Rappler: making waves?

Rappler.com, a new news website, received a lot of attention in December after publishing a story (later published on the Philippine Daily Inquirer) on Chief Justice Renato Corona’s being granted a doctorate degree at the University of Santo Tomas. The story by senior journalist Maritess Vitug, which raised a number of questions on Corona’s degree, was published just weeks before the start of Corona’s impeachment trial.

So what is this new media group all about?

Rappler is “a social news network where stories inspire community engagement and digitally fuelled actions for social change,” writes Maria Ressa, former head of ABS-CBN’s News and Current Affairs, and the group’s chief executive officer and executive editor.

Rappler comes from the root words ‘rap’ (to discuss) + ‘ripple’ (to make waves). It’s a new world of limitless collaboration enabled by new technology and connected by social media.” (http://www.rappler.com/index.php?view=article&id=385)

A scan of Rappler.com showed articles and video reports on the issues of the day, as well as commentaries and in-depth stories. Readers can input their opinions and reactions to the issues and events reported by the site by accessing its “moodmeter” (“Does this article make you feel happy? sad? angry?” etc)

Rappler is different from other websites because of its “heart and mind” approach to news, Ressa told PJR Reports in a Jan. 12 interview.

“It recognizes that 80 % of the way we make decisions is based on how we feel; so we crowd source emotions so the one thing you will have that’s unique on Rappler every day is that you will see the events and the feelings that affect Filipino today.”

“We are veteran journalists trained in broadcast, print and web disciplines working with young, idealistic digital natives eager to report and find solutions to problems. We are web artists, designers, publishers and professionals combining the best of broadcasting and IT processes,” Ressa wrote.

Aside from Ressa, the other journalists that lead Rappler include managing editor Glenda Gloria, editors-at-large Cheche Lazaro and Marites Dañguilan Vitug, and news, citizen journalism and community engagement head Chay Hofileña.

Newsbreak, an award-winning media group that was founded in 2001, is now the investigative and research arm of Rappler. Another website, Move.PH, is Rappler’s citizen journalism arm.

“We at Rappler promise uncompromised journalism that—hopefully—inspires smart conversations and ignites a thirst for change,” Ressa wrote. – with research from Fernando R. Cabigao Jr.


See main story: “The audience first, or the public be damned?