Touching base with the communities

Contributed photos

SUNSTAR Davao was born 25 years ago out of the need to tell the stories from Davao and its neighboring areas initially just to the residents where it served.

But as time went by when the news organizations in the capital proceeded with telling stories about the region and its nearby areas the way they wanted to show to the people how our communities were like, Sunstar Davao has become an important news sources which are truly based on "how it happened, where it happened, and why it happened."

For 25 years Sunstar Davao made sure that it touches base with the communities and its residents whether their stories were depressing or inspiring.

SunStar Davao past reporters have shared how they were able to tell the stories of the communities to the readers.

Ara Casas-Tumuran

(Reporter 2011-2015)

A journalist should have passion for the people. More than the ears to listen, we must have a heart that balances the information from the sources to our readers.

I remember I made friends with the security guards, service crew, PUV drivers, street vendors, among others, who would message me whenever they had a scoop. They have the nose for news and can make information a big story. As what our former EIC, Ma'am Stella, would tell us everyone has a story to tell and we just need to listen. But, of course, it is a journalist's responsibility to verify everything first before telling it to the world.

Rhealyn C. Pojas

(Reporter 2015-2016; Editor 2016-2017)

For me ang pinakaimportante jud is maka-build ka ug impression that you can be trusted kay kung kana pa lang na aspect makita nila nga dili ka masaligan, kana pa dakong barrier na sa pagkuha nimo'g information (The most important for me is to build an impression that you can be trusted, because if they sense that you are not trustworthy, then that would be a huge barrier for you to get information).

When it comes to reaching out sa (in) community, for me what's important is that you really have to be there in the midst, talk to them, get first hand information, see for yourself the situation, although there are other ways to reach out to them through the technology, pero (but) if I could get the chance muadto sa (to go to the) community I would grab it because that's the best way to get to the bottom of the story, get to the heart of the story.

Jereco Paloma

(Reporter 2010-2013)

When it comes to reaching out to the people in the community, I would intentionally drop by at the people; people on the street, vendors, ordinary citizens at the City Hall, talk to them, ask them how they have been, then they start to open up.

Ivy Tejano

(Reporter 2010-2018)

First and foremost is to establish rapport with your sources. Mingle and make friends, that's what our editor in chief, Ma'am Stella, taught us. Never be shy to make friends, because as time goes by it's the information who will come directly to you. In getting community stories, I go directly on the streets especially if the sources can easily be encountered on the streets like street vendors, and ordinary people, etc. But if they belong to marginalized groups like the Badjao IP, prostitute, CICL (children in conflict with the law), I first go to the right government agencies or NGOs (non-government organizations) who can help me reach out to them. Actually, there are various ways to reach out to the people in the community, it will just depend on who I was going to interview. In fact, through these ways of reaching out to the people I won as Reporter of the Year in the Globe Media Awards in 2012 and nominee for the same award from 2012-2016.

Iobone Enobio

(Reporter 2000-2002)

Aside from attending regular media forums like the Kapihans and the weekly Club 888 Forum, I got most of my business stories for SunStar Davao through on-site coverage of business events and sit-down interviews on relevant business topics with not just the officials and subject experts but also the affected stakeholders.

For a certain news on a robust economic growth in Davao's economy, I had to get information from data experts but also engage local businessmen, consumer groups, business chambers and other affected sectors, for comments/views. For stories on shortage in agri production or increase in price of basic commodities for instance, I reached out to farmers, laborers, consumers and other affected groups, for statements either via face to face to interviews or telephone calls. In community news reporting, seeking different voices and reaching out to different sources for comments is essential in order to provide your readers a better context and analysis of the story.

With the digital age, stories of the communities have become more relevant and are heard. Community journalism is even more highlighted and appreciated as there can be no one who can tell the stories of the grassroots than those who belong to the community themselves. And that's how Sunstar Davao is doing over the 25 years -- giving factual news and stories that matter.


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