We usually rank down the top stories of the past year with our yearenders. This time, however, we decided not to. But our 2015 wouldn't be complete without our annual winners and losers lists, where we basically identify who among our local newsers and television networks left us inspired, and who among them are falling further and further behind.
So who made it on our lists? Here they are...
The ABS-CBN News Channel closes out 2015 retaining a commanding lead among the local news channels. True to its new slogan, "Your partner. Your news channel," ANC was the only news channel that gave us wall-to-wall and comprehensive coverage of stories and events that shaped this past year, whether that be the Papal visit or the APEC — you name it, they got it covered.
At this point, it's easy to understand why and how ANC has successfully kept its viewers this past year. While GMA News TV and CNN Philippines leaned more towards non-news programming, ANC, by comparison, extended its hard news reporting with more news programs from daytime to primetime.
And while there was a growing competition with the launch of new and internationalized news brands, ANC emerged victorious with the hiring of big-name journalists such as Cathy Yang, Nancy Irlanda, Christian Esguerra and Jove Francisco.
Looking back at the course of events last year, it's safe to predict that Ging Reyes, Nadia Trinidad, Cilette Liboro-Co and the entire ABS-CBN News Channel team will continue to strive to become the leading broadcast news provider this 2016.
From her soundbite-filled interviews with 2016 presidential contenders on DZMM to her exclusive interviews during the APEC 2015, Karen Davila has had quite a year.
Davila brought her A-game in each of her interviews, challenging her interviewees with questions that needs to be to asked.
In what so far has been the most watched, clicked on, and talked about interview this election season, Davila made mincemeat of senatorial candidate Alma Moreno when she appeared on ANC's Headstart in November. From the Reproductive Health Law to the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, Davila successfully cross-examined the former actress and Parañaque councilor, challenging her to answer the most basic, but important questions.
It will be interesting to see how the interview will impact Moreno's chances in the May 2016 elections and whether she will become a viable candidate over time. For now we cannot wait to see who's going to be sitting next to Davila.
The World Tonight benefited from two major changes in 2015: its rebranding in January and the addition of TV5 veteran newser Jove Francisco as executive producer in October.
The country's longest-running English newscast boasts not only a strong team of journalists but also the most solid news broadcast in Philippine TV — one that delivers the most succinct recap of the day's news in and around the globe, summarized and synthesized in a manner viewers can understand.
TWT also offers some well-thought out viewpoints on the major issues — often restricted on the Big 3 evening newscasts — courtesy of Teddy Boy Locsin and his segment Teditorial.
With the viewers every so often complaining about the "entertainmentization" of the local news industry, it's gratifying to know that there's still a newscast, albeit an English newscast, viewers can rely on to for substantive and reliable information.
Competition, of course, will continue well into 2016, and judging by history, UH will likely remain the most preferred and most watched morning show especially among the masang viewers. In the end it's always about the chemistry and the show has succeeded in keeping its UH Barkada composed of Arnold Clavio, Rhea Santos, Connie Sison, Ivan Mayrina, Love Añover, Susan Enriquez, Suzi Entrata-Abrera, Lyn Ching, Luane Dy, Tonipet Gaba and Nathaniel "Mang Tani" Cruz.
Better luck next time, UKG!
Some viewers have tend to accuse ABS-CBN News as a biased news agency — one that allegedly pushes a certain ideological and political agenda. But their reportage from the past year would suggest that they have been as objective and as reliable as their direct rival — the "Walang kinikilingan, walang pinoprotektahan" GMA News.
Say what you want to say about ABS-CBN News but it has been the most improved television news organization these past few years, and 2015 wasn't an exception. Much of the credit, of course, goes to Ging Reyes, who has proven that leadership and leading by example are very vital to produce results.
In August, Reyes orchestrated the exceptionally smooth arrival of Probe Team member Bernadette Sembrano to the co-anchor chair at TV Patrol, while also enlisting top tier talents last year to join their news channel, ANC.
Cathy Yang has quickly solidified herself as Philippine television's chief purveyor of business news, just barely five months since rejoining her alma mater ABS-CBN News.
With her extensive and insightful coverage of some of the most important economic stories in and outside the country — our GDP growth rate, the China devaluation, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, just to name a few — Yang has managed to bolster ANC's business news reporting, while also guiding the now all-star team of Michelle Ong, Warren De Guzman and Jekki Pascual.
Capping off what has been a very productive year, Yang also gave us a series of well conducted exclusive interviews — with First Metro's Gus Cosio, P&G's Asia-Pacific head Hatsunori Kiriyama, senator and businessman Manny Villar, among others — while representing the local news industry in the APEC CEO Summit 2015, which she co-moderated along with other well-known international journalists.
2016 may be an even bigger year for Yang as we approach the upcoming presidential election where we expect her to be the leading voice in challenging the candidates' economic platforms. Here's hoping she will continue to give us an "edge" in all things business.
