A Digital Dialogue
To stand out from the crowd, a news platform has to be more than just news with a broad agenda. Rappler is showing how to do this in The Philippines. Alongside a mainstream news agenda, it is hosting a distinctive digital dialogue about issues which are important to communities but not necessarily high up on the national news agenda. Housing, health and farming, all feature in a host of stories brought to Rappler by readers from across the country who want their voices to be heard alongside that of traditional journalists.
The result is a forum, authored by users, where a host of interesting and useful ideas and discussions get an airing. When Tropical Storm Jolina (international name Pakhar) threatened The Philippines in August, users volunteered to report back on its impact in their area, making it possible to have an eyewitness, systematic account of the true impact of the storm – an excellent resource for first responders.
Rappler places all this activity under the MovePH tab on its website. The tab is dedicated to citizen journalism: “It will build, nurture and engage communities that want to bring about change -- through intelligent conversations and stories that can move people to act.” It lets people with interests, passion, and skills “tell stories that can start a ripple and make a difference.”
Call it citizen journalism, or being a good neighbour, or simply spreading the word about what works and what is possible when communities get inspired and take the initiative…whatever you call it, Rappler has it.
Jerry Timmins, Managing Director GMT Media Ltd