MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) launches on Monday a partnership with eight local newspapers across the country that readers can access through a shared digital platform using the Inquirer Plus app.
The Inquirer News Initiative (INI) offers a subscription package where Inquirer PlusPDI’s digital versioncomes with a choice of any of the following local papers: The Bohol Chronicle, The Ilocos Times, Bicol Mail, Palawan News, Panay News, Visayan Daily Star, Mindanao Gold Star Daily and Edge Davao.
PDI president and chief executive officer, Atty. Rudyard S. Arbolado, said that through the INI, the digital versions of these local publications formed part of a subscription bundle that readers can select via the e-commerce store Inquirer Shop.
A bundle entitles the subscriber to Inquirer Plus and one local paper of their choice.
“The local newspapers we selected have been with their communities for a very long time. The Bohol Chronicle is 67 years old. The Ilocos Times is more than 63 years old,” Arbolado said. “There are local papers now being handled by second or even third-generation owners. So we have trust factor among readers as an advantage. Inquirer editors were also consulted in the selection of the local papers that we have forged alliances with.”
Brick and mortar
Roy Raul Mendiola, Inquirer national sales manager, noted that print readers in the provinces usually purchase a newspaper of national circulation along with their local newspaper. This has been the case especially before the pandemic.
INI hopes to replicate this “brick-and-mortar behavior,” but through a digital platform, Arbolado said. “Take me, for example. I am an Ilonggo but right now I do not have access to Visayan Daily Star. It would be an advantage if I can get digital access to it along with the Inquirer.”
Arbolado said the subscription bundle was not only for readers with limited access to hard copies of their local papers but also for Filipinos abroad longing for hometown news.
“People now are looking for connections and this is one way to reach your hometown and those you love. And sometimes, a reader would miss reading in the local language. Panay News, for example, has a columnist who writes in Hiligaynon. People can expect a very distinct local flavor with each publication,” he added.
“Local papers provide unique networks; they are the ones with eyes and ears on the ground,” Mendiola said.
Arbolado said digital photo essays were another offering that homesick readers can enjoy via INI. “Edge Davao and Palawan News, for example, always have beautiful photos,” he noted.
Supporting local journalism
But more than the local flavor, Arbolado said the partnership would ultimately serve as Inquirer’s way of “helping journalism, especially local journalism, flourish in the multimedia age.”
“This is our way to help local journalism remain sustainable. There’s a global phenomenon where most media companies are going to subscriptions. Even Yahoo! News just announced they will have a paywall. If we want good journalism, you have to pay for it, you have to support it,” he explained.
“By ensuring that local journalism thrives, we help safeguard the continued empowerment of an informed citizenry. The Inquirer News Initiative is also an acknowledgment that this [is] best achieved with PDI and the local newspapers working hand in hand. As one lifts itself, it lifts others, too. Our futures are intertwined and together we are stronger,” he added.“At the moment, what we have (as a subscription bundle) is ‘PDI plus Bicol Mail’ or ‘PDI plus Mindanao Gold Star Daily,’ etc.one specific local paper,” Arbolado explained.
One’s location is not a factor. “If you are in Iloilo but you want the Bicolano local news, you can subscribe to that; no problem.”
Leading to today’s launch were a series of meetings held and agreements signed with top executives of the partner newspapers, namely Ed Yu (editor in chief, Bicol Mail), Redempto Anda (editor in chief, Palawan News), Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo (president and chair, Panay News), Efren Ramos Jr. (editor in chief, The Ilocos Times), Antonio Ajero (editor in chief, Edge Davao), Peter Dejaresco (chair, Bohol Chronicle), Ernesto Chu (president emeritus and founder, Mindanao Gold Star Daily) and Ninfa Leonardia (editor in chief and president, The Visayan Daily Star).
* * *
To access Inquirer Plus through the Inquirer Shop, scan the code from the virtual store or type inq.news/INI. Fill in the information required (name, email address, mobile number). Once the account is activated (expected within 24 hours), a notification that includes the login credentials will be sent to the subscriber through email. Upgrades and changes of passwords can only be done via the web/desktop.
A new subscriber may enjoy a 30-day free trial.
For more information, check shop.inquirer.com.ph. Email us at email@example.com or call 09190838000, for questions.