Nadia Trinidad and her co-bosses deserve major kudos for rehiring one of the best in the business. After a stint on Mornings@ANC, Irlanda immediately became the anchor of News Now, while also working on her passion project — the experimental talk program Shake.
The past year reminded us why she has been sorely missed on television, after more than a year of absence following her departure on Solar News.
Known to be a pro in live television production, Irlanda impressed many viewers with her commanding presence during ANC's coverage of President Aquino's final State of the Nation Address, while also giving us an insightful and memorable interview with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte, when she filled in for Karen Davilla on Headstart in June.
With the campaign season heating up, expect to see Irlanda to be among the ANC anchors nabbing the biggest gets and also those agenda-setting interviews.
What a remarkable feat for GMA-7's Public Affairs division. Aside from pulling ahead from rival ABS-CBN's afternoon current affairs lineup, programs like Reel Time and Front Row also scored multiple awards this past year.
Reel Time, for its part, took home the prestigious UNICEF Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award for Television for its documentary "Buho," this after winning the same award in 2013.
Front Row, meanwhile, scored the 2015 One World Award at the US International Film & Video Festival (USIFVF) for its feature on neurodegenerative disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), while also winning the Gold World Medal for Best Public Affairs Program at the 2015 New York Festivals.
These and other awards make GMA Public Affairs — which is under the stewardship of the inimitable Nessa Valdellon — the leader in quality non-scripted programming. We cannot wait to see what they will do next!
KAWAYAN (OST of Reel Time presents BUHO)
Isang orihinal na kanta muli ang nilikha ng #ReelTime para sa ating dokumentaryong "Buho".Muling tunghayan ang ilan sa mga tagpo sa Buho at pakinggan ang awiting "Kawayan" na nilikha at inawit ni Zsaris Mendioro.Maraming salamat po sa patuloy na panonood at pagsuporta sa #ReelTime! Patuloy na tumutok tuwing Linggo, 8pm sa GMA News TV para sa mga pelikula ng totoong buhay!
Posted by Reel Time (GMA News TV 11) on Sunday, June 29, 2014
After an initial rocky start, Headline News has finally hit its stride during the second half of 2015. No one is suggesting that the hosts, Amelyn Veloso and Claire Celdran, aren't capable of doing their job, or whether the local CNN network can be competitive again in the morning arena.
Instead, people are finally talking positively about the program and the winning chemistry between Veloso and Celdran, who returned in June following a high-profile departure in 2014.
Celdran, for her part, has made herself an important commodity again, one who has showed journalistic tenacity with her exclusive interviews with some major names in international media — like former ABC News reporter Jim Laurie, to talk about the assassination of Ninoy Aquino and CNN political reporter Eric Bradner, to talk about the 2016 race to the White House — and one who the viewers can trust in delivering the most important news of the day.
While Headline News' viewership remains to be just a fraction of that of Unang Hirit and Umagang Kay Ganda, the CNN Philippines morning team has successfully regained some of the momentum they had lost in 2014, when the then-management shifted the program's focus to more entertainment fare.
So, how do you reinvigorate a 10-year old morning program? Hire the other Celdran.
ANC's relaunch in October marked the return of longtime journalist and TV host David Celdran on network, or rather cable news, becoming the lead anchor of the new and improved Mornings@ANC.
Subtle but noteworthy changes were implemented since the reformat including a more straight-up hard news and political coverage during the program's first block. In-depth and timely interviews with newsmakers have also taken on an increased prominence since then in lieu of the usual cooking and fitness segments.
Perhaps more evident than ever before is the on-air chemistry between the ensemble — which includes Gigi Grande, Ginger Conejero, Paolo Abrera, Edric Mendoza and Gretchen Ho — who individually brings something new to the table and collectively are working towards the same vision of giving the viewers an intelligent morning program.
Karen Jimeno is not a hardcore journalist — she doesn't claim or pretend to be one. But over the past year, the well-respected lawyer has managed to establish herself as the voice of reason in CNN Philippines' widely mocked anchor lineup.
Jimeno has proved adept at shifting gears from hosting her weekly program Legal HD to contributing on CNN Philippines' news coverage — whether that be the topic of tanim-bala, the murder case of transgender woman Jennifer Laude — while also occasionally filling in for Amelyn Veloso on Serbisyo All Access.
Already in 2016, the top bosses are finally taking notice of her talents as she will soon co-headline one of the network's banner programs. We'll have to keep our eyes on her this year!
Nadia Trinidad, ever on a constant quest for the next big thing on television news, recruited Philippine Daily Inquirer's Christian Esguerra as a multimedia reporter for ANC. The result: a much coherent political reporting for the Kapamilya news channel, thanks in part to Esguerra's contributions these past seven months.
From his in-depth reports on the 2016 presidential candidates to his exclusive report in July on the almost half a billion pesos "budget insertions" for two of President Aquino's closest allies, Esguerra has proved that he's a powerhouse in political journalism.
As a bonus, Esguerra appears to be a natural in front of camera and is comfortable at doing on-site reporting and live one-on-one interviews even during a major news coverage.
