The heart of community journalism

By Delta Dyrecka Letigio |December 17,2018 - 10:34 PM

Loyal subscribers and readers are the lifeblood of community papers like Cebu Daily News.

I have been used to waking up in the morning reading Cebu Daily News. It has become part of my life.”

These were the words of Gomer Jimenez, an 83-year-old former Cebu Provincial Capitol employee and one of Cebu Daily News’ (CDN) most loyal subscribers.

Jimenez, who has been reading CDN in the last 20 years, is among the first subscribers of the newspaper since its first publication on February 8, 1998.

“Bag-o pa lang to ang Cebu Daily (News) nya nisubscribe na dayon ko kay para nako ang ubang papers man gud kay commercialized kaayo. Gahinam-hinam ko’g dyaryo nga lahi na pud (When CDN started, I immediately subscribed because I found the other papers very commercialized. I was excited to see another kind of paper.),” said Jimenez.

Since then, CDN became part of his morning routine before eating breakfast. Without the paper, Jimenez’ wife, Estrella, and his daughter, Grace, always knew that it was going to be a grumpy day for the government retiree.

Jimenez is what CDN’s Circulation Supervisor, Garry Gesalan, would call as a ‘residential subscriber’ or households that pay for the newspaper to be delivered right at their homes daily.

Residential subscribers comprise 50 percent of the newspaper’s total subscribers; while the other half comprise mostly of hotels, government offices, and business establishments.

CDN currently has over 1,000 subscribers, mostly from class A and B readers, composed of businessmen and professionals.

In over 20 years of service, Cebu’s only independent newspaper, CDN, has captured the trust and confidence of many readers in the Visayas.

The paper prints over 40,000 copies per day for distribution in Metro Cebu, the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Leyte, Samar, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental, and some parts of Mindanao.

“All of these subscribers are very dear to our hearts. Some of them, especially residential subscribers have been with us since the beginning of CDN. We are grateful for them,” said Gesalan.

Gesalan said the relationship between CDN and its subscribers is similar to that of a family. He said that residential subscribers are so loyal that they would immediately complain if something was wrong with the delivery.

“We have a loyal subscriber, Mr. Jimenez, who would immediately complain if the paper he received was delivered late. He said his days would never be complete without reading Cebu Daily News,” said Gesalan.

Loyal subscriber

On the 20th anniversary of CDN, Jimenez was awarded as one of the most loyal subscribers of the paper.

Jimenez was already retired when the paper printed its first copy, and his morning routine rarely changed since then, he said while affirming that his day would not be complete without reading the day’s issue of CDN.

A wet, torn, or damaged paper would surely earn CDN’s Circulation Department an early morning angry phone call from Jimenez, something that endears him to Gesalan.

Jimenez said that he liked to read the sports pages and the opinion pages first because these were the sections that provided both information and entertainment.

“Akong paborito nga kolumnista kay si Lloyd Suarez. Ganahan kaayo ko sa iyang mga ipangsuwat–direct to the point. (My favorite columnist is Lloyd Suarez. I really like how he writes–direct to the point),” said Jimenez.

Jimenez said that among the CDN’s stories, he could never forget the newspaper’s coverage on the death of Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal in October 2017.

“That was an emotional time. Vidal was a beloved religious leader,” he said.

Consequently, the coverage on Vidal’s death won for the daily the Best News Coverage Award during the 2018 Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) last November.

The coverage was led by Writing Editor, Ador Vincent Mayol, along with reporters, Jose Santino Bunachita, Rosalie Abatayo, Nestle Semilla, and Fe Marie Dumaboc.

A partner in teaching

For college instructor, Clyde Flores, CDN has been a partner in educating his students about current events in the local and national arena.

FLORES

“CDN helped me formulate opinions or commentaries that are objective-based and factual-based. It also helped me discuss some of my topics since I am a professional teacher,” said Flores.

Flores has been reading CDN for at least 10 years, beginning when he was a teenager, until his professional days.

“CDN is famous in giving information to Cebuanos. It also helped me hone my communication skills in English,” he said.

Accustomed to the direct, well-explained, and relevant news that CDN provides, Flores said that when the paper began to adapt to technological advancements, he appreciated how accessible CDN has become.

“They deliver relevant information on print and online that’s very useful for me as a professional,” he said.

Batuto

The news source of millennials

Therese Batuto, a 20-year-old Dentistry student, considers CDN’s social media accounts and news website as her main source of news.

“I like to read CDN because it’s what I have been reading ever since. Its focal points and common topics of interests have grown in on me,” said Batuto.

Batuto’s grandmother is in fact, another loyal subscriber of CDN.

The practice of reading CDN was passed on to her but in a different format–the digital form.

“I follow CDN on Facebook. Actually if I can’t catch up on the paper, I go online. It’s very convenient and it’s just like the actual CDN paper. It’s accessible and fastidious,” she said.

For Batuto, CDN provides the content and information needed to become a proactive citizen of the country.

CDN has been her source of news from the outside world especially since she spends most of her time cooped up in her dormitory or studying in the university.

“It feeds my hunger for the society’s state. It keeps me informed since as citizens of this country, we are to know the comings and goings of our own lands,” she said.

Heart of journalism

After several years of communicating with and taking care of the paper’s subscribers, Gesalan said that the readers have truly become the heart of CDN’s service-oriented journalism.

How CDN affects the lives of its many readers is reflected in the support and loyalty of its subscribers.

From 40,000 copies of newspapers printed daily to its current more than 600,000 followers on social media, CDN has built an informed community that transcends generations.

(To be continued)

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