A year in the life of a community newspaper

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Are you paid for overtime hours?

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Are you paid for overtime hours?

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TF covers - Copy TF covers - Copy - Copy By Rene Pastor

A year has whipped by, seemingly like a bullet train.

Some 365 days ago, we decided to publish a monthly newspaper. It seemed counterintuitive at that time. We had been online for more than seven years when a friend, whose insights we value, suggested that since we’ve been around that long, why don’t we take it to the next level. At a time when many print publications were going digital, it felt like we were nuts to run in the opposite direction.

But we did with a mixture of dread, incurable optimism, and an abiding faith that we have a product we are proud of. It’s been a year since that decision. To borrow a phrase from New England Patriot’s Tom Brady, ‘We’re still here.’ We have not won anything, but survival – even for a year — is its own accomplishment.

At one point, my founder-wife attended a ‘speed dating’ session with New York City agencies. She was with two dozen other community publishers trying to pitch their respective publications and hoping that in 4 minutes per agency she would have made a good impression. That the agencies would return to us with a second date and an offer to advertise.

We did profiles at palatial homes in the Tristate area, showed up at the opening of Jollibee in Manhattan, and penned profiles from boxing greats to beauty contest winners. We tried our hand at collaborative investigative reports, reveling in the never-ending journalistic chore of tracking down leads and patiently waiting out people who reluctantly stayed on the cell phone for an interview. We avidly followed bells being given back to Samar that were taken in a time of harsh conflict. That journey took more than one hundred years to finish, even though we were only around for a year.

Harking back to what we said at the start of this venture, “We will seek to get it right and apologize when we get it wrong.” That “independence lies at the heart of that commitment.”

In our minds, we have tried to live up to that vision while knowing fully well there are moments we would falter.
We look forward to another year of reporting on a community that is amazingly diverse and has as many opinions as it has members.

In the human tapestry that makes up this endlessly evolving nation, Filipino Americans represent the best of what is in America. From the first Asian Americans known as Manila Men who set foot in what became New Orleans, Louisiana, to the Manongs who made their home in Hawaii and California’s farms, to the current immigrants who came in during the 1960s and all the way to the 2000s. We have endured and are still here. Our hopes for The FilAm is to similarly last, persist and sometimes infuriate as well.

The newspaper is something we hope the community can take pride in – providing a mirror to Filipino Americans whose roots straddle the cultures they call home. We hope to do so with a measure of pride for the identities that sustain us. It is a vision that we hold dear. We are very conscious of the responsibility to be the best of what being Filipino American means.

In this, we are thankful to our readers, our sources, our advertisers and supporters who simply are there for us. Just passing along a copy of the newspaper you find at a Filipino restaurant gives us great pride.

Below, our first anniversary issue.

2019 nora catriona march

© The FilAm 2019

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