■ ABS-CBN Global Newsers (Yong Chavez, Steve Angeles, Don Tagala, Bev Llorente, Jared Bray and company)
■ Papal correspondents: Lynda Jumilla, Kara David, Pia Hontiveros, Carla Lim and Willard Cheng
■ Aksyon Tonite and Ed Lingao
■ State of the Nation with Jessica Soho
■ Reaksyon kasama si Luchi Cruz-Valdes
■ Beyond Politics
Bayaw For President Campaign
News5 continued its steady downward spiral in 2015 with the launch of "Bayaw For President" campaign. Aimed at "educating" the voters, Jun Sabayton plays a nuisance candidate running under a fictional group called B.A.Y.A.W. or the Bagong Alyansang Ayaw sa Walang Hiya.
It wasn't really difficult for us to identify "Bayaw for President" as one of the media losers in 2015. Not only do we find the whole concept absurd, but it's also a waste of MVP's resources that could be put toward a more thoughtful campaign like their 2013's "Ano Aksyon Mo?" or some thought-provoking election series like Balwarte.
We are all for an out of the box advocacy especially one from a major television network. But when your credibility is in question given your slant towards entertainmentized news programming and pseudo-journalists, it seems very fair to ask whether the management is more into attracting some attention or serving its core viewers.
CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker boasted last year that the partnership of CNN and Nine Media Corporation would enable them to "provide first-class news and information to millions of Filipinos in a way that we have not been able to previously."
Apparently, Mr. Zucker failed to foresee how little impact the network would be making. The first half of 2015 demonstrated what many were expecting when it was announced in 2014 that 9TV would become CNN Philippines — that they wouldn't be up for the job and that they weren't ready to adhere to CNN's standards of news reporting.
Sure, they have successfully kept a fair editorial judgment in the same manner as Solar News, but none among their original reporting/programming could even be considered on par with their regional counterparts. In October we wrote:
"CNN has always been known all around the globe for its expansive news coverage. When there is breaking news and wherever the news is, viewers would likely turn to CNN than any other news channels. But CNN Philippines isn't anything remotely close to the CNN branding. It doesn't really devote more time in covering breaking news as, let's say, GMA NewsTV or ANC. It just simply became a network that mirrors its former self — 9TV, where breaking news coverage were often disregarded in favor of non-news programs and lifestyle shows."2016 will be a crucial year for the network as it enters its second year under the leadership of CNN veteran Armie Jarin-Bennett. Only time will tell if she will be successful in trying to stop the bleeding at the beleaguered CNN Philippines.
After loads of criticisms over their entertainers-over-journalists priorities, you might think the powers that be at News5 would finally have some common sense. Not only did they continue to give Shawn Yao a major career promotion — by making her the face of Bloomberg TV Philippines — they also came up with a satiric online news program, even as they lack a lineup of credible news programming.
Kontrabando symbolizes exactly what is wrong with News5 — where news presentation, or shtick in their case, should be over the top to be relevant. It also represents the degradation of a news organization just over five years ago was considered a threat to ABS-CBN News and GMA News.
At this point, it's hard to imagine the management pulling the plug on the show. It has a following — artificially boosted by sponsored posts on Facebook — and Luchi Cruz-Valdes and her co-managers have confidence on De Veyra, Sabayton, Bautista and Rivera, and the direction they were going.
Finance and business are very important and serious topics. You can count on the likes of Cathy Yang, Nancy Irlanda, Coco Alcuaz, and even Michelle Ong in that area.
With a hefty deal for a global franchise, one can't help but wonder why the management at Bloomberg TV Philippines took a massive gamble by hiring Shawn Yao. There's certainly no argument to be made that Ms. Yao is neither a serious journalist by profession or a news personality by nature.
But there was something more troubling than just being lined up alongside respected names such as Rod Nepomuceno and Tony Abad — Ms. Yao had been positioned as the face of the network.
Imagine the message it sends to the journalism profession — that working hard, earning a journalism degree or proving your chops aren't enough to muscle your way into the top.
We have been questioning for years why the management at News5 keeps on hiring someone who doesn't have a solid news background, or someone who doesn't exemplifies the qualities of a respected broadcaster.
Seriously, ask yourself. Would you allow someone with zero credentials and zero authority to give you the news — no less than business news? Keeping Yao in a position of power without a doubt debases the journalism profession and the news industry in general.
■ Share That With Cher Calvin
While Share That With Cher Calvin is not entirely as bad as it seems, it's exactly not the kind of segment you would expect from TFC's venerable news program Balitang America. Cher Calvin is a fine host, but there's nothing really remarkable about her segment enough for it occupy the airtime used to be dedicated to the global reporters of ABS-CBN. Maybe it's time to cancel the segment this early. After all, Calvin is exactly fine doing the news at KTLA. Her comeback on local TV at this point is not necessary.
■ 24 Oras' Chika Minute segment