PGTW: The New Standard

POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 19 November 2014, Thursday

The New Standard

As a columnist of this paper, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation to an event last Nov. 18 at the New World Hotel, to “take part in the unveiling of The New Standard {in delivering the news}.”

It was the first time that columnists were invited to an MST gathering of any kind, so I went. I couldn’t find out what was to be discussed; nonetheless, I took the opportunity to meet fellow columnists Emil Jurado and Beth Angsioco.

Finally, an AVP was played, announcing the emergence of The New Standard (absent any information on the matter, I’m calling giving it the acronym ‘TNS’), which presumably replaces the present name ‘Manila Standard-Today’, that reflects the merging years ago of the newspapers Manila Standard and Today.

TNS will be published, starting weekends in December, in a tallboy format of 11 inches by 17 inches. This is larger than a tabloid but smaller than the traditional broadsheet size of MST. The complete shift to tallboy size will be implemented in February next year, around the time of the newspaper’s anniversary.

A mockup of the front page of TNS was shown, emphasizing a bold design: a photo dominates the front page in an eye-catching layout that draws attention.

What’s interesting is that TNS will be linked to an online platform called The Social Standard. Here, content will be aggregated and updated quicker and faster. Readers will be able to interact through comments section and through other means as yet unrevealed. I think there might even be “an app for that,” based on what I saw in the AVP.

In any case, what’s certain is that there will be changes in the way this publication delivers its content to readers.

This is an interesting development. With the decline of the print format abroad, news organizations are scrambling for ways to remain relevant by shifting to digital. Innovation and adaptability are key to surviving in these times when rapid advancements in technology make communication faster, easier, more convenient, and more inclusive in terms of usage.

It used to be that only media organizations, heavily capitalized and thus few in number, with their content broadly distributed, were able to provide news to the public; because of this structure, these organizations were able to frame their presentation of the news.

But in today’s communication landscape, anyone with Internet access can be a journalist. This decentralizes the control and flow of information and places it in the hands of the people. Other news companies are harnessing this phenomenon by making available “citizen journalist” platforms where anyone may upload photos and text regarding breaking news of which they are witnesses – this multiplies the organization’s reporter and correspondent pool to an almost unlimited extent.

TNS, through The Social Standard, will be a part of this shift in information dissemination strategies.

I’ve always been partial to the tallboy format myself – it’s easier to hold and, I assume, uses less paper because of its smaller size. In the United States in recent years, I’ve only ever seen papers in this format, and wondered why this has not been adapted by local publications. This is a long-overdue move and TNS breaks ground in this sense. This and the increased reliance on the digital platform will be good for the environment.

I also trust that this publication, no matter its name, format, or platform, will continue to provide the same high-quality journalism and writing that you have been used to reading in these pages. ***

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