The Manila Standard, which debuted on Philippine newsstands in 1987, rolls its presses to a fourth decade on Feb. 11, 2017, its news executives, reporters, the newsroom’s unsung heroes, the administrative, advertising, circulation and printing staff ready for the new challenge. With the new roll, the newspaper is complemented by its digital service and its social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The founders of the Manila Standard, created the publication on the belief that there was room for a newspaper “that seeks to present facts…to serve as an intellectual forum for ideas, whether clasing or complimentary, to test the limits of investigative reporting.”
Its maiden editorial was precise in the newspaper’s mission: “To stand firm in the face of sly machinations of power brokers; to offer nuggets from the arts, which are necessary if we are to live as sensitive human beings; to tell the stories of the little day-to-day heroisms that, minus the benefits of publicity mills, go sadly unnoticed and unmarked.”
Manila Standard hit the discriminating consciousness of the Filipino news readers on Feb. 11, 1987, fresh on the heels of what is now described as the Mendiola massacre—a confrontation between farmers rallying for and reform and in protest against President Corazon Aquino which ended in a shooting. The violent incident killed 13 and injured 74 more.
Readers had a first glimpse of the tall-man size newspaper— loosely, if immodestly, translated as “great in vertical dimension and high in stature” —nine days after a newly ratified Constitution was promulgated.
More than defining the news it underscored the future of competition in the discerning, if tasteful, print industry.
It competed with other firmly installed publications while it wrestled for a share of the advertising pie and attention from the opinionated and well-informed public.
As the Manila Standard and other newspapers raced frenetically for honest, balanced and accurate reportage, they individually raised the challenge whether they could continue to be relevant in the years ahead.
The Manila Standard, for its part, has struggled – and has survived three backbreaking decades, despite numerous challenges, including the onslaught of technology, and some changes in ownership and names – like Manila Standard Today and The Standard.
Through the years, and thanks in large part to the people who literally manned the fort 24/7, the Manila Standard earned credit for its Xcellence, Xperience, and Xcitement — attributes that have defined and continue to define the newspaper.
As it continues to roll off the press on Feb. 11, 2017, for its initial run in the next 10 years, the Manila Standard continues to be emboldened by its commitment to provide information far and wide.
It continues to endorse the axiom that the newspaper will continue to be the “honest mirror of society.”
The Manila Standard gets its muscle from the men and women who contribute their time and best lights to give the necessary information for its readers in this era of SMS and the Internet – the editors and copy tasters, the reporters and the correspondents, the layout artists, the page designers, the proofreaders, the editorial assistants and the other staff.
As the newshounds and the staff rise to the dare of the uncharted next decade, they get reassurance from the efforts of their elders who blazed a trail in column inches for them in the newsroom in an earlier punishing clime.
With them were the circulation, the advertising and the human resources departments, the same departments that will stand alongside the news department in the years hence to help the news department pursue the newspaper’s mission “to be a vital link in the struggle for change…evolve into a truly unfettered, intelligent – and therefore responsible – press, cognizant of and vigilant against the pitfalls that litter the road toward freedom and justice.”
With its coverage of the various domestic runs and overseas, Manila Standard slowly but steadily gained credibility as a distinct gatekeeper of news and information – both in its hard and soft sections.
As the Manila Standard stands on the headland of a promising future, its news executives, the unsung heroes and other staff take great pride in looking back at some of the major events at home and abroad during the past three decades, confident they will have the same energy and commitment to gear up to similar browbeating assignments.