In July 1998 when she was only 31, Alexandra Prieto-Romualdez was named the president and chief executive officer of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. As the leader of the country’s number one broadsheet in the country, Ms. Romualdez brought with her an unusual mix of management with a heart, an active commitment to social development, a sense of mission, and innovativeness which introduced many firsts in the industry.
Under her leadership, the Inquirer introduced numerous innovations, many of which were industry firsts such as: Inquirer Libre , the first regular free newspaper in Metro Manila; Read-Along Program which aims to help children develop a love for reading; Convergence Project, a multi-media platform of the Inquirer Group of Companies which consists of DZIQ Radyo Inquirer, inquirer.net, Megamobile, Inquirer Publications and Hinge Inquirer Magazine; Readership Council which allowed the paper to interact directly with readers to improve content; Red Tag Stories and Radical Optimism which strives to come out with at least one positive story on the front page identified with a red tag, and an all positive front page every Sunday; and New Paper Drive – which promotes the use of recycled paper to reduce the amount of waste that goes to disposal sites. Ms. Romualdez also spearheaded the redesign of the newspaper which allows a reduction in newsprint, saving some six trees every day. The Inquirer is also the first newspaper to use soy-based ink for printing.
Ms. Romualdez has redefined print journalism to also mean social involvement and entrepreneurship by supporting projects, advocacies and programs for the community. A scholarship fund is currently being managed by the Inquirer for 72 school-age children of the journalists who were killed in the November 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre. Since 1993, the Inquirer Newsboy Foundation has been helping close to 200 children, particularly newsboys in grade school, high school and college, by giving them monthly stipends. Internally, employees are encouraged to do volunteer work through the Hands On Manila (HOM) Foundation which Ms. Romualdez co-founded and where she used to serve as Vice President. HOM is an organization that offers an alternative and innovative model of volunteer service with almost 45 partner-organizations performing volunteer programs in the areas of health and nutrition, sports and recreation, the differently-abled, the elderly, among others.
Ms. Romualdez has been named one of Asia’s “Heroes of Philanthropy” from Forbes Magazine (2010), one of Ten Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) for print and media journalism (2007), and one of the Young Global Leaders recognized by the World Economic Forum (2006) among many others.