A bold evolution
Twenty-six years ago today, the Philippine Daily Inquirer was born from an alchemy of history and destiny. Arriving at the time it was most needed, the Inquirer emerged during the final climactic days of the Marcos era to represent the unshackled, unafraid voice of a Filipino people still discovering the many different forms of freedom now available to them. Those first days saw an Inquirer full to almost bursting with information a hungry nation was demanding, a mad compression of what they needed and wanted to know.
From the very beginning, the Inquirer distinguished itself from its competition by bravely embracing change in the form of direction, organization and technology to become a newspaper that was truly Filipino in character but global in its service.
Since then, the Inquirer kept evolving. It reined in the wildness of its earlier days and instilled a discipline that would be evident to anyone who opened its pages. As the Filipino people moved into the coming years of renewed democracy, the Inquirer transformed along with it. Adopting the slogan “Balanced News, Fearless Views,” the Inquirer molded an entire generation of writers and readers with its agenda-setting ways that shone with poise and polish. Then the Inquirer continued to change.
To be able to truly cover the nation, the Inquirer established bureaus that would be on the ground first to deliver news away from Manila, beginning with the Visayas Bureau in 1991. In a move that would reflect a growing understanding of the changing newsroom, the Inquirer’s bureaus were wired directly to its Manila headquarters before the Internet Age. By 2001, the Inquirer would take the next logical step by becoming the first Philippine newspaper to print through remote or satellite printing, thus ensuring same-time printing on a truly national scale. The Inquirer would later switch to soy-based ink and recycled paper to become an environmentally responsible newspaper.
The quotidian rhythm of the Inquirer changed forever in 1997 when it converted the laying out of its pages from manual to computerized design. But it did not end there. The next year, the Inquirer stepped into a colorful new world as it began printing its main section in full color. Then in another bold step forward, the Inquirer in 2002 installed Tera, a 100-percent digital editorial system that truly transformed the newsroom into a communal, yet real-time workplace.
All this was part of the Inquirer’s insistence on reflecting the face of a Filipino populace steadily turning electronic. That major transformative change commenced in 1997, with the Inquirer’s first website, www.inquirer.net, going live. inquirer.net has emerged as perhaps the most read, most authoritative Filipino website in the globe, nimbly adapting to the fast requirements of the wired world.
To ensure that the entire nation would receive the Inquirer’s trademark top-notch journalism, Radyo Inquirer 990AM took to the airwaves in 2010. Then the Inquirer launched itself full-throttle into the digital revolution taking over newsrooms. The Inquirer was soon available in a digital edition and as app for the Apple iPad, the ubiquitous Apple iPhone, as well as the Amazon Kindle and Android phones even as it made its presence felt in social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The lightning-fast Inquirer Mobile (m.inquirer.net) and its 4467 SMS alerts were soon accessible for almost all phones, embodying the interactive ideal that the new century promised. Inquirer news, still ground-breaking and authoritative, was truly only seconds away.
And the changes continue. The Inquirer even broke a new dimension in 2010 by going 3D with selected images. “The Inquirer wants to explore the latest technology or use of media to provide readers a new experience,” said Inquirer president Sandy Prieto-Romualdez. “This also shows that we are at par with the printing technology and innovation that other countries are using.”
The Inquirer’s embrace of new technology has never been a mere gimmick. Each game-changing shift, each platform-shaking change has been done with an eye to becoming a faster and more wide-reaching news organization, truly balanced, still fearless just a lot more accessible. Loyal Inquirer readers have been witness to the bold evolution of a newspaper that now leads the way instead of just keeping touch.
This is the Inquirer at 26, a crucible of convergence where history now becomes destiny hand-in-hand with the Filipino people, looking forward to the infinity of all that comes next.
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