community media

demonstrates how media which is created for and by the community serve as an effective venue to express community issues and concerns, promote participation, and encourage cultural diversity.

Print Media


Ang Katarungan—Cagayan de Oro City”s first news weekly

Ang Katarungan (The Reason) is the first newspaper to be established in Cagayan de Oro City. It was printed in letterpress and was handset.

Established on July 1, 1903, Ang Katarungan was founded by the Neri brothers—the late former Misamis Or. Rep. Ramon B. Neri and former Misamis Or. Gov. Vicente Neri San Jose.

Ang Katarungan initially was published in Cebuano, the local dialect and was a 4-page tabloid printed by an old-type Minerva printing press and was handset. Its first issue came out with 300 copies, a rather big circulation during the days of the early American period.

In 1926, Ang Katarungan changed its format. It became a bilingual—English-Cebuano news magazine in 16 pages.

Except for the interruption from two fires in 1937 and 1940 and World War II, the paper came out regularly up to the present making its claim as the oldest existing newspaper in this city valid.

The two fires in 1937 and 1940 destroyed the paper’s office and printing facilities. However, these setbacks did not dampen the publishers of the paper. Through the help of their friends and loyal subscribers it managed to put up its printing facilities again and resumed publication.

But when World War II erupted, the Japanese closed down the publication in 1942. When Liberation came in 1945, bombs destroyed the printing facilities of Ang Katarungan and again it had to literally begin from nothing.

On July 17,1948 with Vicente Neri as its publisher-editor Ang Katarungan resumed publication. The issue featured stories on the eruption of Mt. Hibok Hibok volcano in the island province of Camiguin, which was still then a part of Misamis Oriental.

It also carried advertisements of commercial establishments and subdivision lots for sale of the Nazareth subdivision (the city’s first subdivision, now one of the city’s barangays).

The newspaper later went back to being a tabloid when Augusto Neri, son of Vicente Neri, one of the founders of the newspaper assumed as publisher-editor in the 60’s.Augusto F. Neri or AFN as he was known also served as an elected ember of the Cagayan de Oro City Council.

The paper, now renamed as Ang Bag-ong Katarungan comes out every Saturday in four pages only due to economic difficulties according to its publisher. It is still printed in letterpress and earns mostly from judicial notices.

Upon the death of Augusto F. Neri in 1982, his wife Isidra P. Neri took over as publisher of the paper while his son Atty. Augusto Neri,Jr. took over as editor. Geronimo F. Valenton now edits the paper.

The Mindanao Star

It was much later when the second newspaper was established in Cagayan de Oro City, specifically in 1950 with the publication of Mindanao Star, a tabloid, 8 pages by businessman Bienvenido Cruz as publisher and Alfredo Cruz as first editor.

Actually. The Mindanao Star was published first in 1948 in Cebu City and known then as the Pioneer Press. However, the paper, including its printing facilities had to relocate in Cagayan de Oro City when it came into a conflict with some political big wigs in Cebu City that harassed them.

“It was much safer and productive then, business wise to relocate, rather than stay in Cebu City” Biema Cruz-Along, daughter of the paper’s publisher said.

However, Mindanao Star stopped publication when its publisher died in 1995. “There was nobody in the family interested to continue publishing the paper,” Biema Cruz-Along said.

Other community newsweeklies

Two other newspapers were published after the Mindanao Star. These two, which came out in the 60’s, were the Ang Sidlak with Rodrigo Dondo Lim as publisher-editor and Viewpoint published and edited by Noli Olarte. These two did not survive for long.

Then the Mindanao Post, another news weekly was established in the late 60’s with Rolando C. Piit and Lorenzo de la Cerna as publishers and Manuel V. Quisumbing as its first editor. It is published in English and comes out in 8 to 12 pages.

Perhaps, as a measure to stay financially viable, Mindanao Post went daily in the late 80’s with the entry of local daily newspapers. However, it went back to being news weekly up to the present.

The Mindanao Post is now published by Lorenzo de la Cerna and comes out as a weekly in 8 to 12 pages in English.

The community dailies

SP Daily Tribune—first local daily newspaper

The first regularly published community daily newspaper in Cagayan de Oro City was published by a printing press proprietor—Edilberto S. Bustamante,Jr. this was the Southern Philippines Daily Tribune which first came out in 1982.

The publication of the Southern Philippines Daily Tribune or SP Tribune perhaps, was born out of a business opportunity and a curiosity by its publisher to prove that the city was ready for a local daily newspaper.

At the time, the paper came out, Cebu City and Davao City already had their own local daily newspapers that somehow survived despite the national dailies that also circulate in their places.

So what makes those cities any different from Cagayan de Oro city, Mr. Bustamante thought? He was convinced; the time was ripe for the city to have its own daily newspaper. He was right.

The paper carried results of the Jai Alai games in Manila as an added enticement for local readers. This and the daily dose of local news events that includes photos attracted more than enough readers for the paper not only to survive but also make some profit not realized before by any community newspaper in the city.

A series of events, however, contributed to the demise of the SP Tribune. It stopped publication for a while in 1985. It resumed publication as a weekly in 1987 until 1994 when it reverted to being a daily newspaper under a new set up

SunStar Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao Gold Star Daily

In 1996, the SunStar publications of Cebu City acquired ownership of the newspaper and renamed it the Cagayan de Oro SunStar and is now among the network of community daily newspapers of SunStar publications.

Mindanao GoldStar Daily is the second community daily newspaper to come out in Cagayan de Oro City. Ernesto Chu, a businessman who owns a printing press among other business interests, publishes it.

The newspaper first came out in 1989 and was known then as the Gold Star Daily with circulation limited to Cagayan de Oro City and nearby areas of Iligan city, Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental.

Circulated initially in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon provinces, Gold Star Daily is now also circulated in other urban centers in Mindanao including Davao City, General Santos City, Zamboanga City, Butuan City and other urban centers in Mindanao. It has been renamed as the Mindanao Gold Star Daily.

SunStar publication also publishes the Super Balita, a daily newspaper published in the local dialect Cebuano. Major stories in the Cagayan de Oro Sun Star are translated into the local dialect and published in Super Balita.

The combined circulation of these three daily newspapers account for some 80 per cent of the local print media in the city. The three local daily newspapers claim to have a daily circulation of 10,000 copies each although there is no way of verifying this claim.

The eight other community newspapers, all weeklies have a circulation ranging from a high of 4,000 copies to 1,000 copies per week. Obviously, this pales in comparison to the combined circulation of the three local daily newspapers.

The three local dailies have their own printing machines, which is a big factor in local community news papering. Except for two, the other local newsweeklies do not have their own printing facilities.

The three local daily newspapers dominate the advertising budget for the print media as well as the circulation. This has prompted many local weeklies to scramble for the crumbs.

Other newsweeklies tried to go daily to stay competitive. The Golden Chronicle and Mindanao Post went daily in the 90’s but lack of resources forced them to revert to being weeklies.

Other weeklies were also forced out of circulation while others became “seasonal newspapers,” coming out only during Christmas season and election period.

Still others changed the format of their publication from newsweeklies to news magazines with an in-depth treatment of events and issues to stay competitive or just to survive.

However, in terms of readership, the three local dailies corner most of them and appear to be more influential in setting the trends of local news events and issues.