The Philippine Press Institute (PPI), the national association of newspapers in the country, held its annual National Press Forum with the theme: Midya at Pandemya: Taking Charge of Journalism Post-Pandemic as well as the 2022 Civic Journalism Community Press Awards at the Citadines Bay City Manila from April 24 to 25.
The winners of this season’s community press awards, funded by Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC), are as follows:
For the daily category: SunStar Davao – Best in Photojournalism and Best Edited Community Newspaper; SunStar Cebu – Best in Environmental Reporting and Best in Business and Economic Reporting; and Freeman – Best Editorial Page.
For the weekly category: Baguio Chronicle – Best in Reporting on Migration Issues, Best Editorial Page and Best Edited Community Newspaper; and Luzonwide News Correspondent for Best in Environmental Reporting.
Re-elected PPI chairman and Manila Standard publisher Rolando G. Estabillo noted how community newspapers have been hit hard by the economic decline triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“But the pandemic also accelerated and pushed journalists and news outlets to adopt digital technology. The shift in the media world has brought about new challenges, restrictions and innovative story-telling approaches,” he said.
“Technology and social trends are driving changes in how and where news is created and consumed. These changes have had an impact on the way journalists operate, namely enabling them to work alone or remotely and become independent content creators. The norm in reporting is sharp social media and digital skills,” he added.
Estabillo said it is not surprising that traditional media lost steam as gatekeepers of access to news.
“We are on the cusp of a technological watershed in the order of magnitude greater than anything the world has yet seen. The advent of AI – for better or worse – gives us a glimpse of endless possibilities. As we journey ahead, shocks and disruptions will be constant as it was in all ages before, for as long as man continues to innovate and invent tools to move things forward and for as long as human beings are endlessly restless and distractible,” he added.
This year’s keynote speaker, Duuya Baatar from Mongolia, called for public and collaborative support for journalists to address existing challenges threatening the industry.
“Now is the time when we need public support, the public’s trust the most. We must all do our part to support and protect the work of journalists. We must demand that our leaders respect the freedom of the press and provide journalists with the resources and support they need to do their jobs effectively,” she said.
“Journalists now need to work together to prove to readers that we care about them, and that we go above and beyond to uncover the truth for them. The power of journalism lies in the ability to bring truth to light, to hold power to account and to give voice to the voiceless. Let’s all hold the line together, win the trust back and stand firm against malign actors to protect the integrity and reputation of journalism,” she added.
Rappler’s Inday Espina-Varona pointed out two major issues of concern: attacks on media via social media, and regaining the public’s trust.
“Social media platforms are being used by those who attack our right because it is not monitored. On the other hand, we need to explore the opportunity given to us by digital technology. To regain public trust we should go beyond rivalries, whether corporate, political, ideological, we need to work together, and instead of competition we collaborate, support each other and find ways for constructive criticism,” she said.
The back-to-back events were also attended by institutional and project partners such as the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC), International Labor Organization (ILO), Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC), and Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) as well as donors that include San Miguel Corporation (SMC), Unilab, Alfeo Theo Travel and Tours, SM Investments, SM Supermalls, Kusog Bicolandia, McDonalds and PAGCOR.