About Us

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PinoyMedia Center, Inc. is a Security and Exchange Commision-registered non-profit organization based in the National Capital Region (NCR) of the Philippines.

It is a non-profit media organization devoted to democratizing the practice of journalism in the country, advocating for the issues of marginalized sectors of Philippine society through the media, and building the people’s information communication capacities.

PMC publishes Pinoy Weekly, a print and online newsmagazine that regularly comes out with news and analysis, feature, and investigative stories from the viewpoint of marginalized sectors: peasants, workers, overseas Filipinos, youth, women, indigenous peoples, gov’t employees, etc.

PMC also produces short documentaries, public service advertisements, animation and other films that are socially relevant and brought to audiences, particularly marginalized sectors, through alternative distribution channels.

PMC conducts trainings on citizen journalism, public speaking, and media work in order to build the information communication capacities of marginalized sectors and strengthen citizen or community media. Lastly, it bridges the gap between marginalized sectors and the corporate mass media through media liaison and engagement.

Through these efforts, PMC hopes to contribute to social change by giving a voice to marginalized sectors whose interests are ignored, maligned, or sidelined by the corporate mass media. It aims to ensure their access and capacity to create media that enlightens and empowers, and which duly recognizes the people as the primary agents of change.

Pinoy Weekly: A History

Pinoy Weekly started as a weekly print publication, originally by Prometheus Publishing Corporation, a small publishing group put up by nationalist entrepreneurs and journalists, in 2002. After the Estrada ouster, the powerful role of the alternative media in mobilizing people for change became even more evident. It was realized that they needed a publication that they can call their own.

The print tabloid format was chosen as the most familiar to the masses, in terms of language and form. Pinoy Weekly tried to revolutionize the content of the tabloid— which in the mainstream is full of sensational news that sells violence and sex. Meanwhile, mainstream print publications mostly report in the English language, thus limiting its audience to the educated elite and middle class.

Pinoy Weekly’s first editor-in-chief was Rogelio Ordoñez, veteran creative writer and journalist in the Filipino language. Its other editors were veteran writers, journalists and artists Bayani Abadilla, Prestoline Suyat, D’Jay Lazaro, Leo Esclanda, Neil Doloricon, and Bonifacio Ilagan, among others.

In 2006, the publication had a reorientation. It was realized that instead of targetting the general public and adapting to mainstream newspaper formats, it was best for the publication to focus on informing and educating marginalized sectors who need it most, and create its own format.

With that, the magazine shifted its focus on news reporting to that of features, investigative and in-depth reporting, and adopted the magazine format. PW also shifted its beat system from that of the commonly-practiced political beat system in the mainstream media to that of the sectoral beat system. Previously, reporters were assigned to cover people’s issues as these were tackled in the centers of political power like the Malacañang, House of Representatives, Senate, and Defense. With the reorientation, reporters now were deployed to different sectors of society to cover their stories. PW also lessened the prominence of stories on showbiz and sports (which previously appeared in the front, spread, and back pages as “come-ons”), but maintained these as well as comics strips and crosswords, in recognition of popular audience tastes fit for a then weekly publication.

The bulk of the distribution of the publication went to organizations that work with marginalized sectors. To be affordable to the masses, Pinoy Weekly was sold only at the printing cost of P6 (even if other tabloids at that time were being sold at P8-10).

However, circulation in newsstands was limited. A “cartel” that had to be “wined and dined” controlled major newsstands, so our distribution staff instead dealt independently with newsstand owners, albeit with a limited reach. Likewise, there was little revenue from advertising, since the magazine’s content was unattractive to corporate advertisers (although there were attempts to raise revenues from legal notices and advertisements from small businesses).

Despite such challenges, Pinoy Weekly branched out to have a separate weekly print edition in Mindanao and overseas monthly print editions in Israel, Taiwan and Japan.

In 2008, however, skyrocketing printing costs and limited revenues were unable to sustain operations. The publishers decided to fold up the weekly print publication of Pinoy Weekly, and refocused on online publication. Pinoy Weekly, however, never stopped publishing its print magazine, in recognition of the fact that majority of the poor and oppressed do not have regular access to the Internet. It continued to publish a special print edition around four times a year, gradually increasing to once a month to once in every two months.

The publication’s print readers largly remains to be from people’s organizations, which ensure its distribution to marginalized communities in need of vital information and analysis of political, economic, and social developments that affect them, and which can help galvanize them into action. Meanwhile, the online edition’s readership is the general public, who are in need of relevant information and progressive views amid the sea of shallow infotainment being churned out both by the corporate and user- generated media.

Since last year, Pinoy Weekly online started using the English language, to be able to maximize the stories’ reach to the international community or non-Filipino audience, and to opinion makers who engage using the English language. However, it maintains Filipino as its primary language both online and in print as a matter of audience targeting and principle. In order to speak to the masses, it is necessary to use the language of the masses. It is also necessary to uphold and develop the use of the national language in journalism as a contribution to the long-term effort of building of a nationalist and mass-oriented culture.

Currently, Pinoy Weekly is being run by an editorial team of committed journalists, including: Kenneth Roland Guda (Editor-in-Chief), Ilang-Ilang Quijano, Macky Macaspac, Darius Galang, Christopher Pasion, and Soliman Santos. It also also features columns from respected progressive opinion makers and contributions from talented and committed writers, photographers and artists. Throughout its existence, the publication has been recognized for its work by media institutions and people’s organizations, among them, (the now-defunct) Jaime V. Ongpin Awards for Excellence in Journalism and Gawad Agong Para sa Pamamahayag. It has been cited by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, in the November 2006 issue of the Philippine Journalism Review: “If other tabloids are known for their sensationalized stories on crime and sex or splashy entertainment and sports pages, Pinoy Weekly comes across as a serious paper with analyses on issues affecting citizens, especially the marginalized.”

