Around this time 10 years ago, the Rappler newsroom was already in a frenzy over the Philippines’ senatorial and local elections that were scheduled in May the following year, 2013. It would be our first election coverage. We were the new kid on the block wanting to prove ourselves but also swimming in doubt on whether the Rappler experiment would even last us a year.
Audacity is probably what drove us to launch www.rappler.com on January 1, 2012, with a core of a dozen journalists, artists, and technology specialists that came from two generations and various fields of work and discipline. Those were certainly better times, allowing us to imagine, to risk, to create. The world was being disrupted by technology, but at that point it seemed to be disrupting it for the greater good. Democracy activists were still raving about the Arab Spring when social media broke the dam that sustained dictators. And Filipinos had just fallen in love with Facebook as their best connector with each other and the outside world.
We spent five months before launch to form the foundation of – who would have thought? – what is now a decade-old media company. We did this in a modest two-bedroom unit in Panay Avenue, Quezon City, which was the office of Newsbreak magazine, that was integrated into Rappler and would later be known as its investigative arm. Facebook was ground zero, where we seeded our vision to use social media for social change in a Facebook page we named Move.PH. As you will read and see in the series of anniversary stories that begin on Friday, December 10, 2021, we eventually decided to choose another name for the entire organization, and Move.PH has since become the name of Rappler’s civic engagement arm.
How “Rappler” came about is a memory of heckling and rolling of the eyes in Maria Ressa’s apartment, where we – stickler for facts and reality – struggled with the notion of having to invent a word to name our baby. Besides, some asked, doesn’t Rappler sound like “nipple?” But you have to understand: those were the days when the invented names had been embraced by the world – Google, Facebook, to name a few.
True enough, when our reporters and production specialists started covering by January 2012, nobody would get the name right. They’d be given name cards that described them as journalists from “Rapper.” We would get packages addressed to “Raffler,” or letters sent to “Raffer.” And when Rappler editor-at-large Marites Dañguilan Vitug broke her exclusive on Renato Corona’s questionable doctorate degree at the University of Santo Tomas, the Dominican university shot back with a reply, “www.rappler.com. What’s that?”
Indeed, what’s Rappler?
Through this series, we let Rapplers tell you who and what we are through their lenses. This series seeks to capture the past decade of dreaming, of building, of growing, and suffering a thousand cuts – and healing them. From former Rapplers, you will know that the world (and Facebook) was a much safer place when they started. From those who joined us during the Duterte years, you will come face to face with our crisis and trauma, and how we not only survived them but defeated fear in ways that even surprised us.
Because of you, dear readers, the past decade has been nothing but enriching and the future – though daunting – filled with hope. Allow us to look back and celebrate what we’ve built with you. Ten years after, we are braver and stronger. We are Rappler. – Rappler.com
Below are the essays:
Rappler at 10: Employee No. 6
Rappler at 10: Where seniors trusted young managers like me
Rappler at 10: From Maria Ressa ‘troll’ to employee no. 1
Rappler at 10: Lessons on courage that give me hope
Rappler at 10: The leap to Live Jam
Rappler at 10: Going beyond our backyard
Rappler at 10: How can you not grow in this newsroom?
Rappler at 10: How an economics columnist found his voice
Rappler at 10: Voices behind the art you see on Rappler
Rappler at 10: When stories kick up storms
Rappler at 10: An ongoing beta
Rappler at 10: Growing traffic and growing in the newsroom
Rappler at 10: Sports milestones through the lens
Rappler at 10: The greatest music icons who performed on Rappler Live Jam
Rappler at 10: A decade of sports
Rappler at 10: Watch: The moments that made Rappler
Rappler at 10: Shooting my shot
Rappler at 10: Watch: Rappler marks #ADecadeOfCourage