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FTT’s Guide to SONA 2017

The second State of the Nation Address under President Rodrigo Duterte is about to happen.

At around 4:00 p.m. of Monday, July 24, the vicinity of the Batasan Pambansa will be filled with politicians, delegates, spectators, mediamen, PNP and AFP officers, Vice President Leni Robredo, and the President himself. The SONA is an annual occasion where the President mentions his accomplishments and reveals his plans for the year ahead.

Last year’s State of the Nation Address was directed by Brillante Mendoza, which was met with mixed reviews. This year, Mendoza will once again be at the helm, but after an unimpressive first outing, expect a few tweaks in his directorial approach.

As for the coverage of the event, here is a summary of how the participating networks will approach the SONA.

ABS-CBN

  1. Channel 2, S+A (simulcast with Channel 2), DZMM and the ABS-CBN News Channel will be the participating stations; each broadcast will be simulcast online on news.abs-cbn.com/sona2017.
  2. Channel 2’s coverage will begin after ‘It’s Showtime’, with Karen Davila as anchor. As mentioned earlier, it will also be seen on S+A Channel 23.
  3. DZMM’s coverage will begin at 1:00 p.m. Karen Davila and Johnson Manabat will anchor the first two hours, followed by David Oro and Ricky Rosales at 3:00 p.m., before Gerry Baja and Anthony Taberna join the fray at 5:00 p.m.
  4. ANC’s coverage will take place throughout the day, with a townhall forum at 3:00 p.m. to be moderated by Karmina Constantino and Tony Velasquez.

CNN Philippines

CNN Philippines’ coverage begins at 5:00 a.m. In typical CNN Philippines fashion, their coverage will be bilingual; mid-morning to early afternoon coverage will be in Filipino while the rest will be in English.

Viewers of the network will see the likes of Claire Celdran, Amelyn Veloso, Ruth Cabal, Pinky Webb, Pia Hontiveros and Mitzi Borromeo anchor CNN Philippines’ SONA coverage. It will also be aired online on Facebook and on the CNN Philippines website.

GMA Network

GMA News TV confirmed that they will cover the SONA starting at 3:10 p.m., marking the first time since 2014 that the oft-criticized news network will participate in the event. Jessica Soho and Arnold Clavio will anchor said coverage.

However, Channel 7 and DZBB have yet to reveal its plans for the SONA. If Channel 7 and/or DZBB pushes through with separate coverage, it is likely that Mike Enriquez, Mel Tiangco and/or Vicky Morales will anchor the proceedings while DZBB will utilize some of its mainstays such as Joel Reyes Zobel.

TV5

The network that infamously snubs President Duterte’s live speeches on television will have no choice but to join in. While Luchi Cruz-Valdes is penciled in to anchor their coverage, she might as well need some help considering how decimated TV5’s team is right now.

TV5’s coverage will most likely be simulcast on AksyonTV (unless it changes its mind and airs nonsensical TV shopping programs), Radyo5 92.3 News FM, and on News5’s Facebook page and official website. They do not need to worry about preempting programs because their lineup is all but a free-for-all.

PTV-4

PTV-4’s coverage, which also features special packages throughout the day, will be led by Rocky Ignacio, Aljo Bendijo, Angelique Lazo, Alex Santos and Catherine Vital. The government-owned station will begin their coverage of the SONA at 2:30 p.m., with a simulcast on the network’s YouTube channel.

The revitalization of PTV was among the many objectives that President Duterte raised during last year’s SONA. The project is still ongoing, but viewers can only hope that PTV’s presentation will be a much-improved one.

Other networks

All AM radio stations (save for specialty ones) will be on-hand to cover this year’s SONA. On the television side, independent UHF TV stations Net 25 and UNTV-37 will also participate in the event.

As far as IBC-13 is concerned, it is likely that the beleaguered network will no longer play a role in the SONA. Although President Duterte promised an immediate privatization of the network in last year’s SONA, the process remains slow to say the least.

Come this Monday afternoon, all eyes will be on President Rodrigo Duterte. Never mind how long his speech will be, as long as viewers understand his message going forward.

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FTT Bonus Edition: Joint Session on Martial Law at Batasan

The weekend is normally a light day for journalists.

But on Saturday, July 22, the House of Representatives and the Senate conducted a joint session to decide the fate of Martial Law in Mindanao. The unexpected event forced a select number of news organizations to go to work in the most unusual of circumstances.

While CNN Philippines, DZMM TeleRadyo and the ABS-CBN News Channel were able to allocate several hours’ worth of coverage, the same cannot be said for GMA News TV and PTV-4. Neither network came out prepared for this special event, and remained in true weekend mode with regular programming and a minimalist workforce.

As for News5, they opted to air the joint session online instead of traditional media. Finally, on the AM radio side, only DZBB, DZMM and DZXL covered this special occasion.

