This article is available in Spanish.
Hello, readers! I hope you’re safe and well, wherever you are. September is here — and it brings with it lots of celebrations in the Spanish-speaking world.
This is my very first note as La Jornada Filipina is turning one on Sept. 15, just in time for the beginning of the National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. Time flies so fast, and I thank you all for sticking with us throughout our first year. It has been a very tumultuous one for the magazine, with lots of challenges and triumphs along the way. Anyway, I have good news and bad news. But first, a reintroduction.
Upon its launch, we’re surprised that some people mistook La Jornada Filipina for a literary magazine, when from the design down to the writing style, it screams commercial. This publication has always been a commercial publisher, a news magazine that caters to a mainstream audience. Think of it as your good old, regular mag — TIME, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Esquire, etc. — but instead of being a general-interest outlet, it focuses on stories that are of interest to the Fil-Hispanic community. It’s a special-interest, online-only magazine; it doesn’t publish short stories, poems and other fictional works.
Many have also questioned the need for such a publication. Well, I would say that the issues in the local Hispanic community are usually unreported. If there are media outlets that serve Japanese, Chinese or Korean communities in the Philippines, why isn’t there one for this specific community? The lack of diversity and inclusion in local news coverage is staggering. Thus, La Jornada Filipina was born out of the need to “give voice to the voiceless.”
Some, however, did not see it that way. From the outset, many have accused the publication of pandering to one of the Philippines’ former colonial masters. Maybe they have a bad opinion of Filipino Hispanistas in general, which I do understand. Anyway, I’ll say this once and once only: Though we advocate the use of Spanish, we maintain ethical standards in journalism. Most importantly, we avoid entering any kind of echo chamber.
I’ll say this once and once only: Though we advocate the use of Spanish, we maintain ethical standards in journalism.
Since it went live on Sept. 15 last year, La Jornada Filipina used Spanish as its main language and English as a complementary language. Realizing that many Spanish-language publications in the Philippines tried and failed in the past, it’s a pressure to keep La Jornada Filipina alive. At month four, I made the difficult decision of using English on the home page and Spanish in a subfolder. Using Spanish as the main language is the goal, but producing credible news and features is expensive, and the publication is at the mercy of the capital. We’ve got to do what we can to keep the lights on.
Speaking of expensive, we recognize the gaps in La Jornada Filipina’s coverage. We’re a small team after all, and we’re not funded by any institution. But since our readership continues to grow, it’s time to scale up. At month eight, we put a callout for pitches from journalists and writers so that we can uncover more stories.
Despite our meager resources, several Filipino publications started noticing La Jornada Filipina’s presence. At month six, one of our articles was picked up by Philstar L!fe. And recently, magazines such as Lifestyle Asia and Positively Filipino gave us those sweet backlinks!
Approaching year one, La Jornada Filipina has built a unique community. Using sophisticated tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console, we’re able to identify our readership’s interests. In fact, the most-viewed articles in La Jornada Filipina in English, as of the writing, are very surprising: Filipinos want to know where to study Spanish in the Philippines and how they can obtain a citizenship in Spain. As for La Jornada Filipina en español, much of our readers come from the Spanish-speaking world, which is slightly disappointing to find out. We were expecting more readers from the Philippines, and that’s something we need to address.
Despite of all the challenges, I’m proud of my reporting with La Jornada Filipina. Running it for the past year has been a humbling experience. The duties of an editor such as selecting what stories to appear on the website, filling the editorial calendar, writing my own pieces and editing other contributors’ work have strengthened my editorial skills. In the past year, I think I’ve stretched myself personally and professionally. I wrote stories about how Spanish-speaking professionals are thriving in the BPO industry, how Filipino teleseryes are making it big in Latin America and how Hispanic restaurants in the Philippines are surviving the COVID-19 pandemic. I’d love to do more stories like these — things that don’t get usually reported in bigger outlets and issues that the local Hispanic community might care about. And to ensure that I do that correctly, I signed up for numerous courses at the Poynter Institute.
On that note, I’m happy to announce that La Jornada Filipina can now sustain itself. It won’t just disappear one day, unless, of course, you stop reading it! Still, I hope to expand its reach and improve its coverage.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for staying since day one. Thank you for commenting and interacting with our articles on social media. Thank you for challenging our point of views. And even though we sometimes disagree with one another, we are still unified in our commitment to keep Spanish alive.
La Jornada Filipina is here to stay, and so is Spanish in the Philippines.
Editor-in-Chief, La Jornada Filipina
P.S. Since it’s our birthday month, can we ask you a favor? Please donate from as little as $1 to help us continue our work. Thank you!
Comments are welcome at [email protected].
Can we ask you a favor?
In general, about 80% of our revenue comes from advertising and about 20% from donations. Our business model — and our journalism — depends more on your financial support than other news businesses do. If your budget allows for it, please make a contribution. We do charge advertisers for the ability to reach and engage with our audiences. That revenue stream depends less on the size of our audience than it does on the local economy, which drives advertising dollars. As always, with questions or comments, please contact us here.
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