See the same story on INQUIRER.net.
Let me give you the bad news and good news in one blow. This is our second-to-the-last hard copy edition. Yes, what you’re holding in your hands, our 179th issue, will soon be part of history. But we will continue our work online, the platform that is transforming journalism by opening the doors of our profession to citizens all over the world and, at the same time, forming tightly knit communities and audiences in cyberspace.
Starting February 2007, our Web site, www.newsbreak.com.ph, will have a new look and format—one much easier to navigate, richer in content, and with a lively interactive section. Subscribers will be given access to our premium sites such as our archives, special reports, databases, and occasional researches.
What you’ll miss is the paper edition of NEWSBREAK, but you’ll find most of the print content online. We will continue with our investigative reports, in-depth stories, and analyses, plus we will be uploading select breaking stories and tell you what these mean for all of us, our government, politics, and the economy. That will differentiate us from other online news sites since we will go a step farther than merely reporting the news. We will interpret these through the lens of journalists whose loyalty is to truth and public interest.
Sad as this news may sound, it is still an interesting development to follow. Some plans and directions were revealed in Vitug’s editorial.
We will be putting the results of our researches online and in hard copy. What’s more, we will be organizing forums where we will discuss our findings with interested parties who wish to take the issue further—to the halls of Congress, Malacañang, various government agencies, and even to the streets.
Organization-wise, NEWSBREAK has been owned and run by a foundation. Our revenues have come from advertising and grants from various local and foreign foundations. We will continue with this structure. It’s a way of maintaining our independence.
It is really hard to say what led to Newsbreak’s decision, but one could surmise that various factors have caused it. Financial troubles due to lower advertising revenues and dwindling circulation have forced US newspapers to make drastic cuts in headcount.
As Vergel Santos, chairman of Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, said in an INQUIRER.net article, the problem is the “cost of publishing. It is moving toward the ‘uneconomical’ or ‘unaffordable'” for newspapers and other print-based publications. Actually, in the same article, journalism professor Rachel Khan of the University of the Philippines disclosed Newsbreak’s decision to go online.
Towards the end of Vitug’s editorial she takes this quote from The Economist to make a point:
“Happiness and economics,” that in some professions, good work is rewarded with professional success. But there are professions in which it is difficult to square the “competing demands of excellence, ethics, and earnings,” and journalism is one of them.
“Professional pride and corporate profit seemed to tug in opposite directions,” The Economist said. “Journalism, apparently, is a misaligned profession, staffed by reporters who want to investigate great affairs of state but read by a public more interested in stories that are scandalous, sensational, and superficial.”
We’re not giving up on the market, though. While we’re working full blast online and doing our researches, we’ll plan on coming back with a print edition of NEWSBREAK.