Where We Are Going

The Philippine Star faces the new future on digital platforms

Published Jul 02, 2021 12:30 am Updated Jul 23, 2021 5:05 pm

From a brave eight-page issue 35 years ago, The Philippine STAR is now on multiple platforms, from print to smartphones to large TV and commercial LED screens. Just as the proliferation of fake news and trolls on social media is driving people back to legacy media for reliable journalism, the information fog from the pandemic is showing the value of long-established news organizations like The STAR.

Anniversaries are normally occasions for celebration. The past year of dealing with a deadly and economically crippling pandemic, however, has given nearly all enterprises little reason to celebrate.

And yet today, 35 years after we bravely put out our first issue, despite skepticism on whether there was room for yet another broadsheet in an already crowded media market, we are proud of the strength that has allowed The Philippine STAR to continue weathering the COVID super typhoon and other challenges.

That strength is based on both solid and reliable journalism, which no technology can kill, as well as solid administrative management that has allowed the paper to confront the challenges of the digital age.

 Philippine STAR founders Betty Go-Belmonte, Art Borjal and Max Soliven

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional news organizations — so-called legacy media — were already grappling with the challenges posed by new sources of information. Suddenly, anyone could post a story, photo, video or commentary, and in a flash it could be shared by millions.

The STAR has always strived to uphold the ethics of journalism, to be accurate and fair, to be responsible without sacrificing vibrant reporting. It is a daily struggle that has seen the paper slipping occasionally, but there is no let-up in the effort.

Advertisers saw the huge potential for exposure and migrated to cyberspace. The consequent financial bleeding led to large-scale downsizing and the shutdown of many print publications in several advanced media markets overseas.

Newspaper organizations scrambled to keep up with changing information consumption habits. The STAR’s president and CEO, Miguel Belmonte, saw the problem coming and had the prescience to team up early with the multimedia group of Manuel V. Pangilinan.

  Printed copies of The Philippine Star get ready to be distributed throughout the archipelago by land, air and sea. (File photo)

Today, 35 years since our first issue that was all of eight pages, front to back, published six days a week with advertising not accepted, STAR content is on multiple platforms, from print to smartphones to large TV and commercial LED screens.

There is a world of difference between journalism and posting information on social media. Journalists are held accountable to our stories. There is no anonymity for us, and we can face criminal prosecution for scurrilous reporting.

MVP Group chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan
    MVP Group chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan

Recent annual studies conducted by international media organizations have shown a growing global trend to return to legacy media as reliable sources of news and current events, informed opinion and properly curated images of the day.

The STAR has always strived to uphold the ethics of journalism, to be accurate and fair, to be responsible without sacrificing vibrant reporting. It is a daily struggle that has seen the paper slipping occasionally, but there is no let-up in the effort.

  Philippine STAR chairman of the board Atty Ray C. Espinosa

The late Betty Go-Belmonte, who founded The STAR together with the late Maximo Soliven in 1986, saw the critical role played by mass media in nation-building, and in nurturing the fragile democracy that was rising from the ruins of a dictatorship. That democracy remains fragile, and the publication continues to pursue Betty Go-Belmonte’s vision for The STAR.

The STAR has forged ahead, and will continue to do so, recovering like the rest of the nation and the world, and playing its role in making the country a better place.

Mass media is a business, and print publications have struggled against the competition posed by other sources of information. But recent global studies have also shown the value-added edge of print publications in marketing goods and services. Unlike in cyberspace, such advertising cannot be blocked or clicked away. The studies also show that people linger longer on printed ads.

Philippine STAR president and CEO Miguel G. Belmonte

Just as the proliferation of fake news and trolls on social media is driving people back to legacy media for reliable journalism, the information fog from the pandemic is showing the value of long-established news organizations like The STAR.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the media landscape even more challenging. We ourselves have not been spared from these challenges, or from the sickness, death and sorrow that the pandemic has unleashed.

And yet The STAR has forged ahead, and will continue to do so, recovering like the rest of the nation and the world, and playing its role in making the country a better place.

It is testament to how far The STAR has come since those eight-page issues that we still find reason to celebrate our 35th anniversary today, firmly believing that better days are ahead.

AMY PAMINTUAN, The Philippine STAR

Ana Marie Pamintuan is the editor-in-chief of The Philippine STAR. Her column “Sketches” appears in The STAR’s opinion section three times a week. Amy also co-hosts “The Chiefs,” the daily news and current affairs talk show on Cignal TV’s One News channel. ​Away from the newsroom, she de-stresses in the kitchen and plays with her dogs, and has been a plantita years before the word was coined and the pandemic struck.