by Alixander Haban Escote
After the 1986 EDSA Revolution, the press, which plays a potent role in the promotion of truth, justice, and democracy, and of peace, progress, and prosperity, was liberated from dictatorship. During this period, crony newspapers were closed and the National Press Club and the Philippine Press Institute were revived to professionalize mass media in the country.
During this period, significant changes, advances, and developments have taken place in Philippine journalism. Newspapers and periodicals have expanded in pages, sections, coverages, and circulations. They have become venues of sensitive issues like death penalty, charter change, juetengate scandal, and visiting forces agreement, and of diverse issues about the civil society, land reform, human rights, genders issues, and other areas that before the 1986 EDSA Revolution were previously ignored or minimally covered. Some investigative reports have led to further investigations, have enhanced transparency, and have reduced corruption in the judiciary, executive, and legislative branches of the government.
These developments are attributed to the continuing efforts of the newspaper and the periodical industry and their research and academic organizations: the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, which conducts rigorous research in the affairs of the state; the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, which upgrades professionalism and responsibility of media practitioners through seminars, workshops, and publications; the Philippine Press Institute, which conducts trainings and sponsors the Annual Community Press Awards that recognizes excellence among provincial newspapers and periodicals; and the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication, which offers graduate studies in journalism and in communication management and conducts media research, interim training, and policy advocacy.
In 1998, there are 14 daily broadsheets and 19 tabloids published in Metro Manila. Among the broadsheets with the biggest circulations include the Manila Bulletin with a claimed circulation of 280 000 on weekdays and 300 000 on weekends and the Philippine Daily Inquirer with a claimed circulation of 260 000 on weekdays and 280 000 on weekends. Among the tabloids with the biggest circulations include the Abante with a claimed circulation of 417 600 and the People’s Journal with a claimed circulation of 382 000. Out of the 408 provincial newspapers and periodicals, 30 are printed daily, 292 are published weekly, and the rest are circulated either monthly or quarterly.
Today, based from the 2000 Philippine Media Fact Book, there are 559 print publications, 475 broadsheets, 45 magazines, and 39 tabloids and comics; 22 percent are published in the National Capital Region, 12 broadsheets, 17 tabloids, 32 magazines, 39 comics, and 5 Chinese newspapers. Among the broadsheets with the biggest circulations include the Philippine Daily Inquirer with a daily circulation of 257 416, followed by the Philippine Star, 251 000, and the Manila Bulletin, 240 000. Other broadsheets with their daily circulation are as follows: Today, 152 268; Kabayan, 150 000; Malaya, 135 193; Manila Standard, 96 310; Sun Star Manila, 87 000; Philippine Post, 78 218; The Manila Times, 75 000; Business World, 61 283; and The Daily Tribune, 50 000.
Among the tabloids with the biggest circulations include Bulgar with a daily circulation of 448 450, followed by the People’s Journal, 382 200, and the People’s Tonight, 365 811. Other tabloids with their daily circulation are as follows: Remate, 310 000; Abante, 260 000; Bandera, 253 523; Pilipino Star Ngayon, 250 200, People’s Bagong Taliba, 210 000; Balita, 175 725; Tempo, 160 000; Abante Tonight, 150 000; Isyu, 126 835; Saksi Ngayon, 100 000; Remate Tonight, 90 000; Balita sa Hapon, 35 000; and Sun Star Bulilit, 30 000.
Among the Sunday supplements of daily newspapers, Panorama of the Manila Bulletin has the highest number of circulation, 300 000, followed by the Sunday Inquirer Magazine of the Philippine daily Inquirer, 268 575, and the Starweek Magazine of the Philippine Star, 268 000. Among the entertainment magazines, Glitter has the highest number of circulation with 300 000, followed by the Pilipino Reporter News Magazine, 188 192, and the Woman Today, 184 900.
Other magazines with their weekly circulation are as follows: Kislap Magazine, 182 158; Sports Life Magazine, 179 997; Movie Flash Magazine, 177 850; MOD, 176 820; Star Talk Magazine, 163, 565; Moviestar, 153 829; Women’s Journal, 152-825; Woman’s Home Companion, 146 969; Mr and Ms Magazine, 140 665; Philippine Free Press, 138 759; Super Horoscope, 135 933; Chic Magazine, 135 933; Teen Movie Magazine, 133 779; Miscellaneous, 133 000; Mega Star, 130 942; Liwayway, 128 680; Sports Weekly, 126 286; Scoreboard, 102 000; Sports Flash Magazine, 101 164; Hot Copy Magazine, 97 246; Woman, 50 000; Chica-Chica Magazine, 20 000; Super Teen Movie Magazine, 17 000; and Intrigue, 12 000. China Times Magazine, which comes out monthly, has a circulation of 10 000.
Among the provincial press, there are 43 dailies; 3 in Luzon, 19 in the Visayas, and 21 in Mindanao. There are also 315 weeklies, 209 in Luzon, 30 in the Visayas, and 76 in Mindanao.