Pushing boundaries: Birth of PMC

In 2010, the Pinoy Weekly editorial team, as well as its adherents like UP College of Mass Communication Dean Rolando Tolentino, former UP CMC Dean Luis Teodoro and National Artist Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera, formed an NGO that would serve as publisher of Pinoy Weekly as well as launch other programs and activities aimed at further serving marginalized sectors. Thus, PinoyMedia Center (PMC) was born. Ilang-Ilang Quijano is currently its Executive Director.

While the publication of Pinoy Weekly remains among PMC’s main programs, it also started to explore other means to help accomplish its vision—a film collective that focuses on audio-visual work, citizen journalism trainings to directly assist marginalized communities in the information communication aspects of their advocacies, a media engagement team to help bring people’s issues to the attention of the mainstream mass media, and cultural initiatives.

The expansion of PMC’s work is reflective of the need to go beyond journalism in its traditional sense—that is, to report, analyze, and publish. The Filipino people’s need for relevant, timely, engaging, and enlightening materials that reflect and dissect realities, as well as articulate aspirations and solutions for social change is steadfastly growing. The many distractions, illusions, and lies systematically churned out by the elite through the corporate mass media, and even social media, calls for committed journalists to push boundaries, explore other areas of work in media and communication, and to align themselves even more clearly with the people.

Ventures into filmmaking

PMC’s first venture into film and audio-visual work beyond reportage is the INDIEpendesya Film Festival in 2012. With the theme of national sovereignty, PMC spearheaded the call for public service advertisements (PSAs) or short films among independent and student filmmakers. After a series of workshops with invited filmmakers, INDIEpendensya Film Festival was able to gather almost 50 original PSAs or short films, which were shown during the 3-day festival, and disseminated through social media afterwards. The festival also screened local and international films— documentaries and narratives—tackling the issue of imperialist domination and movements for national identity and liberation.

Another marked achievement of PMC’s film/AV work is Eskinita: Ang Alternatibong Ruta, a documentary web series that tackles issues from the point-of-view of marginalized communities, featuring a host that rides the bicycle and espouses an alternative lifestyle. It just ended its first season, consisting of five episodes that dealt with the following topics: elections, jobless growth, Andres Bonifacio’s legacy, typhoon Yolanda victims, and education & the role of the youth. Eskinita is made available through social media, and is distributed to people’s organizations, which ensure that it is shown and discussed in film screenings in communities, schools, and other alternative venues. Eskinita is an effort to come up with a regular documentary show that tackles issues in an in-depth manner, presents alternatives or solutions, and has the ability to gain a popular following. PMC is currently on its second season.

In general, PMC’s film and audio-visual collective, consisting of filmmakers King Catoy and JL Burgos among others, strives to create pro-people works that are innovative, impacts the viewer educationally and emotionally, and both explores and challenges cinematic forms. Documentary and animation films produced by PMC, such as Puso ng Lungsod (Heart of the City), Didipio, and Pangarap Ko sa Pilipinas, have won recognition from institutions such as the Gawad Urian, Cebu International Documentary Film Festival, and Gawad Agong.

Citizen journalism & media engagement

PMC also started to respond to the needs of people’s organizations for training with regards to basic information communication skills such as writing, photography and videography, and even public speaking. Such trainings help build the people’s media capacities at the grassroots level, so that the masses (many of whom have limited formal education) would be able to more effectively tell their stories from their own point-of-view, and acquire skills that would not only help them in the crucial tasks of arousing, organizing and mobilizing among their ranks, but also in engaging the media and the general public in their advocacies. With the rise of social media and citizen journalism, these trainings also serve as an impetus for marginalized sectors to either contribute to existing alternative media outfits or create their own.

PMC has so far conducted citizen journalism and media advocacy trainings for workers, the urban poor, women, youth, overseas Filipinos, indigenous peoples, health workers, and environmental advocates, among others.

Furthermore, PMC has a media engagement team (led by Cynthia Espiritu and Leo Esclanda), which facilitates relations between people’s organizations and the mainstream mass media. This is in recognition of the wide reach and dominant influence of the corporate mass media, and maximizing the space, albeit limited, still being given to people’s issues especially by progressive-minded journalists and editors. The PMC media engagement team has facilitated the coverage of many people’s issues in TV, radio, print, and online media.

PMC also spearheads the Documenting the Marginalized Series, or various activities that recognize and encourage journalists, filmmakers, and artists who produce works that reflect the people’s situation and struggles, or simply facilitate public discourse on how the issues of marginalized sectors are documented in the media. These include fora, photo and art exhibits (e.g. commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Diliman Commune), film screenings, and media roundtable discussions (e.g. on media’s coverage of the urban poor).

PMC has further explored cultural initiatives that serve advocacy campaigns of marginalized sectors. It co-produced the theatrical and musical show on political detainees, POLDET, last 2011. In 2014, it also co-produced a music album on contemporary music of people’s issues and struggles, featuring both progressive and mainstream bands and performers.

Contact information

Address: 57 P. Burgos St., Project 4, Quezon City

Tel No: 63-2-4404998

E-mail: pinoymediacenterinc@gmail.com