AFTER reaping different accolades from the Globe Media Excellence Awards 2020 on November 26, 2020, this time around, SunStar Davao grabbed the major award at the 2019 Civic Journalism Community Press Awards of the Philippine Press Institute (PPI).
SunStar Davao was the only community newspaper in Mindanao that won in the PPI awards this year, winning the Best Edited Community Newspaper, which was announced on December 7, 2020 during the PPI awarding via zoom.
Part of its citation says that SunStar Davao won "for featuring stories that have an impact on the local community and giving voice to the marginalized. Sunstar Davao shone the spotlight on issues such as plastic recycling, non-compliant pharmacies on VAT-exemption of medicines, coconut hubs, and Davao's pawikan center, some 10,000 businesses blocked for non-compliance with Bureau of Fire requirements, and vehicular accidents in the city."
Manila Standard's Joyce Pañares, one of the judges, said that among SunStar Davao's stories that stood out was the Mindanao railway project.
"It zoomed in with its impact on a village along the path of the construction of the project, hinahanap nila ang context and impact sa story nila sa local na community," Pañares said.
Ramon R. Tuazon, Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC) president, said the award's overall criteria include the newspaper (1) should be a catalyst for community action, whether it is for discussion of issues, decision for change or expression of public sentiment; (2) content covers issues and concerns relevant to community life and aspirations, (3) content goes beyond providing news and information also inspires readers to get involved, get engaged and take ownership of problems in their community.
Reuel John F. Lumawag, editor-in-chief of SunStar Davao, vowed that with the award, SunStar Davao will continue to provide factual and accurate information to the readers and explain what is happening around them especially during the pandemic.
"These awards will serve as an inspiration for many community newspapers to continue to do what we have committed ourselves to the community that we are in. This will drive us to serve the community, to continue to write the stories that are within the alleyways, subdivisions, barangays, and puroks where we are from," Lumawag said.
Meanwhile, Jose Bayani D. Baylon, vice president of Nickel Asia Corporation, one of the long-standing partners of the Philippine Press Institute (PPI), emphasized the significance of community journalism especially during pandemic.
"Only a well informed public is able to make wise decisions which in turn are at the heart of good governance in our country. At a time of a pandemic when millions of our people are afraid and lots of misinformation abound, it is critical for the media to play a coming role by providing our public with sources of information they know they can trust," he said during the same event.
Baylon added that community journalism's role was even more intensified with the disinformation that spawned from social media.
Other awardees of the PPI awards are (for daily):
* Best in photojournalism - The Freeman (Visayas)
* Best in Environmental Reporting - Leyte Samar Daily Express (Visayas)
* Best in Business and Economic Reporting - The Guardian (Visayas)
* Best in Editorial Page - The Freeman (Visayas)
For the weekly:
* Best in Photojournalism is Baguio Chronicle (Luzon)
* Best in Environmental Reporting - Herald Express (Luzon)
* Best in Business and Economic Reporting - Herald Express (Luzon)
* Best in Editorial Page - Baguio Chronicle (Luzon)
* Best Edited Community Newspaper - Baguio Chronicle (Luzon).