From its humble beginnings as a simple weekly supplement in in 2009, Cagayan de Oro’s leading daily newspaper has stepped up into the global stage with the launch of its multi-level digital platform on March 11 at the Ayala Centrio Mall Activity Center.
“Dako ang atong pasalamat nga daghan sa mga invited guests and participants mitambong sa atong grand launch kay kini bag-ong mga brands na usab nga atong i-offer sa publiko. Karon dili na kita printed newspaper lamang kon dili aduna na kita teleradyo ug digital newspaper. Ug daghan kitag mga bag-ong segments sa teleradyo alang sa paghatag news, public affairs, education ug entertainment sa atong mga regular followers and avid listeners sa teleradyo and avid readers sa atong newspapers,” said MDNN Founder and CEO Dante M. Sudaria.
Starting with BusinessWeek Mindanao, the region’s first weekly business newspaper in 2009, the group launched its daily newspaper barely two years later with the Mindanao Daily News, followed by the Metro Cagayan de Oro Times barely a year later, the first and still only Lifestyle weekly in the region.
At the instance of VP-Digital Mike Baños, all three newspapers later launched their own stand-alone websites in tandem with their respective social media fan pages to maximize their reach.
Then in 2018, Sudaria conceptualized and launched MDN Teleradyo as a streaming service on social media serving up a varied mix of news, public affairs, entertainment, and sports. MDN Teleradyo eventually merged with its print newspapers, news websites, and social media pages as the Mindanao Daily News Network (MDNN) Digital.
Notables present during the March 11 launch included Councilors Girlie Balaba, Edna Dahino, Suzette Magtajas Daba and Dr Malou Seriña Gaane; Dr. Janry Colonia of DepEd Region 10, Cagayan de Oro Press Club President Manny Jaudian, among others.
Sudaria acknowledged the support of their over 200,000 followers in social media, government agencies and advertisers, who were instrumental in helping the group survive the ravages of the pandemic which all but shut down almost all of the region’s newspapers.
“Ang uban newspaper nagsirado ug wala na gyud makabalik. Pero kita, consistent nga mipadayon sa atong tahas,” he stressed.
Guest of Honor and Cagayan de Oro City Councilor Girlie Balaba challenged the people to be more responsible in interacting in social media, and fact-check social media posts before sharing them to the general public.
“We all want a more progressive and more developed society. But let us not forget in this digital era, we have equal responsibility to give the truth to the public,” said Balaba, a former news anchor of ABS-CBN.
For his part, Oro Press Club President Manuel Jaudian said that with the advent of the internet, everyone can now connect with everyone on a global scale, leading to the rise of various internet sub-cultures revolving not merely with one’s friends and acquaintances, but even with unknown associates from distant locations with shared advocacies and beliefs.
However, Jaudian also noted the widespread misinformation brought about by the emergence of social media, fake news and the irresponsible sharing of unverified facts online.
“Digital platforms have made communication, socialization, sharing and interacting easier for people with an internet connection, yet the responsibility to share the truth to the general public remains paramount particularly this time of pandemic,” Jaudian noted.
“We cannot only be the consumers of information, but also become instant information producers, Jaudian said. “Sharing news, thoughts and opinions to a global audience through the internet is no longer something only for the rich and the powerful.”
“In the era of blogs, social media and instant communication, disseminating information is never-ending, and anyone with an internet connection can now have their beliefs and opinions posted on Facebook and Twitter unedited,” he added.
Despite the rise of digital media, Jaudian said the old mainstream media remain relevant as key editing gatekeepers to maintain the veracity and authenticity of information. Published information is parsed by editors and producers to ensure it is true, timely and accurate.
Jaudian noted how the absence of media gatekeepers has allowed social media influencers to become not just information consumers, but also information producers thanks to apps like Twitter which spreads news faster than ever.
Thus, the new media can be produced and disseminated by anyone with an internet connection, without necessarily following journalism ethics and editing protocols. That is the downside of the new media, and why digital news platforms like the MDNN with its mix of traditional mainstream and new media are most welcome as gatekeepers of the truth.