Why It’s UPLIFT-Time

Published February 6, 2022, 12:01 AM

by Philip Cu Unjieng


In the world of newspapers and media, there are two sayings that are super-familiar in every news room or news-gathering agency; one is that ‘S_ _ _ sells’, and the second is ‘If it bleeds, it leads’. This stems from the sobering reality that when it comes to news and media, bad news would get higher ratings, sell more papers than good news. Murders? The gorier, the better. Scandals? The juicier, the more titillating. Media would, in their defense, point the accusing finger at the public, and moan that this is what the public wanted. And with the reality that it also has to run like a business to survive; sensationalist tabloids and lurid headlines that would drive sales, became the refuge of some media outfits.

But if that was then, this is now; and a subtle shift has been happening over the last two years. And I mention two years because it does coincide with the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve all had to live under. There was enough glum, dismal news as it was, so who wasn’t looking for the silver lining in the dark clouds that became our daily horizon. Who wasn’t ready to take heart from slivers of good news, be happy to hear notes of optimism, or be inspired by those who have achieved something momentous despite the prevailing situation.

Borne out of the recognition that people were ‘hungry’ to be fed this kind of good news; the Manila Bulletin, on its 122nd Anniversary Year, is proud to embark on a new journey. It’s a multi-media platform that will operate under the UPLIFT banner. As conceived, UPLIFT is an acronym – the U is for Unite, the P is to Perform, the L is to Lead, I is to Inspire, F is to bring Focus, and T to have Trended. In short, it’s a platform that gives recognition and honor to those persons and organizations that have helped ‘uplift’ us from the malaise, and the doldrums, we’ve been living under for the last years.

The first slide of the UPLIFT deck, that began this new Manila Bulletin ‘adventure’.

First there will be an UPLIFT webpage, a repository of the good news and silver linings that are currently happening – news that make us proud to be Filipino, or help make us hopeful and enthusiastic for the brighter tomorrow, that hopefully, is just around the corner.

A centerpiece of the platform will be the UPLIFT Awards Night that will happen next month, on March 22nd. Spread across 10 categories, the Manila Bulletin will honor 10 awardees for being representative of the UPLIFT values in 2021, and for offering us doses of hope, Pinoy pride, resolve, and resilience. The 10 categories we’ve established for our ‘uplifting’ look back to 2021 are the following: 

  • Public Service 
  • Big Business  
  • MSME’s 
  • Entertainment 
  • Sports
  • Agriculture 
  • Science & Technology 
  • The Arts, Culture & Education
  • e-Commerce 
  • Medicine & Health Care

    For 2021, these categories played important roles in our lives, and we know that there’ll be sterling examples of personages or organizations that embody the UPLIFT values, and deserve the honoring. The nominees per category will come from the editors of the Manila Bulletin, as corresponding to their desk and sections. An august panel of judges will help us sift through the nominees per category, and arrive at our awardees. We’ve arranged for a specially commissioned and designed trophy to be handed out to the awardees. And a host of ‘most valuable’ co-presenters and sponsors are helping us bring this platform to life.

    What traditionally was the annual Manila Bulletin Year in Pictures coffee-table book will be tweaked to reflect this new UPLIFT equity; such that on top of the monthly pictorial reportage, we’ve included pages devoted to the UPLIFT awardees, offering a reader a pictorial compendium of what these awardees accomplished in 2021, and why they’re so deserving.

    As I mentioned earlier, this is the very first time that the Manila Bulletin, in its 122 years, will be hosting an Awards Night. Some quarters may feel a new set of awards may be superfluous or unnecessary. But in truth, given the two years that have just past, I see this as the Manila Bulletin giving a simple, yet special, thank you to individuals and organizations that brought us some joy, made the load lighter, and made our hearts stouter, during 2021 – a still troubling year, when so much pessimism, recriminations, and volatile health issues, ruled.

    We’re in the process of finalizing our list of co-presenters and sponsors, but I’d like to offer a shout-out to the ones we’ve approached, for their supportive and enthusiastic response. They were essentially, our first responders, the ones in the public who got the first inkling of what we had up our Bulletin sleeves, and I fully appreciate how they came on board, and saw the merits of our plans. And thanks to Issa, who first put me on the path of turning UPLIFT into an acronym.