It is possible that the lack of participation of a few networks is due to their intensive preparations leading up to Monday’s SONA. After all, the latter event is by far the most important as far as they are concerned.

Still, Saturday’s joint session is just as important, because the decision regarding Martial Law could either make or break Mindanao. Too bad only a few networks were serious enough to comprehend.

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Wow Trending: DZMM’s Hidden Gem

It has been a month since DZMM (and DZMM TeleRadyo) underwent a drastic overhaul.

On June 19, DZMM made some significant changes, both in programming and in TeleRadyo’s presentation. Two new programs (‘Good Vibes’ and ‘On the Spot’) premiered in both channels, a new studio set (used in ‘Sakto’, ‘Good Vibes’, Todo-Todo Walang Preno’ and ‘On the Spot’) was introduced, and updated graphics were implemented to make the host more visible.

The only update DZMM made since was the rebrand of ‘Mismo’ to ‘Showbuzz’, which took place two weeks ago. Ahwel Paz and Jobert Sucaldito remain the hosts of the refreshed program.

Amid these changes, one new program went unnoticed to viewers of TeleRadyo. While DZMM’s TV equivalent air programs produced by ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs at 2:00 p.m. every weekday, Radyo Patrol 630 has a pair of programs that air at the same time: ‘MMK sa DZMM’, and the new program that will be the focus of the article.

June 19’s reboot of DZMM marked the premiere of ‘Wow Trending’, a 30-minute program that looks back at the top 10 news that trended on social media. The program, now a month into its run, is hosted by Rica Lazo.

For those who may not recognize Rica, she is best known for her work in both the ABS-CBN News Channel and MOR 101.9. As Rica Lazo, she anchors ANC’s graveyard shift newscasts six times a week, and as Yumi, she hosts ‘Ready, Get, MORe!’ with Papi Charlz at 9:00 a.m. on weekdays.

The entry of ‘Wow Trending’ meant that Rica will now be seen or heard on three different stations within the ABS-CBN family of networks. Unfortunately, ‘Wow Trending’ is only exclusive to Radyo Patrol 630, so to benefit TeleRadyo viewers, DZMM decided to stream the program on Facebook, thus giving viewers a peek of Rica at the booth.

Indeed, Rica has a resume unheard of within the confines of ABS-CBN. There are some ABS-CBN News personalities that work effectively in both ANC, DZMM and/or Channel 2 (e.g. Karen Davila), but going from MOR to ANC and then to DZMM is an unusual feat that Rica should be proud of.

‘Wow Trending’ airs weekdays at 2:30 p.m. on DZMM Radyo Patrol 630. It is also streamed live on the official DZMM TeleRadyo Facebook page.

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A Message to RTVM: Make the 11:00 A.M. Press Conference Mandatory

‘Mindanao Hour’ at Malacañang Palace has become a regular occurrence of late, with its frequent interruptions in programming becoming an annoyance to viewers. (Photo credit: Presidential Communications Operations Office)

The press conferences at Malacañang Palace have become a regular occurrence.

In the last few weeks, news networks cut their regularly scheduled programming short in order to air these press briefings live. But while they appear important to the average person, many do not appreciate Malacañang’s unexpected interruptions.

Most of these recent press conferences focus on the state of Mindanao, particularly Marawi, during the island’s implementation of Martial Law. The so-called ‘Mindanao Hour’ usually takes place at around or past 11:00 a.m., and is led by presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella and other speakers of interest, most notably AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla.

With the crisis in Marawi now reaching its 50th day (and counting), it all seems imperative for Malacañang to make the hourly press conferences mandatory for news organizations to follow. But so far, only the government-owned People’s Television Network, CNN Philippines and the ABS-CBN News Channel are the ones willing to air these events.

The rest? Some either broadcast these proceedings online or do not care at all.

If the Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) were to ask, is it high time to make these press conferences a regular program? Perhaps the time is now right to do so, given the frequency of the event.

However, if the news organizations were to ask, are they prepared to handle a mandatory event such as the Malacañang press conferences? They may agree, but they could make some sacrifices to make the briefings work.

That said, these regular interruptions in programming require the complete cooperation and concentration between RTVM and fellow news outlets. If they choose to make the press conferences mandatory, they must be in the same page to make it work, as long as it does not interfere with their regular programs.

It is nice to get some much-needed updates and information from the most reliable sources. But if they regularly do so in an unexpected manner, then it may become an annoyance to people.

Update: It was announced that ‘Mindanao Hour’ will only take place on Monday and Friday, with written statements issued from Tuesday to Thursday. However, expect Malacañang to issue more press conferences in relation to other concerns of national interest.

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A Look Back at News Coverage of the Resorts World Manila Attack

Friday’s incident at Resorts World Manila was headline news for journalists throughout the country. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN News)

Tragedy strikes on the first Friday of June.

