TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2014
It’s the empowering, wonderful world of an ‘omniplatform’ news org Publisher
I JOINED THE INQUIRER family in 2004 when I became a columnist, and soon discovered the global reach of the INQUIRER’s readership. I would get thoughtful comments from abroad, and not just from Filipinos but foreigners as well. I also felt the bite and wit of readers’ online responses (alas, including the nastiness of the anonymous commenters.) But it was only when I became publisher in 2012 that I saw the painstaking work that went into every issue, and shared with the rest of the INQUIRER staff the exhilaration of watching the news take shape. One evening in early 2013, our editor in chief Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc told me that our multiawarded investigative reporter, Nancy Carvajal, would talk to me about sensitive information she discovered at the National Bureau of Investigation. Little did I know that Nancy was just about to introduce me to the whistle-blowers of what would become the
Napoles exposé. I couldn’t have imagined that the evening’s conversation would result in an investigative report that would rock Philippine politics to the core, and lead to the indictment and arrest of three senators.
Page 1 On the other hand, that report gave me the first libel case against me as publisher. Some might think that I, as a lawyer, would be used to seeing my name on legal documents, but I hasten to say: Never on Page 1! Sure, I can sign a pleading or motion on the second to the last page, but seeing my name in the caption on Page 1 felt very, very different. After a while, though, I was no longer too distressed when I hear of yet another libel case. Once, after a 12-hour flight, I disembarked from the plane to hear that we had just been sued, and I simply sat down in the airport lounge to compose the newspaper’s response. As publisher, it has also become my lot to read pained letters from persons complaining about the INQUIRER’s reports about them. I recall a handwrit-
By Raul Pangalangan
BURDENSOME CHORE So says publisher Raul Pangalangan of having to meet and tour-guide beauties around the INQUIRER office. ten note from a respected, if controversial, political leader who lamented the newpaper’s “sustained campaign of vilification,” and me phoning him, not knowing how he would react, to tell him we would publish his side. I received similar—and countless—phone calls from congressmen in the course of one of our exposés, and I assured the
callers that the INQUIRER would publish their responses. I have also learned a new vocabulary. The INQUIRER is “omniplatform”: print, web, social media, mobile, radio and events—and most dominant and pioneering in several of them. The INQUIRER editors and staff are ready in a big way for the worldwide shift from the
traditional print medium to the myriad of new ways by which people talk to one another, and hear and spread the news.
‘Educational’ duty The one thing I hadn’t expected among my publisher’s duties is one that, really, I just inherited from my predecessor, Isagani Yambot: I welcome all the beau-
ty queens who visit the INQUIRER office. Not just a few, I tell you, but just about every beauty contest in this neck of the woods. They actually arrive in big airconditioned buses, sashay up the winding steps of the INQUIRER building. The “candidates” show up at my door, and we pose for obligatory photographs that, Letty tells me, Gani insisted was the most onerous of his burdens as publisher. Let’s just say that the experience has been ... very educational. Stiffly posing while the photographers juggle several cameras and try different angles, I do manage some conversation with my visitors. “Where’s Lithuania? When did Croatia become independent?” A song from the 1970s readily comes to mind. “Don’t know much about history ... Don’t know much about geography ...” But when one thinks of all the grand possibilities of an omniplatform news organization that will empower every Filipino to choose and choose wisely, then it’s the closing lines of Sam Cooke that I prefer to borrow: “... What a wonderful world this will be.”
The Philippine Daily Inquirer marks its 29th anniversary today with simple rites at its offices in Makati City.