Days of toil and nights of dreaming big

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Friday, June 27, 2014


NINETEEN years ago, I and a crew of journalists in Cagayan de Oro embarked on a mission to revive a moribund newspaper called the Daily Tribune. Empowered by the support of the people behind SUN.STAR DAILY in Cebu City and our commitment to give Cagayan de Oro City a daily newspaper that it deserved, we turned this mission into an adventure.

The product is the paper you now have in your hands. Since those days of toil and nights of dreaming big for a small paper, SUN.STAR CAGAYAN DE ORO has endured. Although I, the editor in chief at the time, left the paper a year or so after launching it, it had a lasting impact on me and, I would like to think, on the editors, reporters, and the staff in production, sales and administration. I’m convinced that it contributed to the development of the Cagayan de Oro community.

As a journalist for nearly 20 years, I embraced the value of a free press that is also competent and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the community. As an advocate of press freedom and human rights, I have come to expect journalists to go out of their comfort zone, to report the unreported realities, and to comfort, as the journalistic cliché goes, the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

That was what we had set out to do 19 years ago and that is what I expect SUN.STAR CAGAYAN DE ORO to continue doing. The coming decades are going to be a challenge for the mainstream press, particularly print.

For community newspapers like SUN.STAR CAGAYAN DE ORO, the future may seem bleak in the face of so much media that are incredibly easy to access these days. But this newspaper will survive this challenge as long as it remains true to its mission: to serve the people of Cagayan de Oro by doing what it does best – reporting and analyzing events and issues factually and fairly.

***

(Conde is the first editor of Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro. After leaving the paper in 1996, he worked for The New York Times for 10 years as its Manila correspondent. He retired from journalism three years ago and now works for the New York-based Human Rights Watch as an Asia researcher covering the Philippines.)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 27, 2014.

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