By Melvin G. Calimag
After a brief seven-year run, local news website InterAksyon.com will formally cease its operations this year, Newsbytes.PH has learned.
The closure comes after a drastic makeover unveiled by its mother company TV5 in October last year when it announced a major partnership with US sports channel ESPN. The PLDT-owned broadcast station is currently headed by basketball coach Vincent “Chot” Reyes.
With its dissolution, it is not known yet if the employees will be let go or absorbed by other departments in TV5 or other companies under the PLDT Group.
The site’s editor-in-chief, Roby Alampay, is now expected to become full-time at BusinessWorld where he also serves as its top editor. The business daily is majority-owned by the PLDT Group.
Sources told Newsbytes.PH that InterAksyon employees were informed in mid-2017 of the site’s impending shutdown. It has been operating without regular reporters since last year and has also stopped getting contractual workers starting this year.
InterAksyon.com is the latest news outfit to be in the news for various reasons. Earlier, the local office of CNN dismissed about 60 workers apparently due to “right-sizing.” Online news firm Rappler, on the other hand, has been in the headlines because of the cancellation of its registration by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Launched in early 2011, InterAksyon.com immediately became a top property of TV5 at a time when the PLDT Group was still pouring money on the TV station. The site regularly issued hard-hitting editorials that were shared widely by netizens.
As it transformed into one of the top news websites in the country, it also introduced tech innovations such as the Traffic Navigation app which it co-developed with the MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority).
But as TV5 continued to bleed, it became difficult for the company to sustain its online properties. The launch of ill-conceived projects such as the lifestyle website Kristn.com also did not help in shoring up the fortunes of the broadcast firm.