Overall, it was a good year for the local television news industry. From the many unexpected changes to a few surprises, there were also a lot of bright spots: ABS-CBN News gained recognition from the International Emmys, while GMA News received the country's fourth Peabody award.
It was also a good year for us here at Media Newser Philippines. This past year, we brought you a number of exclusives: 9TV rebranding to CNN Philippines, anchor shakeup on TV5 and GMA-7, and etc. — all of which helped us in reaching 2 million pageviews in just a single year.
As we welcome and understand the prospects of the coming year, let's first revisit the top media stories of 2014.
SHAKEUP OR SHAKEDOWN ON 'DAYBREAK'
I used to love Solar News-9TV when Daybreak and Nightly News were my go-tos, but now with all the anchor and format changes no one ever wanted, I felt that the entire network has been dumbed down just to get better ratings. Since then, I don’t watch it anymore and I solemnly blocked it on my Cignal box.The network bosses were aware of their sentiments so they brought back Veloso when Celdran left the network in September. But it was a little too late as viewers already felt disconnected with the show which they once considered a morning news alternative.
NETIZENS VS. KORINA SANCHEZ
Korina Sanchez grabbed the headlines this year for all the wrong reasons. While engaging in a discussion about Typhoon Ruby with her TV Patrol co-anchors, Sanchez said she hoped it would change its trajectory and hit Japan instead of the Philippines.
Her comments immediately made its way on social media and created some backlash and criticism from netizens and media watchers who felt her comments were not only crude and insensitive, but also irresponsible.
DEATH OF HARRY GASSER
Legendary newsman Harry Gasser passed away in April from a complications of a stroke. He was 76. Gasser was admired and revered by many during his years as anchor of the now-defunct RPN NewsWatch and TV Patrol Cebu.
Local newsers paid their tribute after learning about his passing. Bandila anchor Julius Babao called Gasser the "Walter Cronkite of the Philippines," while Beyond Politics host Lynda Jumilla called him "one of Philippines' newscasting greats."
HELLOS AND GOODBYES
A year after resigning as news talent of ABS-CBN, Alex Santos made a big comeback in February, albeit on a different platform — on radio — as co-anchor of DWIZ's morning program, Radyo Dyaryo, alongside veteran broadcaster Rey Langit. That same month, celebrity talk show host Boy Abunda exited ABS-CBN's late-night newscast Bandila, after signing a deal to co-host Aquino and Abunda Tonight, opposite Kris Aquino.
June of this year saw another shakeup on Unang Hirit. After the departure of Drew Arellano in 2013, Monica Verallo, longtime co-host of the GMA-7 morning show, jumped to UNTV to co-host rival program Good Morning Kuya.
Ending the year of many hellos and goodbyes, Claudine Trillo, formerly a TV5 weathergirl, and Brian Poe Llamanzares, son of Senator Grace Poe, joined the soon-to-be launched CNN Philippines.
BIG 3 NETWORK ANCHORS ACCUSED OF RECEIVING PORK PAYOUT
Korina Sanchez, Mike Enriquez and Luchi Cruz-Valdes were involved in the "pork" controversy after being included in Nancy Carvajal's report on The Philippine Daily Inquirer. The evening news anchors of ABS-CBN, GMA-7 and TV5 allegedly received pork cuts from pork barrel queen Janet Lim Napoles. In a separate statements, the three denied any involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam and debunked falsehoods put forth by the PDI report.
FLESH-EATING DISEASE REPORT
A report on two alleged cases of a flesh-eating disease in the province of Pangasinan made national front-page headlines in February. What was reported on ABS-CBN's Bandila as a medical mystery linked to a prophecy by an Indian prophet was dispelled as a hoax by health officials.
Netizens were quick to point out the panic and fear imbued by the "sensationalized reporting," and posted their criticism on social media. The network then issued an apology and released a statement saying that its own Office of the Network Ombudsman would make an internal investigation and would take appropriate actions based on their findings.
LABOR COMPLAINT VS. GMA-7
Over a hundred GMA staffers, or "talents" as what they call them, filed a case before the National Labor Relations Commission in May against the network over its refusal to regularize their employment. Together, they also formed TAG: Talents Association of GMA and launched Buhay Media, a weblog which they "created to give a voice to the media workers who are experiencing unfair labor practices in the country."
It was another year of makeover and rebranding for the ratings-anemic and critically-panned News5. In July, Luchi Cruz-Valdes and her co-executives reassembled their game plan and relaunched all of their daily newscasts under the "Aksyon branding."
Tossed out in the morning show were Cheryl Cosim, Twink Macaraig, Tuesday Vargas and Tintin Bersola-Babao.
