Toronto Star features Reporter’s 25th year

Community News & Features Apr 25, 2014 at 4:03 pm
Hermie and Mila Garcia load bundles of the Philippine Reporter from the dock of the press into their van.The paper celebrates its 25th anniversary this spring.  PHOTO: TORONTO STAR / NICHOLAS KEUNG

Hermie and Mila Garcia load bundles of the Philippine Reporter from the dock of the press into their van.The paper celebrates its 25th anniversary this spring.
PHOTO: TORONTO STAR / NICHOLAS KEUNG

TORONTO–The Toronto Star, Canada’s biggest daily newspaper, published a story on The Philippine Reporter’s 25th anniversary in its Monday April 21, 2014 issue, Greater Toronto Area section, and on its online edition, thestar.com, under Immigration News.

The article, titled “Filipino-Canadian paper celebrates it 25th anniversary,” was written by Nicholas Keung, the paper’s Immigration reporter.

It tells the story of how The Philippine Reporter started from its humble beginnings to what it is now, “from a 12-page, 2,000-copy black-and-white publication to a 56-page, 12,000-copy full-colour biweekly.” More importantly, it reveals how “the publication’s mission to strive for social justice has never changed,” through its 25 years of publishing.
Keung narrates how the paper was nurtured to survive the financial hardships of its early years, by the persistence of the husband and wife journalist publishers, “political prisoners under a dictatorship,” Hermie and Mila Garcia, by taking odd jobs just to fund the paper.

Keung writes:

“With three young children in tow — sons Norman, now 44, and Lawrence, 39, and daughter Kalayaan, 37 — the Garcias found doors closed to them in Canada’s mainstream news media and they had to do survival jobs to make ends meet.

““I delivered Swiss Chalet chicken, pizza and even the Toronto Star, and did data entry, but looking for a job in mainstream media was always a priority,” said Hermie. “No one would take us because we didn’t have any Canadian experience. So we decided to put out our own paper in 1989.”’

The article continues:

“The paper lost money every edition and was hit hard by the recession in the early 1990s…

“Despite declining ad revenues, the couple stuck it out and was helped by an influx of Filipino immigrants in the mid-1990s, who were hungry for news from back home and in Canada.

“The number of permanent residents coming from the Philippines has tripled in the last decade, to nearly 33,000 a year. The community has reached a critical mass that it now draws the mainstream market’s attention.”

Keung notes that the paper, following its social justice mission, has focused on issues and events affecting the Filipino diaspora, among them, “getting a Scarborough mall to stop its racist practice of kicking out loitering Filipino youth to pressing for an inquest into the police shooting death of a Filipino teenager and shedding light on the abuse of live-in caregivers.”

The Philippine Reporter was in the midst of production of its April 11-24 2014 issue when The Toronto Star called to say it was interested in interviewing the Garcias about their paper’s 25th anniversary.

When asked what caught The Toronto Star’s attention in The Reporter, Keung said it was because an Origami Magazine story re-posted on The Philippine Reporter’s online edition tells about the paper’s humble beginnings and struggles in the early years, and how it finally thrived to be the paper that it is today. (See “A paper worth its salt” http://philippinereporter.com/2014/03/28/a-newspaper-worth-its-salt/) The Immigration reporter said he found the story would be interesting and inspiring especially for new immigrants.

The Garcias requested that the interview be done after the production of its issue. The Star reporter obliged and asked if they could meet the morning the issue sees print at the press. The Garcias agreed, hence the story.

For the full article, go to: http://www.thestar.com/news/immigration/2014/04/21/filipino_canadian_paper_celebrates_25th_anniversary.html