10 Things Only a Development Communication Major Will Understand

"Development Communication? Ano 'yun?"
by Karen Terese Rojas   |  May 19, 2017
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Usually, students put a more common course such as Engineering or Communication Arts on their college application forms rather than more "unusual" ones like Applied Mathematics or Development Communication. Yes, there is such a course as Development Communication, or DevCom to those taking it, and there are things only DevCom majors will understand. Scroll through the list and see if you can relate to any of it.

  1. "Development Communication? Ano 'yun?"

Development Communication is a lesser known course since only a few universities in the country offer it, but sometimes it gets tiring to hear that question. And the usual answer a DevCom major would give is "it's similar to mass comm, but is focused on the marginalized sector," it's more than that, but it's the easiest answer to understand.

  1. It's a struggle to find a development-oriented topic around your school's area and a specific angle to write on.

As the course name suggests, we usually write about development-related issues that mainstream media don't usually talk about. It's not every day that a specific town or barangay has blood drives or black bug infestations, which is why it makes it hard to find good and interesting topics for articles.

  1. Some people assume you're not good at math or science.

DevCom is a Bachelor of Science course, just putting it out there. Some people assume that just because it's a communication course, we are not good in science or we don't like taking hard science subjects. Yes, we don't compute probabilities and memorize formulas on a daily basis, but we do take science electives especially in the last two years of our course.

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  1. Designing and revising your poster based on your professor and classmates' comments is hard.

Poster designing is a common task DevCom majors do since every semester, at least one poster is designed for class. It's hard to design a poster from scratch, but it's harder to revise it based on the comments on it. And editing the revised version again and again and again until your professor says it's good to go. You learn to appreciate people who do this for a living!


  1. Since communication materials are a staple in the course, analyses for these materials are done multiple times. Every. Single. Semester.

The golden rule in DevCom is to know your audience. This means that the audience is always put first when designing materials and writing articles. But this rule makes it difficult and stressful to create the perfect material for them. Then you have to test the prototype by showing it to the audience and asking for their comments. And just like the professor's comments, you revise the material based on the audience's comments until you get the perfect combination of colors and illustrations. Take note, we do this multiple times every semester and it's getting more complicated every semester.

  1. It takes a lot of time to transcribe a recorded interview.

Interviews are an essential part of DevCom articles which is why transcription has been a common task for us. But transcribing interviews is an arduous task which takes up to five hours for a 30-minute interview. Professors require us to submit word for word transcriptions, including the "eh," "ah," and "um"s of the interviewee. Talk about having to type an entire conversation just by listening to it.

  1. You know how hard it is to approach strangers and interview them on the spot.

Just like expert interviews, Man-On-The-Street interviews are important for articles. Getting the voice of ordinary people is essential to your story, but getting your voice out to ask them a question is not easy. DevCom students tend to ask weird questions which can make them uncomfortable, what they don't know is that we also feel uncomfortable!

  1. The difficulty of writing a news feature article.

Not a news article, not a feature article, but a news feature article. 50% news, 50% feature. It's hard to balance a news feature since you will always tend to favor one or the other, which you can't do. You have to make it "featurized" enough so it won't come across as straight news, but you have to contemporize it as well so it won't seem like your usual less serious article. Do you see our struggle? 


  1. You struggle explaining what your future job will be to your relatives.

The usual "may girlfriend/boyfriend ka na ba?" is a standard question in Filipino family reunions, normally followed by questions about your studies or job. If you're a DevCom student, you would know how hard it is to explain to your relatives what you will do after you graduate. It's not easy as saying that you're going to be an engineer or a teacher or a biologist. There are a lot of jobs DevCom graduates can have and you can't enumerate all of it to your aunts and uncles in just one sitting. LOL!

  1. Translating scientific and technical papers is a task.

We all know that scientific papers are hard to understand which is why DevCom students try to translate these papers to more simple ones for easier understanding. It's difficult to find the right words that are common to readers that won't change the meaning of the research paper itself. It becomes a task especially when the paper is really complicated and too scientific. Sigh.


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Karen Terese Rojas
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