The network's news chief also made her debut as the newest co-anchor of Aksyon, replacing Cosim, who later rejoined her original partner, Paolo Bediones, on Aksyon Tonite.
PAOLO BEDIONES' SEX VIDEO SCANDAL
Paolo Bediones trended on social media in July following the circulation of his private video. TV5 management then released a statement expressing their support to the former showbiz talk show host turned news anchor, saying that the leak of the video "represents nothing more than an attempt to smear his reputation."
A month later, Bediones filed a resignation as co-anchor of Aksyon Tonite, while continuing his hosting duty on Demolition Job. He was later on replaced on an interim basis by Martin Andanar, and permanently by veteran journalist Ed Lingao in November.
VICKY MORALES NAMED NEW CO-ANCHOR OF '24 ORAS'
Last month marked a whole new era for 24 Oras as Mel Tiangco and Mike Enriquez officially welcomed the newest member of their on-air team, former Saksi anchor Vicky Morales. Along with her addition to GMA-7's flagship newscast, the network also introduced a new graphics package, a sonic-branded theme music and a reconstructed studio, all of which received positive feedback from loyal Kapuso viewers.
9TV REBRANDING AS CNN PHILIPPINES
Not surprisingly, the news about 9TV's rebranding to CNN Philippines was the year's most talked-about media story and it continues to stoke interest as we're nearing its official launch this coming January.
It was a shock to many, even to the network's most loyal audience, with skepticism as to whether 9TV's current news management has the capability to run a local CNN station, considering most of the changes they made this year were not well received by media critics and televiewers.
So far, the network has organized a media training for its news staffers — under CNN International anchor Ana Coren — in hopes of keeping up with CNN's journalistic standards. But will that be enough to improve the quality of their reporting and restore the now-tarnished credibility of Solar News/9News? We'll just have to find out in the coming months. Here's hoping that 9TV executives resolve to do better in 2015.
TOP MEDIA NEWSER QUOTES
—Claire Delfin, GMA News reporter
"I think a lot of young people who enter journalism these days are lured by the fame and glamour of on-camera work. I don’t know of many who would be willing to spend years behind the cameras writing stories, editing stories, field producing stories without a byline or a close-up shot."
—Nessa Valdellon, Head of GMA News TV
"If you know for sure that being a broadcaster or journalist is your true path, then buckle up and be ready for an extraordinary, fun, though at times, overwhelming ride. It’s not always going to be an easy one. But if this is truly where you should be, things will work out well for you."
—Amelyn Veloso, Solar News/9News anchor
"Journalism is public service. If you're in broadcast journalism for glamour or fame, then you're in it for the wrong reasons."
—Kathy San Gabriel, PTV4 anchor
"It's 90% writing. All the on-cam stuff is just extra. I see a lot of pretty faces that think broadcasting is looking pretty and asking questions even if it doesn't make sense at times. Content is and will always be the king so to achieve that content, there needs to be an efficient balance in accuracy, timeliness and execution."
—Steve Angeles, TFC reporter
"Know your purpose as a journalist, and do not settle for anything that hinders you from accomplishing it. Make a difference wherever you’re planted and let God use your gifts mightily. Try not to spend a lifetime wondering if this is where you’re meant to be because life is fleeting. When you love what you’re doing, you’ll be great at it. You’ll know it’s your path."
—Chi Bocobo, former ABC5/TV5 anchor
"If fame is what you're aiming for, better audition to any reality TV shows that could offer you instant fame. You need a huge passion to back you up to be a journalist. This is not just a profession, this is a calling. You sacrifice more than what you gain."
—Carla Lim, TV5 reporter
"I think if they have a service-oriented heart, a principled mind, a love for writing and reading, an eye for history as well as a dream for a good future, along with some guts to manage the camera, then broadcast journalism could be a great career for them and they should claim it."
—Raine Musngi, ANC anchor
"Be one of the difference our country and countrymen deserves. And if compassion and passion are there in your spirit and heart, I guess you'll always find that way to make it in the media. Or if God designed the path for you to be in there, gaya nang ginawa Niya sa akin. Huwag mong sayangin ang pagkakataon. Mahalin mo at pangalagaan ang mundo ng media na papasukin mo."
—Love Añover, Unang Hirit host
"ANC molded me into who I am today as a broadcast journalist. I was a news writer first before taking on many hats in ANC — I became an EP and weather reporter then news anchor/EP so I've discovered I'm a great multi-tasker."
—Mai Rodriguez, Newsday anchor
"ABS-CBN and GMA, they’re old, they’re established and formidable but they’re not as flexible so now we have a clean slate. Let’s do what they cannot do."
—Luchi Cruz-Valdes, Aksyon anchor/News5 chief