The Philippine Press Institute (PPI) introduced the PPI News Commons (ppinewscommons.net) in December 2019 as an online aggregator of local news from its members. With the growing number of members contributing news articles to the site, PPI seeks to address its sustainability aspect, intending to capitalise on its potential to generate income for members. In this launch, PPI recounted the beginnings of PPI News Commons, introduced its advertising features and shared its long-term vision for the news Website and its contributing members.
The Hanns Seidel Foundation began supporting this initiative in May 2020, along with the Covid-19 Chronicles, a parallel project for community journalists. At that time, the Philippines, as were countries around the world, was working hard to address the global health situation wrought by the pandemic. By the very nature of their work, media persons were amongst the frontliners. Journalists braved health and safety risks to gather news and information in order to keep the public informed.
True to its tagline, “Sharing Network; Connecting Communities,” the PPI News Commons has managed to gather news “from dailies and weeklies in the northernmost part of Luzon to the southernmost part of Mindanao.” In bringing community news outfits together, the PPI News Commons serves as a news-sharing platform through which the news outfits can publish stories from the ground and have the potential of reaching the public across the country and even across the globe. To date, the pioneering news platform holds more than fourteen thousand news stories from fifty-three contributing members. It is said to have garnered a total annual collective reach of 45 million in terms of Website visits and 24 million in terms of social media (specifically, Facebook) followers.
It is at this juncture that PPI has begun building on the platform’s growing number of contributing members. At the PPI News Commons launch, PPI focused on the news platform’s commercial viability. Aside from enjoining its member newspapers, particularly community news outfits, to become contributing news articles, PPI introduced the site’s advertising features, touting the advantages for advertisers who would be able to reach specific island groups and be more targeted in marketing to potential customers about products and services.
As local news outfits and community journalists continue to strive to publish news with factual information in a balanced manner, engage the public in hard conversations that need to be had and asking questions that compel objective analyses of situations, through this dynamic platform, they are more connected while the public is better informed and more empowered to take action. It helps PPI’s members to fulfill their public service mission of creating opportunities for civic and social connections and engagement… civic journalism in action.
Attended by some fifty publishers and journalists, along with special guests, representatives from the government, the academe as well as the PPI’s media partners and representatives from development project organisations, the activity was organised the PPI with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation.