Editorial: Keeping in touch with the community

SUNSTAR Davao's mission is quite simple -- "We are a world-class publishing company that produces community newspapers and other community-oriented media products. We lead the industry in the integrity and excellence of our corporate and journalistic principles and practices."

As a community newspaper, we look for stories within the community that we serve. We listen to the voice of the community and we write down or produce their stories on our different platforms.

Finding stories is not as easy as it looks.

Pre-pandemic days, our reporters and editors have to go around the city to get those stories. They had to listen carefully to news sources to determine the other angles and be able to dig deeper. A lot of network and relationship building also comes into play to ensure that we have the right sources for the stories that we are writing. It is through interpersonal relationships with different sectors of society that our team is able to produce interesting stories daily.

On top of these, we also follow a strict verification process to ensure that the stories we produce are objective, unbiased, and accurate.

However, with the pandemic, reaching out to sources has become limited. Or so we thought at the start of it.

While getting in touch with the community proved to be quite a challenge at the beginning, it later became easier to reach out to sources and people as days went on.

Just how we kept in stride with the times in the delivery of our content, we also saw that there has been a change in newsgathering. Since most of the sources have gone online and the need to observe proper social distancing, we had to resort to online communication to get our stories. Interviews now are being done through online chat or email. Through online communication channels, sources are also able to share relevant data, photos, and videos that we can use to enhance our stories. However, calls and texts are still there as it is the most convenient and reliable way to interview sources.

Several community stories now are also being posted online by netizens. We get these stories and dig deeper into it to understand its context and at the same time develop the story.

It is also through online communication that we are able to get to know and reach out to new sources.

The stories we write are not only there is raise awareness about the issues or stories of the community. The stories are there to also inform the community itself and those outside the community about Davao.

Amid the pandemic, the community press, despite its financial struggles, remains committed to delivering stories to the community that will give them context on what is happening around them.

At the same time, the community press is also there to make those living outside the community better understand it. It is the community press that is able to provide better context to issues happening in the locality and deliver it in a way that can be understood by those outside the community.

In keeping in touch with our community, SunStar Davao is not only limited to writing about it. We also do our best to find the stories, debunk misinformation about the community, and inform the community of what is happening around them.

As we celebrate our 25th year, SunStar Davao remains committed to serving its community despite the effects of the pandemic and as we adapt to the new normal.


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