Its faithful readers know it has been “Trusted since 1898.” Today, the motto dressed in bright red shines in the uppermost corner of the paper.
Today, October 11, 2014, The Manila Times is celebrating its 116th year of existence.
The newspaper has lived through many adversities, some caused by dictatorial and merely authoritarian government officials, national financial upheavals and even natural disasters. It still stands firm, though reduced to No. 4 paper in terms of circulation, having survived 15 governmental administrations of the Philippines.
In August 2001, Dante A. Ang, acquired The Times and gave it new vigor and a renewed sense of mission.
Decision-makers and young business professionals comprise the majority of Times readers. These readers belong mainly to middle-income families although the daily also enjoys a proportionately larger share of readers from the Class “A” bracket.
They are drawn to The Times’ fair and incisive treatment of news. Although inspired by its wide following among the young professionals, The Times is determined to expand its market. It continues to introduce new editorial content and services to attract more woman readers, aged 40 and older, who belong to the A and B income brackets.
After its relaunch in 2001, The Times became the fourth-largest newspaper in the country A recent poll shows that it ranks number three in the Visayas region. The Times has been winning new readers for being an independent, reliable and hard-hitting newspaper.
Since Mr. Dante Ang bought The Manila Times in 2001, the paper has raised its standards. It has received recognition from the Jaime Ongpin Awards for Excellence in Journalism and the Philippine Press Institute for its columns and its balanced news. The Times has been a 10-year Superbrand awardee since 2005.
To further promote interest in journalism as a profession, as well as to promote excellence among practicing journalists, the owners and management established The Manila Times School of Journalism, which the Commission on Higher Education recognizes and is now known as The Manila Times College. It offers a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism as well as Junior College and Senior College programs. It also offers Intensive Apprenticeship for Communication Arts Students, Certificate Courses in Journalism Plus, Acting for Film and TV, Film Production and a Nursing Board Review course.
The Manila Times College also offers Dual Diploma Degree programs in partnership with the Emilio Aguinaldo College, National University, Baliaug University, Manuel L. Quezon University and Lyceum of the Philippines University.
TMTC has also partnered with the Asia Pacific Colleges and Don Bosco Technical Institute in the Basic Education of the Department of Education.
Abroad, The Manila Times College has a collaborative agreement with the Goethe University in Germany and Thammasat University in Thailand to establish, develop and facilitate the exchange of students to undertake on-the-job training, apprenticeship, enhancement studies, or similar activities in the areas of journalism, creative writing, and cultural studies. As a result of this partnership, there is an exchange of students and an exchange of faculty programs between TMTC and Goethe University and Thammasat.
The Manila Times College is the only journalism school that offers students on-the-job training from Day One and the only Philippine educational institution run by professional media practitioners. Under the leadership of prize-winning journalist, creative writer, TV producer and respected educator Isagani R. Cruz as its president, The Manila Times College has come to be known as the most innovative and responsible center of journalism education in the Philippines. Its dean is Rene Q, Bas, the former editor-in-chief and now the Publisher/Opinion Section Editor of The Manila Times.
Meanwhile, TMTC has established a branch, The Manila Times College-Subic. This now offers Bachelor degrees in Medical Technology and Nursing. It will soon offer a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism with on-the-job training at The Manila Times.
A glimpse of the past
The Manila Times first appeared on October 11, 1898, a few weeks after the Treaty of Paris took effect and the Philippines fell into American hands. Newspapers published here then were in Spanish and Filipino. The American community in the Philippines grew, and so did the demand for an English-language paper. Thomas Gowan, an Englishman, addressed that demand by founding The Manila Times.
George Sellner, The Times business manager, bought the paper from Gowan, and sold it to a group of American businessmen in 1902, then reacquired it three years later. In 1907, Thomas C. Kinney bought the paper from Sellner.
Filipinos started to join the former all-American staff only some time in 1918. The Times roster of Filipino journalists included luminaries such as Maria Kalaw-Katigbak, Jose P. Bautista, Jose Luna Castro, Luis Serrano, Benjamin Osias, Jose L. Guevara, Estrella Alfon, Cita Trinidad, Consuelo G. Abaya, Carlos P. Romulo, and Benigno Aquino Jr.
After the Second World War, the heirs of Don Alejandro Roces Sr. reopened the paper in 1945. Roces-owned, The Manila Times reigned as the Philippines’ leading daily — as a business paper and as a respected and credible source of news and intelligent and wise opinion pieces– until September 1972, when President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law and closed down the paper.
The Roces family revived The Times, in a much reduced circumstance, on February 5, 1986, a day before the ouster of Marcos. But after three years, the family sold the newspaper to tycoon John Gokongwei Jr.
Early in his administration, then President Joseph Estrada sued the newspaper for P101 million for publishing a story that called him an “unwitting godfather” to a suspected fraud.
This prompted the management to print an apology “but not a retraction,” according to then Publisher Ermin Garcia Jr. Eventually, The Times under Gokongwei printed its last issue on July 23, 1999. It continued to come out with businessman Mark Jimenez as its new owner.
The Times received a boost following its acquisition by Dr. Dante Ang, with the August 8, 2001 issue carrying his pledge to reclaim the greatness of the newspaper.
