The past two days since the Gensan bomb blast, I had a chance to compare how the different GenSan’s Print Media via their mini-tabloids (size: 8.5 x 11 inches) reported it.

It also gave me an opportunity to examine and rate their contents and features, an activity which made me realize that even at the advent of radio and TV’s tabloid-like reporting, community-based newspapers still hold the hearts and the few hard-earned pesos of the ordinary pinoy.

And to top it all, just like their Manila counterparts, GenSan newspapers also peddle 3 things which sell: SEX, DEATH & GAMBLING in GenSan.

PUNTO DAILY (Balita at Suwerte, Pinag-isa), the youngest GenSan newspaper in SocSKSarGen is 90% in Tagalog, as could be read on its headline yesterday which means “3 Dead, 25 Injured in Gensan Bombing“. It however permits press releases in English which it quotes verbatim. It features “LAST TWO DIGITS Numbers Game tips“, Lotto results and a Love Advice column, called “Love Moves…“.

Why Tagalog? The answer to that, according to publisher Mar Basilio (who also churns out the English weekly Sarangani Journal, one of the region’s oldest papers) is that Tagalog could be understood by everyone, being the national language. Besides, he added, a bulk of his readers are Muslims from the Sultan Kudarat area (the SK in SocSKsargen), who he says, prefer reading in Tagalog.

The publisher, who is a church leader, does not run a sex-advice column.   Suffice to say, his paper is for General Patronage.

3 Dead, 24 Injured in bomb explosion” was how SAPOL Daily said it in Cebuano on its headline yesterday with matching blown-up photo of the blast site.  Owned by the brothers Jubelag who run the english weekly, Mindanao Bulletin, this one employs multi-dialects in its writings. For instance, news occuring in Gensan & Sarangani are written in Cebuano, news from ilonggo-speaking Koronadal are in Ilonggo and the rest are in Tagalog (including the editorial, showbiz news, horoscope, etc). English Press releases are also published as is.

SAPOL has a short story feature called “Seks Corner” in Tagalog which could rival the notorious sex column of Madame Xerex in a nationally-circulated daily of the 90s.  This GenSan newspaper also has its own “LAST TWO DIGITS CARTOON tips” and LOTTO RESULTS just like PUNTO.

My rating – R (Restricted to kids).

Brigada Daily , the mini-tabloid which started it all screams “4 Dead, 29 Injured at Philbest Bombing” in Cebuano on its headline today.   Owned by a former radio commentator and now barangay councilor, this paper is the first to exploit three most-read features – a very naughty and risque sex advice column in Cebuano called “Sexperience“, lotto results and “last two digits cartoon” tips, reasons for its immediate success and the succeeding proliferation of same-sized and similarly-themed newspapers.

This one had its share of controversy when its Davao City edition was called “PORNOGRAPHIC” by two Davao councilors and had it banned.

My rating – R (Restricted to councilors *wink*).

Above is Gensan Super Balita Daily, owned by Sunstar, a Cebu-based print media company and its headline today (in Cebuano) which roughly translates to “Bomb Examined” in English. Printed in nearby Davao City, this tabloid tries to hold its own against its smaller competitors with its full-color front and back pages and center spread.

Notice how it plays up a gory shot of the bombing incident.Personally, I have a hard time deciphering its “very deep” cebuano-worded news which according to an insider is its editorial policy.   GenSan being a melting pot of ilonggos, tagalogs, cebuanos, and other tribes use their own version of bisaya, a hodge-podge of the 3 major dialects in their easier to understand versions.

And Super Balita being Davao-based, most of their pictures & news are sourced there, relegating stories and photos from Socsargen to pages 2 and 3 only. Even their editorials do not concern local Socsargen issues.

To keep up with the rest of GenSan newspapers, it has also started running its own “Last Two Digits tips” cartoons and Lotto results. Unlike them however, its advice column has very minimal sexual content.

My Rating – Parental Guidance.

And how about you my dear readers, HOW WOULD YOU RATE Gensan’s Print Media?