Where We Are Going

How millennials and Gen Zs are making STAR platforms new age-ready

Published Jul 23, 2021 9:00 am

The Philippine STAR has come a long way from its brave eight-page first issue in 1986. From telling stories through the paper, it has adapted with the times and shifted to digital efforts as well in its 35 years.

Generations of workers have come and gone in the paper’s three decades in the biz, and in the past years, the post-1980s kids — millennials and Gen Zs — have been taking over the workplace, bringing their fresh ideas and keeping STAR on the rise.

Meet the young breed

Maureen Simeon joined STAR a month after her college graduation in 2015 and even interned for the paper a year before that. She has been a reporter for the Business section for six years.

Maureen Simeon, business reporter

“It wasn’t easy in the beginning since I was new and I realized na mga kasabayan ko sa business are veterans and ako ‘yung youngest sa group. Luckily, my editors are very nice and tutok sila sa pagturo for me to become a better reporter,” she shares.

  Mae Coyiuto, YoungSTAR editor

Like Maureen, Mae Coyiuto interned for STAR, writing for the paper’s youth arm, Young STAR, while she was in school. Currently, she’s the section’s editor, giving a platform for young voices. “It was so mind-blowing to me that they allowed young voices to contribute and have space in the paper,” she enthuses.

When Hannah Mallorca joined STAR in November 2019, the company was her last resort for journalism. “From being a last resort, it has become an avenue for me to grow again. It was a place for me to find my confidence as a writer,” she says. Fast forward a year and a half later in the company: she’s a content producer for PhilSTAR L!fe, mostly writing K-drama and K-pop articles.

  Hannah Mallorca, Philstarlife content producer

Another fresh face joining STAR in 2019 is digital account manager Ana Meera. She shares that a mentor once told her to work in a traditional media company if she’s hungry to learn about the industry. “Makikita mo kung paano sila mag-progress and evolve into the multimedia platforms that we have today.”

One of the newer additions, Rap Erfe went from a performer at a kids’ play zone to head of STAR’s Creative Services Unit. This tall guy loves a challenge and joined the company two months ago because of that. “The dream is to be like Anne Hathaway in The Intern or The Devil Wears Prada — working for a lifestyle or fashion magazine, because I really love clothes. Since STAR is a newspaper, there’s fashion and ang daming brackets,” he spills.

  Rap Erfe, head of creative services

Bringing all the hottest goss to STAR’s entertainment website, LatestChika.com,  are Lyka Nicart and Rossane Ramos, while Pau del Rosario, Arjane Sayson, and Janelle Lorzano busily keep STAR’s social media platforms fun and relevant.

What do you look for or value in a workplace?

MAUREEN: Independence, which I get from the STAR. As a reporter, we value the independence to write what we work hard for. Important sa ‘kin na supportive ‘yung office with the stories I want to pursue and they do give their support.

MAE: I really like having great mentors. I want to learn from the people I work with — not just from mentors, but also from co-workers. At Young STAR, I learn a lot from our freelancers and contributors.

HANNAH: Right now, I value growth the most: as a journalist and as a person. I’ve learned the hard way to find the right place to put in all the energy and effort.

RAP: The company culture. I’m an extrovert and a people person. If you sign up for a job, you don’t just sign up for the pay and the benefits; part of the job is working with different kinds of people every day.

ANA: It’s a cliché but I look for a happy environment. Alam mo ’yung stressed ka pero happy at the end of the day? I think STAR’s like that. Having colleagues you can talk to about this stuff makes the load lighter.

LYKA: A strong bond with my workmates. I personally think work becomes less stressful when you have a healthy relationship with your colleagues. It’s just nice to have people who you can work with comfortably and effectively get things done together, and I’m happy I have them in STAR.

  Lyka Nicart, content producer for LatestChika.com

Is STAR an ideal workplace for young people?

MAE: Personally, I think so because this was my first exposure to the creative industry when I was younger. It’s a workplace where you get heard, too.

PAU: Definitely! At first, it was very intimidating to work face-to-face with higher-ups or with people whose names you only see on print. But STAR made me feel that I am part of the team. They value our ideas, recognize our work, and provide us opportunities to grow and discover our niche.

Mary Pauline Del Rosario, head of social media

ANA: Yes, kasi you will learn a lot. STAR is very disciplined and strict so you learn that there are a lot of possibilities or solutions na pwede magawa. You will learn to think outside of the box.

Where do you see STAR five years from now?

MAE: Online publications and journalism can change so much in a year but I’m excited to see what’s going to happen. The platform has been innovating so much ever since it started.

HANNAH: Perhaps I’m looking forward to seeing STAR having more teams of millennials and Gen Zs because they bring a lot of fresh ideas to the workplace and they know what kind of content consumers and readers want.

RAP: I really see myself being with STAR even after five years so I feel like the company will be known for having great campaigns and for having a great advertising arm. People will look forward to our campaigns and storytelling.

ROSSANE: I envision STAR with a wider audience that’s even more friendly to our generation. As different titles like LatestChika.com surface, I’m optimistic that more platforms from STAR will catch the eye of readers.

  Rossane Ramos, content producer for LatestChika.com

MAUREEN: Given the circumstances STAR was born into, I think to come out and triumph over that kind of dictatorship is a sign or message that it will do everything in its power to stay the course. The foundation is there and the people working for the paper will really do their best to stay relevant and continue pursuing stories that matter for the country.

What do young people in the company bring to the table?

ARJANE: New stuff! I think, just like language na alive and ever-changing, na may mga salita na nagbabago ng anyo or meaning, ganun din ang mundo. Young people do have an eye for that, and young people are not afraid of change because they are the ones changing things.

Arjane Sayson, social media content producer and video editor

ANA: We have a lot of fresh ideas. Napapansin ko na sa lahat na nakawork ko na ka-age ko, we have a lot of ideas that we can execute properly. And because of it, we strengthen our platforms.

RAP: The knowledge of the digital platform and social media, but more than just that, the energy, because it’s contagious. With millennials and Gen Zs coming in, andun yung energy and enthusiasm to do more.

HANNAH: We can offer a change of language in our content. I’ve noticed na mas pinapatulan ng readers when the writing is more millennial and Gen Z-toned. That’s what the young staff of STAR can do well.

How are millennials and Gen Zs helping steer this company into the new age?

JANELLE: Since millennials and Gen Zs are always on-trend, we help to improve the company’s shift to digital. The younger generation is independent, competitive, and can multitask.

MAE: Aside from Young STAR, I like how STAR’s Twitter team uses the platform. They’re super witty and they really know how the platform works. I feel like online publications have to be that flexible and adapt to how people digest content nowadays. Young people are just really flexible and they help STAR find new ways of reaching people.


Ayie is a self-confessed nerd with a love for all things tech, film, and queer culture.