Civic Journalism Community Press Awards
The Philippine Press Institute (PPI) and Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF) in cooperation with the Philippine Association of Communication Educators (PACE) Foundation launched the Annual Community Press Awards for Excellence in 1996, the first and only awards program of its kind in the country. The first awards were given to regional newspapers in 1997. There was only daily category. The weekly category was added in the next awards season. So far, only two papers hold the distinction as Hall of Fame Awardees in May 2000: Cebu City-based The Freeman and Sun.Star Cebu. They were back in the competition in 2009.
The Awards program, aimed at raising the standards of journalism in the countryside, seeks to honor print news organizations, not only for editorial excellence but also for their role as catalysts for community development.
When KAF ended its support in 2005, the awards program has been undertaken solely by the PPI. In 2008, The Coca-Cola Export Corporation (TCCEC) became the institutional partner. That year, TCCEC started to support PPI’s efforts to help improve reportage through training courses, particularly in Civic Journalism. Since then, Civic Journalism has been what the Awards are about. This is in line with the principal partner’s corporate social responsibility program which, among other things, seeks to promote journalism as a medium for community feedback and participation.
In 2013, Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) became PPI’s principal partner in its flagship programs, the Awards included. It still is a principal partner to this day.
Other feature or special categories were occasionally added namely, Best in Fisheries Reporting with Oceana Philippines, Best in Climate and Biodiversity Reporting with ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, Best in Culture, Arts and History Reporting with National Commission on Culture and the Arts, and Best Reporting on Disasters with Coca-Cola.
Only PPI member-newspapers are eligible for the awards. All copies of the previous year, monitored from January to December are automatically screened. Those which pass the monitoring and evaluation go through initial screening by journalism educators-cum-practitioners who come up with regional winners. This shortlist is then submitted to the Board of Judges composed of experts from various fields for final judging. Each winner receives a cash prize and a trophy.
The Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC) serves as the Awards Secretariat.
With Civic Journalism as framework, the following general criteria are adopted:
- The community newspaper should be a catalyst for community action, whether it be a discussion of issues, a decision for change, or an expression of public sentiment
- The content of the newspaper covers issues and concerns relevant to the community’s life and aspirations
- Content of the newspaper goes beyond providing news and information. It should also inspire readers to “get involved, get engaged and take ownership of problems” thus transforming readers from spectators into participants.
- The newspaper should seek and present information and views of all community members – be they the elite or the masses.
- The newspaper should be proactive with content that does not only report events but also emerging issues and concerns.
- The newspaper should be concerned with follow-up of stories and reports and should be able to present developments relevant to policy action and immediate decision.
- The newspaper should reflect an understanding of community ethos, history, culture, and values, among others.
- BEST EDITED COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER – For excellence in coverage, content, writing and editing. The newspaper must demonstrate a high level of consistency in its quality of writing and reporting that empowers community members to think, observe or act on issues and concerns affecting their community.
- BEST EDITORIAL PAGE – For distinguished editorial writing – clearness of style, moral purpose, sound reasoning, and power to influence public opinion in what the writer conceives to be the right direction. The newspaper must be able to provide a forum for diverse opinions of community members, giving all sectors of the community the opportunity to express themselves, communicate their concerns for community welfare and mobilize everyone to act on issues and concerns.
- BEST IN BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC REPORTING – For excellence in the coverage and reporting of local business and economic events. The newspaper must demonstrate regularity in its coverage and frequency of in-depth reporting of economic activities in the community. It is focused on economic and business developments of the community – its issues, concerns and, most importantly, existing and potential economic opportunities; it promotes entrepreneurship; it presents to the readers the impact of global and national business and economic issues and trends on the community economy.
- BEST IN ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTING – For excellence in news and features about the environment. The newspaper must demonstrate regularity and effectiveness in the reporting of news, issues and concerns on the environment. The newspaper gives priority to current and emerging environmental issues, creating a venue for the promotion of environmental literacy and culture and encouraging its public to develop a global mindset.
- BEST IN PHOTOJOURNALISM – For excellence in news coverage of community life through photos, thus capturing realities in the community which may need to be addressed or simply appreciated as part of its dynamic transformation actively participated in by the reading public. The newspaper must demonstrate creative ability to depict human interest subjects in pictures to enhance the marketability of the newspaper without resorting to portrayal of sex and violence.