It is 3 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon and the Palawan News group chat suddenly breaks into a frenzy. An informant had tipped a reporter that a patient just died of COVID-19 moments earlier at the Ospital ng Palawan. A bunch of hard-nosed beat reporters collectively nicknamed “Strikers” drops everything and are at once on the fast lane, calling up sources, cross-checking anything that needs validation, recording “SOTs”, the PN newsroom jargon for sound on tape direct from news sources that make the story truthful and credible.
The mental clock at the back of each journalist’s head keeps ticking, their gut instinct telling them they are racing against themselves to break the story. The editors work up the angle, double check the facts and the context behind the news. And in just a few minutes since the first tip came in, Palawan News had broken the story to its readers.
Such routine has defined a big part of Palawan News’ brand of journalism – credible, independent, fearless. This month, this newspaper celebrates its 6th-year anniversary with a small tribute to community journalism.
Since it was formed, Palawan News’ pursuit of independent reporting continues to drive us to seek new heights. The past year has been the most challenging thus far, as the pandemic brought the economy to its knees and most businesses, including newspaper publishing, have suffered. Rather than give up, PN opted to forge ahead, driven by its goal of providing to Palaweños and the outside community a newspaper that honestly reflects the Palawan story. The vision remains clear to each of the men and women of a newspaper that prides itself as a true and independent media.
To celebrate our milestone this year, we decided to forego some of the celebratory activities we initially planned and instead channel our efforts to help in containing the spread of COVID-19. Among these activities are a bloodletting event “Blood Matters” to be held Sunday at the SM Prime Mall, turnover of vitamins for use of the frontliners of the city Incident Management Team (IMT), and “Quarantinig 2”, a week-long online musical performance of selected local artists to help raise funds for the city’s health frontliners. Palawan News will also be footing the bill on two additional nurses and two nursing assistants for 45 days to augment the depleted workforce of the City IMT who have been going on duty for 16 hours daily. We are also hopeful that Quarantinig 2 will be able to help raise additional funds to sustain our voluntary effort to assist the IMT.
As a newspaper, we will continue our pursuit of excellence. The path is laden with distractions and challenges but our team of young men and women committed to the highest standards of community journalism are up to the challenge.
The Palawan News newsroom has transformed drastically since it began five years ago. The newspaper industry continually confronts an evolving landscape, one that is decidedly shaped by social media and the internet and where news is no longer just the exclusive domain of trained journalists but are also fodder to the unbridled social media platforms of today.
This week, we launched a significant milestone for Palawan News – our partnership with the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) under the latter’s Inquirer Plus Initiative, working hand in hand with other leading community newspapers around the country to strengthen community journalism.
So long as the daily grind that genuine news organizations practice finds a constituency among the audience out there, Palawan News will remain relevant and necessary.
We are thus closing and bookmarking our 6th year this month of April 2021, pretty much as a young fledgling newspaper. We look forward to another version of Palawan News next year, perhaps much wiser and better – with your continued support, dear readers.