Signaling a seismic shift in how people consume news these days, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ State of the Commonwealth Address last Friday at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center wasn’t just covered by mass media. It was also streamed live, it was on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and many other social media sites. In fact, many of those who couldn’t attend used the internet to watch the proceedings.
“The SOCA was seen and heard live on the governor’s Facebook page, Northern Marianas College Facebook page, and it was also broadcast on radio via 92.1 KKMP…
“The goal of this administration is to continue to transition a lot of our technologies in the 21st century in a more concerted fashion…
“The biggest priority for us was to make sure that the SOCA is continually accessible through our media outlets to make sure that, whether people are at home, in the office or cars can understand what’s going on with the government,” said press secretary Kevin Bautista.
“We understand that people have an insatiable appetite for content. There is a need for people to see a transparent government and our biggest goal is to continue to operate in a way where we are able to present that story to the public, as well as showing the world that this is the story of the Commonwealth now,” he added.
Bautista said the biggest changes in how the 2018 SOCA was presented was the use of live streaming and a PowerPoint presentation that outlined the progress of the current administration. This was echoed by Northern Marianas College Network System administrator Jerome Ortiz, who was part of the production crew that covered the speech.
“We were in charge of production and video recording of the SOCA last year and this year was definitely different as production value was really thought of so we can present the message better. The big differences are the smooth transition of the slides and presentation, we have a new layout that is visually-friendly, a split screen and the template that we used was clear so words can be read easily,” he said.
“Before, it was just a steady frame, meaning one camera pointed at the governor. There was no presentation and no PowerPoint. Our team was given the goal to not only bring the voice of the governor but also visuals of the work that has been done and plans for the future,” he added.
Rep. Angel Demapan (R-Saipan), who is active on social media, said the 2018 SOCA engaging in different media outlets is an indication of two things. “One, that we bring the message from the government out to its people and, two, it’s an indicator of how far we have come in terms of technological advancement in the Commonwealth as it is a reflection of economic advancement.”
“Bringing those two factors together, you basically are able to deliver the work of the government directly to people’s homes,” he added.
According to Kagman High School teacher Gerard Van Gils, having a young governor who is in tune with the current times understands the importance of social media. “We have the youngest governor in the country and he understands that most people in the Commonwealth aren’t going to fit in just one room so you’ve got to reach out to the people who are out there,” he said.
“Our youth is less interested in sitting in a room to hear their governor speak…they want to re-listen to it on YouTube or catch it on FB live streaming. …I think Gov. Torres is reaching out to the youth of the Commonwealth in all kinds of media platforms,” he added.
Bautista said this engagement with different media platforms foreshadows big plans for the future. “One of the biggest things…is the vision for the next five to 10 years and that is economic diversification. We want to focus on our infrastructure to accommodate a more diversified economy that is not just relying on the tourism or gaming industry.”
“Our policy team is working on enhancing our agriculture industry and creation of the technology industry that is tangible and accommodating so what could be a potential market within the Pacific where the CNMI can be a hub and…Governor Torres is going to continue to push this within the next few years if he gets elected…to bring economic agenda and prosperity that is felt by every single person in the Marianas,” he added.