and responsible salesian communication. It is an encouragement to understand the changing framework of social communication, to assimilate the principles of effective communication and to value the role of the media. It is also an appreciation of changes in the adaptation of messages to the audience and multi-channel communication. It is at the same time an acknowledgement of the role of social media in evangelisation, embracing the concept of digital missionaries as discussed at the Rome Synod in October 2023, and being guided by Christian ethics in communication. Finally, it is a reminder of the need to allocate adequate financial resources to media activities and to look for ways to educate the Salesian Family in media and interpersonal communication more broadly. We invite you to join us for the Communication Conference to be held from 1 to 7 August 2024, in Rome.

  • SHAPING TOMORROW

    “You pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too. that's a part of it”. So said Denzel Washington, recalling the words of his father. In the context of media and communication, the rain is represented by the new technological tools and opportunities of the 21st century, such as artificial intelligence, high-speed Internet, social media, computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets. The mud is represented by fake news, cyberbullying and hate speech, the disappearance of social and communication skills, filters and information bubbles, digital exclusion, among others. SHAPING TOMORROW is the slogan of the Communication Conference 2024, which will be held in Rome from 1 to 7 August 2024. SHAPING TOMORROW in social communication is not a protective umbrella against the downpour; after all, we wait for rain, just as we wish for good communication. Rather, SHAPING TOMORROW is about building roads, pavements, manholes and bridges, avoiding and reducing mud in the city called social communication, the Internet or social media. In the context of new forms of communication, this means developing technological possibilities while being aware of the downsides and challenges. SHAPING TOMORROW as the communication era changes, it is like opening the right door without the attitude of naivety that there is a person waiting behind every door. Naivety in the world of modern technology is like sharing your emotions with artificial intelligence and believing that it will show boundless empathy. A modern smartphone is not human, a laptop is not human, a server is not human. Yet we sometimes behave naively, as if hardware and software replace our mother, our father, our family, our community and the emotions we experience, the desires we want to fulfil and the needs we need to satisfy. We look for a human being where there is none. What we get instead is a caricatured substitute for humanity, interpersonal relationships and the much desired love: the need to love others and the need to be loved by others. SHAPING TOMORROW, on the other hand, means building communication based on a solid Christian anthropology - without a caricature of humanity and with respect for human dignity. The development of communication technology in recent decades has made our society a global village, where information travels at the speed of light. Sometimes the power of a small piece of news is equal to that of a hurricane that the whole world talks about. In a world where communication is becoming not only a matter of transmitting information, but also of building relationships and influencing society, SHAPING TOMORROW is an invitation to take an active part in shaping the world yet to come. It places the human being and his dignity at the centre, in line with the personalist norm of John Paul II. SHAPING TOMORROW is intended as a call to shape the future of salesian communication through responsible and effective communication. SHAPING TOMORROW means putting the human being and his dignity at the centre. SHAPING TOMORROW is to promote the Church's teaching on social communication. SHAPING TOMORROW is about ethics in social communication based on solid anthropology. SHAPING TOMORROW wants to generate and promote solutions in the field of communication by conducting research and providing analysis, especially from a salesian perspective. SHAPING TOMORROW is to gather expertise and information to generate new ideas, results and recommendations in the field of social communication. SHAPING TOMORROW in the midst of the digital revolution calls for the education of media professionals. SHAPING TOMORROW is to actively participate in the public debate and seek solutions to social communication problems. SHAPING TOMORROW is to act internationally and influence decision-making processes by providing recommendations and solutions. We invite you to the Communication Conference to be held from 1 to 7 August 2024, in Rome.

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