Editorial: Community paper in digital times

ON OCTOBER 1 to 3, the SunStar Philippines network gathered in Cebu City in a bid to strengthen its efforts in keeping up with the digital times.

SunStar affiliates from Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Baguio, and Pampanga met with their counterparts from SunStar Cebu and SunStar Philippines to understand how the print industry is with the changing times and what we can do to cope.

During the presentation of Nini Cabaero, SunStar Cebu director for content, she gave a brief yet eye-opening realization of the print industry. She said that print journalism is in peril; circulation is dropping and ad revenue is shrinking, and the industry has experienced an unprecedented wave of layoffs and cutbacks.

To keep up with the changing landscape of print journalism, the SunStar Philippines network is finding new ways to tell stories. This can be done through video, multimedia, microblogging, and live interviews and panel discussions.

As a newspaper outfit, we have to face the reality that going digital-first and mobile-first is a journalism reality. While it took a while to be embraced, the network and its journalists have embraced this reality with each affiliate implementing their respective strategies.

If you visit each of the affiliates' social media pages, including SunStar Philippines and SunStar Cebu, you will find the different digital content that each has implemented.

However, most notable across the network is the SunStar Newsbits. The frequency of the Newsbits vary but it is the same program -- a digital newscast of the top stories of the day or week. Depending on which SunStar affiliate you visit, the newscast may be daily, weekly, or every other day.

Here at SunStar Davao, we air our weekly Newsbits every Friday at 7 p.m., while SunStar Superbalita Davao is aired every Saturday at 7 p.m.

Since each affiliate is autonomous with each other, each also has its unique digital programs. For SunStar Davao, you have Best of Davao, Artist in Focus, Dasig, SunStar Focus, Chit Chat, and Straight from the Stars. Superbalita Davao, on the other hand, has Istorya Ta and Dear Noy Tikyo.

While we are stepping up our digital presence, this does not mean that we have forgotten about the newspaper. The newspaper will still be there providing our readers in-depth stories of the day. However, as a media outfit, we are evolving from just a community newspaper to a content provider that delivers the story of the community we are in through various media platforms.

Challenges still abound for the whole SunStar network as it takes on the changing landscape of print journalism. Despite these changes, we remain committed to delivering to our audiences and readers local stories of the communities we serve.


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