June 20, 2024

The Philippine Press Institute (PPI),  the national association of newspapers and online publications in the country, is stronger than ever as it celebrated a milestone of trailblazing initiatives for its print members, riding high on its overarching mantra, “building better communities”.

On its 60th year, the PPI organized three assemblies and hosted two major awards from April 24 to 26 at Century Park in Manila: general membership meeting, outstanding stories on breast cancer, national press forum, community press awards, and learning exchange forum.

“It’s bigger this year, owing to PPI’s diamond year, being the oldest media organization in the country for print since 1964,” PPI Executive Director Ariel Sebellino said.

He added PPI has come a long way since its comeback in 1987 having been declared moribund during Martial Law years.

This year’s theme, “The future of newsrooms: The viability of print in an AI era”, put emphasis on print innovations and sustaining newspaper operations against the backdrop of overwhelming technologies, rowdy social media platforms, dwindling readership and diminishing revenues. Chong Ardivilla from Texas Tech University discussed via Zoom the need to innovate the layout and design of community newspapers while Dominic Ligot, founder and chief technology officer of CirroLytix talked about artificial intelligence in the newsrooms.

Danny Yong, business adviser from the International Media Support (IMS) shared sustainability models for newsrooms.

The shift to digital media in how information is produced, consumed, and distributed, according to PPI chair-president Rolando Estabillo, has posed significant threats to the traditional press. “At present, our advocacy group finds itself confronting new challenges and opportunities in the ever-evolving media landscape. As it continues to evolve as a media organization dedicated to championing it members’ welfare and interests, the PPI has welcomed news partners such as Novartis Philippines and Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) to boost plans in expanding journalism initiatives and public discourse on health via trainings for journalists, journalism fellowship programs and recognition for outstanding reportage. For its part, Novartis acknowledges the role of media in raising awareness on breast cancer that “it is not a death sentence”.

The first Think Pink Awards recognized newspapers and journalists for their outstanding stories on breast cancer.

Training the spotlight on the creation of Media-Citizen Councils, the PPI has also partnered with the IMS to stress the importance of media accountability and self-regulation under the framework of the Philippine Plan of Action for the Safety of Journalists (PPASJ).

Central to a contemporary council is the presence of mediation via alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as explained by Atty. Irene De Torres Alogoc, undersecretary and executive director of the Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution which is under the Department of Justice.

Commission on Human Rights Chair Richard Palpal-latoc, talked about a rights-based approach on the media-citizen councils.

The 2023 Community Press Awards is the highlight of PPI’s 60th year. It recognized journalism excellence of community publications in various categories: Best in Reporting on Migration Issues, Best in Photojournalism, Best in Environmental Reporting, Best in Business and Economic Reporting, Best Editorial Page, Best Edited Community Newspaper, and Best News Website, a new category in the 27th edition.

In addition, PHAP awarded newspapers and journalists for their outstanding stories on Health Innovation and Collaboration.

The ceremony also honored its long-time institutional partner Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) for its exceptional commitment and unparalleled support to Philippine press, especially to the PPI member-publications across the archipelago.

The special citation also recognized NAC’s contribution to building better communities through responsible mining.

The PPI 60th anniversary is also supported by International Labour Organization, SM Prime, SM Investments, JTI, San Miguel Corporation, Phinma, SM Foundation, Ayala Corporation, Bayad (a Meralco subsidiary), Unilab, and Neitiviti Studios. – Press release