Tonight, the BizNewsAsia weekly business and news magazine marks a publishing milestone. It turns 21. Some 300 guests will be at the gala event at the Grand Ballroom of New World Hotel, Makati.
The year 2022 has been the best for BizNewsAsia, in revenues, market reach, influence.
BizNewsAsia survived the worst pandemic in a century, and the worst economic slump in 100 years. And the worst times for newspapers and magazines throughout the world.
About a quarter of America’s 10,000 newspapers and magazines have died.
Of the remaining, an additional one-third will cease operations by 2025. The pandemic eviscerated millions of newspaper readers. High costs have depleted the ranks of media outlets which survived the pandemic.
I don’t know if it is the quality of the newspaper, the loyalty of our readers, or because of plain luck, BizNewsAsia has not only survived the greatest challenges to newspapering.
It has thrived. And it will do so in the next 21 years of the 21st century.
This is happening in a region where literacy is declining precipitously, and the Philippines is often considered the second to fifth most dangerous country in the world — for journalists.
Since 1986, 197 Filipino journalists have been murdered. In 80 percent of the cases, no one was held accountable.
In the latest murder of a journalist, the suspected culprit could go scot-free. Why? Because he has a perfect alibi.
At the time of the murder, he could claim he was working, looking for the treasure of Yamashita. He could also claim that he was about to find the fabled fortune, when he was summoned by the justice secretary.
So now, it is a double loss. The journalism profession lost one of its most vociferous practitioners. And the National Treasury, which owes P13 trillion, and counting, is poorer for having missed the Yamashita hoard.
At the time of the diggings at the National Penitentiary, Congress had not yet approved the administration’s vast intelligence fund.
As you know, even our Secretary of Education has an intelligence fund, an awesome P650 million. She needs the money like a hole in the head.
Our 10-year-olds, per global tests, rank last, or second to the last in reading, math and science.
Our young cannot read nor write; even if they can read, they cannot understand what they read. They cannot count beyond 100. They don’t know much of science except perhaps, AVATAR and tug-of-war.
Kidding aside, BizNewsAsia has no rival in the market. That makes it a monopoly.
Despite being monopoly, the cover price has remained reasonable. At P250 per copy. P300 starting tonight. 300 is still 30 to 50 percent cheaper than competing foreign weekly magazines.
A veritable Who Is Who of government, business and diplomacy will attend the BizNewsAsia anniversary tonight.
They include Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, the President Marcos’s formidable economic team led by newly minted Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Trade and Industry Secretary Fred Pascual, DICT Secretary Ivan Uy, and Labor Secretary Benny Laguesma, BSP Governor Felipe Medalla, as well as Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla and OIC Press Secretary Cheloy Garafil, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, and Senators Grace Poe and Mark Villar.
The diplomatic corps will have a strong presence: Philippine Ambassador to the US Babes Romualdez, US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson and her husband, US Embassy Economic Affairs Attache Lorenzo New, US Embassy Press Attache Kanishka Gangopadhyay; French Ambassador Michele Boccoz (this year is the 75th year of Philippine-France relations), Finland Ambassador Juha Pyykko and his wife, Singapore Ambassador Gerard Ho, Ms. Estel Estropia of UK Embassy’s Public Diplomacy; and the Korean envoy, Kim Inchul.
Of course, the Who is Who of business, industry and finance will be there in full force, along with my senior colleagues and columnists in the profession.
Asia’s oldest press club, the Manila Overseas Press Club, which I chair, will induct a record number of new members – 20.
Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo cannot attend because he is the guest of honor and speaker at the Ateneo Law homecoming the same day.
But he sent wishes to me and “the people behind BizNewsAsia a successful anniversary celebration.
He said “It is not an exaggeration to say that media institutions with longevity come few and far between. That BizNewsAsia has withstood more than two decades of chronicling personalities and pivotal moments in the business community is indeed a testament to its formidability.”
For her part, the First Lady, Mrs. Louise Araneta-Marcos, sent a surprise video greeting and enthused:
“Hi, I would like to congratulate BizNewsAsia Philippines for its remarkable contribution in providing useful and relevant features on various issues affecting our society today.
“From economics to politics, to business and worldwide affairs, I really love reading your articles.
“So congratulations to you and to my friend Tony Lopez on this significant occasion wherein you are celebrating 21 years of your service to Filipino society.
“It’s my hope that you will continue empowering your readers that will help influence positive change in our country today.
“Again, congratulations to all of you. We’re really proud of what you’ve done at tuloy-tuloy ang pagbabangon.”