“A window on the past and a door to the future,” is how Dr. Ang, now the newspaper’s Chairman Emeritus, describes The Manila Times as it flourishes under his watch.
He continues: “Our mission, then reflects on great decisions and events, to arouse the intellect, to excite curiosity and wonder, to honor the past and pave the way to the future, but always with the aim of sharing with our readers and advertisers the joys and sorrows, the triumphs and the defeats that are the stuff of our daily lives.”
Dr. Ang recognizes that there is still a long way to go, but declares that “we will get there.”
He reiterates that commitment: “Recording, storing, perpetuating the national memory was the principal vocation of the old Manila Times. We intend to regain that distinction.”
The Manila Times is a daily broadsheet with sections that carry news, opinion, business, sports, and lifestyle sections. The Times is also a vehicle for the weekly publication, Sunday Times Magazine that features Filipino champions, Life and Times, Literary and Cultural pages. Other weekly specials are Expats and Diplomats and Fast Times (Motoring) sections.
The Opinion pages contain analyses of major news events, incisive columns by opinion writers who are hailed as the best in the land, and letters and comments from readers. In 2013, the Opinion Section of The Times surged in popularity when former Ambassador Rigoberto Tiglao’s hard-hitting columns began to appear. Other outstanding and most-read columnists of The Times are Francisco S. Tatad, Yen Makabenta, Ric Saludo, Rene Saguisag, Brigido “Dodo” Dulay, Ernesto “Boy” Herrera, Gus Lagman, Marlen Ronquillo, Dr. Leonor Briones and Efren Danao. The other columnists with established prestige and following are Fr. Ben Beltran of Smokey Mountain Fame, Katrina Stuart Santiago who skewers film and media personalities, veteran reporter and Times College’s training coordinator Tita Valderama, Migration specialist Cris Aranda, Election-system experts Nelson Celis and Lito Averia, Scientist Dr. Giovanni Tapang, Urban Planner-Architect Regina Palafox, Heritage advocate Maribel Ongpin, former chief editor Jose Romero and his fellow former ambassadors, Grammarian Jose Carillo and inveterate critic Rick B. Ramos.
The excellent essayist and our country’s most statesmanlike analyst of the political economy, Juan T. Gatbonton, writes at least once a month for The Times.
The Times business section updates readers on the latest local and foreign economic news. It also carries the highly useful classified ads section. Business columnists Ben Kritz, one of our country’s best, and Emeterio Perez, who is without peer in assessing the stock market and analyzing corporations, E. J. Lopez, Ben Teehankee, Mike Wootton and experts of the Rural Bankers Association, among others, provide the business and industrial community with savvy insights, advanced readings of economic and financial trends and practical business advice.
The Life and Times section discusses arts, culture, glamor and glitz and the “finer things in life.” The section also showcases practical tips on home improvement and management, and health and medical care. The lifestyle stories are highly regarded for being well-written and their specialized approach to presenting information and the issues of the day.
The Times Sports section offers a comprehensive coverage of local and international sports events. In 2013, the Sports section launched its Fight Times sub-section.
The Motoring section (Fast Times) offers a rich source of information on automobile trends. It also added glitter to the newspaper when it clinched all the major automotive journalism awards given by prestigious organizations in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
Restoring TMT’s old glory
For most of the modern period, The Manila Times was the No. 1 newspaper in the Philippines. The proclamation of martial law in 1972 put an end to that distinction.
The Times was shut down until the Marcos government fell in 1986.
Dr. Dante Ang bought the paper to restore its old glory. The new management, headed by Dante “Klink” Ang II as President and CEO and Executive Editor, is keeping to that same strategic objective.
To increase it market share, The Times is constantly improving its layout and editorial content. The Times also organizes active promotions and advertising campaigns.
The Times also builds and strengthens networks and linkages with business and government leaders. It conducts regular roundtable interviews with CEOs, Cabinet secretaries, ambassadors and other newsmakers of the day. The roundtables are reported as news and features.
In 2012, The Times and The Manila Times College launched the Voice of Asia Speech Competition, a contest that aims to encourage the youth of Asia to take part in intercultural discussions, share ideas about education and represent their country through the use of the English language.
The Manila Times is one of the most recognizable brand names in the Philippines. Most people in leadership positions in business and government grew up reading The Times. It will continue to have a special place in Filipinos‘ homes, schools, government and business offices because, as the surveys have reported, the new generation of business leaders forms the paper’s current readership base. The strength of the brand may be attributed to the people who put it together.
The Times’ alumni roster is a virtual Who’s Who in Philippine history. The current pool of editors and writers are veterans in the industry. The section editors and reporters are professionals in the business. The news section offers comprehensive, nuanced and objective stories while analyses, outspoken editorials and incisive opinion essays reflect on the meaning of the news and their impact on the national life. One testament to the strength of The Manila Times brand is its ties to the education sector.
The Manila Times College is growing, having outstanding graduates now fielded in various mass media of the country. The Times has made a successful inroad into the Internet, the medium of the future. The Times is one of the first Philippine newspapers to develop an Internet edition (www.manilatimes.net). Today, it is one of the top two most popular newspaper websites in the country.