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The staying power of lifestyle  

By MAE COYIUTO, The Philippine STAR Published Oct 08, 2021 9:59 pm

A few weeks ago, I was on a call pitching to an organization about a possible Young STAR feature. When they asked what type of stories we published, I gave my regular spiel about how our content centers around what young people in the country care about. They then asked, “Can you summarize what that looks like in one word?”

I didn’t really have an answer. As a publication that can have both an article on the domestic violence crisis and a feature on the best Kathniel movies, I wasn’t sure there was a clear-cut, single-word category that we could fit our content in.

Yet PhilSTAR L!fe content producer Pinky Icamen sees the wide range of the topics they cover as the very appeal of a Lifestyle Section. “It is not shackled in a proverbial box that people may put it in. Lifestyle has the ability to morph into a reflection of what society is at any given time.”

The online conversation is much faster, and the audience more demanding. As journalists we have to play ball to remain relevant — that is, converse with our audience in a language that they understand through stories that resonate.

And with a society that’s going through one crisis after another these days, where does “lifestyle” belong? When I chatted with the PhilSTAR L!fe team, they agree that, print or digital, pandemic or no pandemic, lifestyle always stays relevant.

Camille Santiago, Associate Editor

Why did you decide to work in the media industry?

When I was in college, I wanted to pursue a career in fashion retail, but when an opportunity to intern for a fashion magazine came, I thought it was a good stepping-stone. And as clichéd as it sounds, I just fell in love with it. This is actually a full-circle moment for me, too, because my mom used to work for Starweek magazine in the late ’80s.

Since media is now predominantly online and digital, how does that affect the way lifestyle content is presented?

Nowadays, it’s easy to create content and share on social media. One minute your content has become engaging to an audience, the next, you’re losing impact. It has challenged lifestyle content creators to think outside of the box in order to stand out and get noticed.

Why do you think lifestyle content is needed in today’s landscape?

Sometimes, people think lifestyle content is mababaw or useless, and I get why they think of it that way. But there is a need for lifestyle content, now more than ever. People are looking for positivity and “light” content amid all the negativity. While staying updated with the current events is important, ultimately, a positive mindset and the ability to switch off will help people cope better.

Red Dimaandal, Social Media and Community Manager

Why did you decide to work in the media industry?

I always really wanted to work in lifestyle. I came from a background of being a beauty writer for a magazine, but I never really used all of my skills directly in just lifestyle. But I think digital is where I have fully grown and set my career.

Out of everything you’ve worked on for STAR, what are you most proud of?

There’s a lot! But I think I’m most proud of our Father’s Day campaign: “Thanks, Dad.” Our social media team produced humorous and heartfelt posts to honor dads out there — and it was definitely well received by our readers!

Why do you think lifestyle content is needed in today’s landscape?

I’ll be honest: I don’t think all that much about the issues mentioned when I’m off the clock. You’re more likely to find me playing with my dog, grocery shopping, or conversing with a good friend.

This is true for most people. We love our “me” time, family, friends, travels, hobbies, and so much more! And we will invest our time in anything that helps us live better, day by day. That includes seeking out and consuming lifestyle content.

Bim Santos, Head of News

Why did you decide to work in the media industry?

I guess the short answer is that I just love writing and reading stories, and I largely don’t mind ending up wherever the profession takes me to — from writing corporate stories to, now, helping edit, at times, stories on beauty pageants and local celebrities, alongside the usual hard news content.

Out of everything you’ve worked on for STAR, what are you most proud of?

I am more proud when our platform is used to help amplify meaningful voices that deserve to be heard amid the dizzying din of social media — such as, recently, Bea de Leon’s courageous piece released during the Martial Law commemoration on why it is important for her to speak up on social ills.

Since media is now predominantly online and digital, how does that affect the way lifestyle content is presented?

The online conversation is much faster, the language also is more quickly evolving, and the audience is more demanding. As journalists we have to play ball to remain relevant — that is, conversing with our audience in a language that they understand through stories that resonate — but at the same time the tenets of the profession at its core stay the same: truth, accuracy, fairness, accountability, humanity.

Pinky Icamen, Content Producer

Why did you decide to work in the media industry?

I was six years into my job in the BPO (business process outsourcing) industry when an opportunity to work for The Philippine STAR came to me.

Just the thought of applying was quite terrifying for me because, though I studied journalism in college, I did not have experience working for the mainstream media. But at the time, I was at the point of my life when I promised myself I would say “yes” to everything that life would offer me. So I did. And eventually, I got in “Allure.”

Out of everything you’ve worked on for STAR, what are you most proud of?

Beyond the projects and the published articles, what I am most proud of is being able to learn from the best in the industry. They allowed me to find my voice and equipped me to be ready for whatever the world has in store for me. And with that, I am not just proud but I am also beyond grateful.

Why do you think lifestyle content is needed in today’s landscape?

The pandemic, the country’s chaotic political arena, the unrelenting trolls whose wallets may (or may not) have been fattened by God knows who, are all part of what’s shaping lifestyle content that we are reading now and what we will see in the future.

People’s media habits and overall interests are constantly changing and the beauty of lifestyle is it is not shackled in a proverbial box that people may put it in. Lifestyle has the ability to morph into a reflection of what society is at any given time.

Lifestyle content, in whatever shape or form it will continue to take at present and post-pandemic, will still remain relevant.