Ten years ago, going to one’s beat assignment every day to gather news stories and submitting them to the editors before the 8 p.m. deadline was the norm. It was the only way to get published if you worked in a newspaper.

But that was before mobile devices, Internet access and social media platforms all became available and affordable to Cebu’s journalists.

News reporting through social networking sites was unthinkable then. Facebook, a decade ago, had just been hatched and was limited only to Harvard University students. Twitter used to be associated only with birds, and Instagram was still unheard of.

Today, most, if not all, newsrooms put a premium on constant online presence, where the day’s events can be reported real-time and updated as soon as new information becomes available.

It is no longer unusual for journalists to produce content for multiple platforms, reporting them way before the regular newscast starts or before the paper is put to bed. Never before has the urgency to deliver the news been more important.

It’s this fast-changing media landscape that has made some journalists ask these questions: Will newspapers still exist? Will robots take over my job? How will news be gathered and delivered? What’s next?

Personalities from different news organizations and sectors allied with media share their thoughts on what Cebu media might look like in the next 10 years:

Msgr. Joseph Tan

Msgr. Joseph Tan
Media liaison officer, Archdiocese of Cebu

I think the state of media reporting, especially the print media, is currently at its top form… even better than some leading European newspapers. I hope that media reporting will avoid following the info-tainment (information-entertainment) that will reduce the capacity of media to be a vehicle for collective discernment of the truth and issues that matter the most.

Anne Marie Conejero
Managing director, Graphic FX Advertising & Design

Information is now readily and instantaneously available. Literally, at the click of a button, a photo is taken, a caption is made and both the photo and caption make their way immediately around social media. In a few seconds, you get likes, comments, and in an instant anybody can become a reporter if he or she happens to be at the right place at the right time.

Anne Marie Conejero

With this reality, media’s role will now be more on investigating facts and weeding out speculations, determining which stories are newsworthy from among the scores of so-called news and feature items that make their rounds across social media, and build on the existing snippets of information that are on hand to create one full, cohesive story.

The news or feature gathering will most likely be implicitly assigned to agents on the field—students on campus, doctors and nurses, barangay and purok members, government employees, call center agents, young professionals, executives etc.

Give anybody a camera phone and wifi access, and you have a reporter in the making.

Media’s role will likely shift to becoming more investigative, and more than ever, integrity and professionalism will spell the difference between good and great media practitioners.

Frank Malilong Jr.

Frank Malilong Jr.
Columnist, talk show host and lawyer

Broadcast will be just as rambunctious, if not more. The print media will see more women at the helm and because it will have more journalism and mass communications graduates in its fold, it will be more professionally run but still assertive.

Mia Embalzado-Mateo

Mia Embalzado-Mateo
Program head of communication, St. Theresa’s College

A decade from now, I expect Cebu media to be more inventive, both in their content and format, to cater to the growing needs and interests of the diverse public.

Journalists will have to upgrade their skills in information and communication technologies, which would assist them in making more well-researched news.

Media will have more responsibility and vigor in serving as watchdogs in society as they get to have more access to information, with the hope of the passage of the Freedom of Information bill into law.

Journalists must be given refresher courses or upgrading courses to advance both knowledge and skills in journalism.

I hope that through the many changes and advancements, Cebu media will continue to uphold its ethical standards.

Andrea Pateña
Reporter, TV 5

Ten years from now, I think the Cebu media will have more citizen participation due to the increasing number of portals for public interaction on issues of general interest. I imagine traditional and social media to be more integrated than it already is now, with the continuous innovation of more gadgets and online applications that connect audiences and media practitioners in an instant.

Andrea Pateña

A decade from now, people will no longer be story-listeners but story-tellers themselves, and I hope that they use that opportunity responsibly so that they can help journalists achieve a role greater than just fulfilling the need to know, which is calling to action. Public tips through their online posts, whether it is about a kind-hearted cop who changed the flat tire of a senior citizen’s car, or a politician photographed vote-buying, have been very helpful to journalists today, and I expect that to continue in the coming years.

I also hope that on or before 2024, information will not only be made readily available through the Internet, but through government offices as well. I hope the Freedom of Information bill will already be a law by then.

Lastly, I envision the Cebuano media to create stories that are more intellectually stimulating. We should not just feed the audience information, but allow them to think and analyze. Therefore, we should move on from the “masa approach,” where we use topics related to violence or sex to get more audience attention, to allowing the “masa” to actually engage in issues of more social relevance. In that way, we create not only awareness but also more empowered citizens.

Juan Mercado

Juan Mercado
Columnist and veteran journalist

In the United States, stand-alone print companies—Gannett, Tribune Company and E.W. Scrips—print is being kicked to the curb by stand-alone companies. Strong national newspapers like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are struggling to meet costs.

The journalism moment we are living in is more about running for your life than it is about optimism. Newspapers continue to generate cash and solid earnings, but those results are not enough to satisfy investors. (“Print Is Down, and Now Out” by David Carr in New York Times)

The same trend appears in Europe. In the Philippines, print still holds out as seen by Sun.Star and Inquirer. The question is for how long.

“So, what will the newsroom of the future look like?” In his book “Out of Print,” George Brook writes: “It would be hard to think of another industry going through such a sudden collapse… The economically viable always paid for the socially valuable (output). The examples of relatively new news only online sites are too few….”

Gregg S. Lloren

Gregg S. Lloren
Member, faculty for advertising, multimedia and English, University of the Philippines Cebu College

I see Cebu media as being limited by its coverage, material and audience. It’s a small island serving itself. What’s the population? In the future, we see things being dependent online. Being online is a numbers game advantage. The media, after all, depends on the number of its audience. But how can we progress when it seems that Cebu is mainly serving its own (island, people, region, district) that neither expands nor shrinks (let’s limit our imagination, and not think of a tsunami that will shrink the island and its population). So I can simply say, by this observation, that Cebu media will remain just as it is 10 years from now. Hurray if it would ever advance. I’m sure it will, but in increments.

You could say that my prediction (speculation?) of Cebu media seems dark and pessimistic. Well, Cebu media is good as it is. But it has to go out of its comfort zone if it has to gain something significant in 10 years’ time. Go out! Spread your wings and fly farther! Conquer horizons! That’s how media wins a war, right? By increasing its numbers reach.

Simeon Dumdum

Simeon Dumdum
Presiding judge, Regional Trial Court Branch 7

It is quite likely that, five years from now, the Cebu media will mostly be electronic.  Already it has gone quite a distance on that road, and, with developments in technology such as they are, will probably be a long way in that direction.  Radio will continue much as it is, and TV, too, although these two will be putting to optimum use whatever technological advances there might be.  Print, however, will still use paper, because the human act of reading will never go away, and it will be difficult to do away with the habit of reading from the printed page.

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