On June 2, 2017, gunshots and fire broke out at the Resorts World Manila in Pasay City. When it was all said and done, 37 people were found dead through suffocation, and the gunman, later identified as former Department of Finance employee Jessie Carlos, shot and immolated himself to death.

Here is how the country’s major news outfits fare with the coverage of the incident.

ABS-CBN News Channel and DZMM TeleRadyo

The burden of ABS-CBN News’ coverage was shared between DZMM TeleRadyo and the ABS-CBN News Channel. Both networks went on breaking news mode the moment the attack at Resorts World Manila struck.

ANC and DZMM continued to provide updates of the tragedy over the next 24 hours, with the former somehow eschewing its regular programs in favor of the generic ‘ANC Live’ brand beginning at 11:30 a.m. DZMM continued to air its regular programs but on occasion it gave way to special coverage of the said incident.

GMA News TV

GMA News TV’s coverage began through its simulcast of DZBB shows ‘Saksi sa Dobol B’, ‘Sino?’ and ‘Dobol A sa Dobol B’. Their marathon continued through ‘News to Go’ and ‘Balitanghali’.

The network essentially preempted all regular programming in favor of TV shopping blocks for much of the afternoon. In between, newscasts such as ‘Quick Response Team’, ‘Balita Pilipinas’ and ‘State of the Nation’ continued to update on the situation.

CNN Philippines

While CNN Philippines is a 24/7 station (at least for cable and satellite subscribers), the network’s coverage at Resorts World Manila did not begin until 6:00 a.m. once ‘New Day’ kicked in. From that point on, CNN Philippines went on three different phases.

First, the network’s early morning coverage was aired in English, followed by a Filipino language marathon of the incident during the late morning through early afternoon. After that, English language coverage resumed all the way till the deep part of the evening, with some regular programming in between.

News5

Unfortunately, Luchi Cruz-Valdes’ outfit failed to deliver when it mattered most. Although Radyo5 92.3 FM (and by extension AksyonTV) provided some breaking news on the Resorts World Manila tragedy, the networks continued to air regular programming as if nothing had happened.

Even the ‘Aksyon’ newscasts on TV5 had a bad outing as well. Considering that the newscasts only have at least an hour of airtime (not to mention Raffy Tulfo’s penchant to do some extracurricular activities not related to news), it is clear that LCV and company have too little to offer with a meager cast and limited time.

The next two days saw further updates of the Resorts World Manila tragedy, but other than that, it was all back to normal programming. Additional press conferences at the Resorts World Manila, including the revelation of the gunman’s name, were a few highlights of the weekend.

Overall, it was a field day for major news networks in the country. But while Ging Reyes, Marissa Flores and Armie Jarin-Bennett have done a pretty good job putting all the work in dealing with the Resorts World Manila tragedy, the same cannot be said for Luchi Cruz-Valdes, and it’s a shame.

When tragedy strikes, somebody must take action. And in times like this, news networks and other related organizations should be first on the scene to deliver the news and bring up-to-date reports to everyone.

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Gina Lopez’s G Diaries This Sunday on ABS-CBN

Gina Lopez has come home.

After a controversial 10-month run as environment secretary, Lopez embarks on a new role, that of a television personality. Her 13-episode series, ‘G Diaries’, serves as a platform of her past experience, as she dives deep into the country’s most scenic locations while continuing to advocate environmental protection.

As previously mentioned, ‘G Diaries’ is a homecoming of sorts for Lopez. Prior to her stint as environment secretary, Lopez served a variety of roles within the ABS-CBN family, most notably as managing director of the Lingkod Kapamilya foundation.

In ‘G Diaries’, Lopez pays a visit into some of the country’s must-see attractions, and along the way she will meet new friends and talk about preserving the environment. According to Lopez herself,

“‘G Diaries’ seeks not only to entertain viewers and promote the Philippines as a majestic travel destination but also to inform and incite action, for everyone to be part of the collective effort to preserve the environment and bequeath it in its healthiest state to the next generation.”

All 13 episodes of ‘G Diaries’ will be directed by esteemed Hollywood director, producer and writer Wil Harper. The series will kick off with a signature prelude film featuring celebrities such as Sharon Cuneta, Eddie Garcia and Charo Santos-Concio.

While ‘G Diaries’ may be just another travel program, there is one aspect of the show that is worth looking at. Not only will viewers see some new destinations, but they will also look at the environmental and aesthetic aspect that each locale presents.

That said, awareness of one’s surroundings is put to a premium in this series. And for those who want to become environmentalists someday, this show is worth watching.

The premiere episode of ‘G Diaries’ will air this Sunday before ‘ASAP’, after which it will air every Saturday at 8:00 a.m. on ABS-CBN. The series will also be seen on Lifestyle Network and the ABS-CBN News Channel.

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