The advent of technology ushered in numerous opportunities for nearly every industry. For the news industry, it allowed the public to gain easy access and real-time updates on current events. Yet some local news organizations struggle with gaining an audience, especially with the presence of fake news peddlers that threaten the credibility of journalists.
Eager to protect local journalists’ interests, the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) launched the PPI News Commons, which connects communities from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao through quality community journalism.
PPI News Commons is a space where local journalists can share their stories with a broader audience and disseminate information promptly and aptly to the public anytime, anywhere. It also signifies the organization’s evolution through the years, demonstrating that news and the people who tell them evolve with the times.
Some topics available on the platform include current events, politics, business, features, and COVID-19 stories, among other sections. Although the platform emphasizes local news stories from provinces or nationally, readers can also get news updates from global events.
However, the main goal of the PPI News Commons is to give media outlets and their journalists a springboard for a wider audience without additional costs. It’s no secret that many news agencies, especially the print media, struggle with modernization. The latest effort from PPI ensures that these organizations have a space online where they can share relevant stories, connect with their audiences, and secure the future of journalists.
“It is both commercial and altruistic in nature: the former as an add-on to what they are already naturally doing to earn, the latter to seek opportunities for them via revenue-sharing amongst members through Ads. Its strength lies in the PPI members’ inherent capacity to bring to the fore stories from the ground as they are immersed in various communities where ‘small’ newspapers thrive,” said PPI executive director Ariel Cervantes Sebellino.
Thanks to its growing audience, the PPI News Commons hopes to expand its reach and content from regional and national news to a global-scale effort.
“We want the PPI News Commons to go full-blast and be competitive. It is a work in progress. I see it evolving as a force to reckon with in the ASEAN. The ambition is to go international, meaning to bring together also foreign publications run by Filipinos elsewhere outside the Philippines. In the long run, we want it to be lucrative for the benefit of PPI members,” Sebellino shared.
Besides consolidating various local news agencies on one platform, PPI News Commons is also trailblazing innovation in the advertising industry, given its uniqueness and the advantages surrounding its circumstances.
Through PPI News Commons, advertisers can easily reach their target market through precise digital ad placements on the platform.
For instance, businesses looking to reach audiences in Mindanao can visit the PPI News Commons and view member newspapers based in Mindanao to implement a more targeted and efficient approach.
“The sheer number of website visitors and Facebook followers of all PPI member-community newspapers that are part of the PPI News Commons ensures your message gets delivered,” Neitiviti Marketing Director Joyce Pardo said.
As the well-known saying goes, “If you can’t beat them, join them,” and the PPI News Commons jumped onto the modernization of society and banded together to create the most efficient approach to sharing credible information from news outlets in the Philippines.
Empowering and lauding journalists
Creating the online consolidated space for the PPI’s member news outlets is only one of the many steps the organization takes to protect and inspire the journalists who painstakingly carry out their duties as newspersons. The reputable organization also recognizes the efforts of its members through the annual Civic Journalism Awards.
The Awards program aims to raise the standard of journalism in the countryside and honor print news organizations for their editorial excellence and role as catalysts for community development.
“It will always be a living testament and legacy of community media’s resilience and aspiration to provide good journalism, which, after all, is a social or public good. There’s a treasure trove of meaningful stories from the ground. That is the character of Civic Journalism—bringing in more voices, engaging common folk—and in the end, building better communities,” Sebellino said.
Local news organizations are again up for recognition in the annual Awards program today, October 24, as the PPI holds the Civic Journalism Awards at Century Park Hotel.
PPI holds the Annual Civic Journalism Awards in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF) and the Philippine Associate of Communication Educators (PACE) Foundation. Together, they launched the Annual Community Press Awards for Excellence in 1996, the first and only awards program of its kind.
When KAF ended its support in 2005, the PPI took the helm and maintained the awards program annually. In 2008, the Coca-Cola Export Corporation (TCCEC) became its institutional partner. That year, TCCEC began supporting PPI’s efforts in improving reportage through training courses, especially in civic journalism.
Since then, the Awards program has focused on Civic Journalism. It coincides with the principal partner’s corporate social responsibility program, which seeks to promote journalism as a medium for community feedback and participation.
Journalists are vital in any society as they risk life and limb to relay the news for the public interest. Modernization shouldn’t be a rival to their existence. Through PPI News Commons, the PPI proves that journalists from traditional media have a fighting chance in the digital world. PPI also recognizes the efforts of journalists who go above and beyond the call of duty.
“From a ‘conservative’ to a more proactive print organization, the PPI learned to embrace the influx of changes throughout the years. In the past, its focus was entirely print, which, as we all know, is the backbone of journalism. Besides being an organization, it consciously and conscientiously evolved into a platform for innovations and learnings as it has opened its doors for wider engagement,” Sebellino said.
With all these efforts, local newspersons now have a safe community created by their concerned colleagues in the industry to continuously prove that journalism is as relevant as ever, no matter the platform.