As the fourth estate, the press plays an integral role in the stability of a democratic order. The media, in all its forms, keeps a society in check, watching over the general public, and keeping those elected into power accountable.
As one of the most widely circulated newspapers in the Philippines, The Philippine Star has stood by its role from the very beginning, when it was first published seven months after the 1986 People Power Revolution that toppled strongman Ferdinand Marcos and propelled Corazon Aquino to the Philippine presidency. Its founders Betty Go-Belmonte, Max Soliven and Art Borjal were integral in such a historic moment. They were veteran journalists involved in the “Mosquito Press,” the collective name for the different newspapers criticizing the Marcos administration.
The Philippine Star has grown and built around it a network of other publications covering a variety of topics. The newspaper is owned and published by Philstar Daily Inc., which also publishes the monthly magazine People Asia and the Sunday magazines Starweek, Gist and Let’s Eat. The PhilStar Media Group, its sister publications include the business newspaper BusinessWorld; Cebu-based, English-language broadsheet The Freeman; Filipino-language tabloids Pilipino Star Ngayon and Pang-Masa; Cebuano-language tabloid Banat; and online news portal InterAksyon.
In March 2014, the newspaper was acquired by MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., a media conglomerate owned and controlled by PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, after the company purchased a majority stake in Philstar Daily, Inc. This acquisition also brought it into close contact with another Pangilinan-owned media network with a rich history, TV5.
Going back to the 1960s, TV5 has been serving the public with its own brand of journalism even before the Marcos era until it was forcibly shut down in 1972. The network made an amazing comeback, however, after the People Power Revolution, growing to a point where it was dubbed the “fastest growing network” in the 1990s.
The link between Philstar Daily, Inc. and the 5 Network under MediaQuest Holdings has allowed new, innovative forms of journalism to come into existence. As online platforms like Facebook and Twitter have come to dominate everybody’s lives, there also came with them a wave of false and malicious information. With the staggering amount of freely accessible information on the Internet, it is very easy to become lost and misinformed about the state of the world.
Now more than ever, there is a need for a credible source of news and information in the Philippines. The press must remain vigilant in this time of confusion and misinformation, and an eminent news source or authority can help inform Filipinos of the issues of vital importance to the nation and give meaningful insights into and analyses of what these issues mean for them.
MediaQuest Holdings, on the back of the authority and vast amount of experience of its media networks, launched One News, a flagship news station on Cignal TV. Aiming to combine the training and expertise of some of the biggest and most trusted media organizations in the Philippines, namely The Philippine Star, BusinessWorld, TV5, and Bloomberg TV Philippines, One News is an ambitious and concentrated effort to reinvent the way Filipinos consume and discuss news and current events.
“One News is a news channel that draws its strength, its news authoritativeness from strong news institutions in the Philippines,” Ray C. Espinosa, president of MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., said.
“Gathering the content from them, curating and moderating it, we should be able to achieve a viewer base that understands that news is about trust and the organizations behind this news channel are eminently trustworthy news institutions in their respective rights.”
By marrying the strengths and capabilities of established names in print and of respected broadcast news institutions, One News aims to transform the media landscape, offering a powerhouse bench of anchors and program hosts seasoned in the fields of broadcast journalism, business, sports, information technology, and entertainment.
“The idea is that the content will come from all the four different strategic partners so that we’re able to present different points of views,” Jane Jimenez-Basas, president and chief executive officer of Cignal TV, Inc., said.
“At the end of the day, as in any news media outfit, the objective is to be able to inform the public and to be able to educate them, hoping that as individuals, we’ll be able to make better decisions for ourselves and for the community that we are all a part of.”
Ms. Jimenez-Basas noted that One News marks the first time in media history that established news organizations are involved in a cooperative endeavor to deliver news on a national scale. “It’s unique in that sense because it plays on the strengths of each of the brands and each of the organizations, putting everything into one voice that is delivered to the public,” she said.
Mr. Espinosa added that One News has chosen hosts and anchors with the credibility in dissecting critical issues, the integrity to talk about them in a fair and balanced way, and the expertise in analyzing them from different points of view.
“I think it’s very important when you become an issues-oriented news channel that the hosts and the anchors have the gravitas to discuss those issues,” Mr. Espinosa said. “We’re not talking about superficial discussions. We want discussions to be deep, for them to ask searching questions, not just superficial ones, so that we can better expose the subject matter in its fullest as part of discovering and searching for the truth. That’s how we want to distinguish ourselves.”
He continued: “That’s what we want to be known for: credibility, trust. Essentially, we want to become a news authority, especially in this age when there’s so much talk about fake news all over the place. We need to reassure the public that there are still organizations like us that invest in this type of institutions.”