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Time’s Up: Luchi Cruz-Valdes Must Retire The Mic

No one is as hard-working and determined as Luchi Cruz-Valdes.

The head of News5 is a do-it-all woman. Behind the scenes, she supervises the overall operations of the department, and on-screen, she anchors important programs and newscasts to occasionally critical acclaim.

Unfortunately for LCV, the ongoing situation within News5 is unbearable. Many of the department’s mainstays have departed for either greener pastures or a life of privacy, and the inability to find immediate replacements both within and outside the organization has put tremendous pressure on Luchi herself.

To make matters worse, Luchi was placed in the hot seat herself a number of times. There were rumors that she would step down as the head of News5, and yet these were put to rest.

And coming off recent surgery, Luchi’s on-camera work was significantly reduced of late. For all intents and purposes, she has relinquished her hosting job on ‘Relasyon’ in favor of the former head of Radyo5 Gladys Lana-Lucas, and her appearances on ‘Aksyon Prime’ and ‘ReAksyon’ were increasingly infrequent.

Still, TV5 has trust on Luchi Cruz-Valdes as far as on-screen roles are concerned. Which is why starting this Saturday, they gave the head of News5 a weekly debate series called ‘Manindigan’.

Airing every Saturday at 7:30 p.m., ‘Manindigan’ is an hour-long series that will tackle some of the issues that affect the country today. The series is essentially ‘ReAksyon’ in a forum format.

While ‘Manindigan’ will only be aired for a short period of time, it is clear that the on-air side of Luchi Cruz-Valdes is waning in significance. Last Monday, she anchored TV5’s coverage of the State of the Nation Address, but working the coverage by herself (with a little help from Ed Lingao) is career suicide considering her age and increased pressure of her job.

Perhaps the time has finally come for Luchi to retire the microphone and leave the anchor’s chair altogether. It would be better for her to focus on behind-the-scenes work full-time, something that contemporaries Ging Reyes, Marissa Flores and Armie Jarin-Bennett pride on doing.

No offense, but with News5 in must-improve or else mode, Luchi should focus on being the head of News5 instead of doubling as an on-screen talent at the same time. A commitment to restore News5 to its former glory is a must for her at this point.

Stepping aside may be the hardest thing to do, but for Luchi Cruz-Valdes, the time has finally come. Time to hand the reins over to younger journalists who are willing to gain experience in every way possible.

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news, Philippines, television

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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In 100 Words: News Night Completes Total Overhaul of CNN Philippines

It will be a completely different CNN Philippines come this Monday.

As reported by MediaNewser.com, ‘Network News’ will cease to exist following tonight’s broadcast, and in its place is a new newscast called ‘News Night’. The weekday editions will still be handled by Pia Hontiveros, while Mai Rodriguez will go on board during weekends.

‘Network News’ was CNN Philippines’ penultimate holdover from the TalkTV/Solar News Channel years. The program first aired in 2012 and continued to broadcast even after Wilson Tieng sold Solar’s news department to the late Antonio Cabangon Chua in 2014.

The rebrand of ‘Network News’ to ‘News Night’ marked the culmination of Armie Jarin-Bennett’s years-long makeover of CNN Philippines to a network that is decidedly similar to its parent network. That said, viewers can only hope that the increasingly positive responses to CNN Philippines will continue after this latest reboot.

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FTT Year 2016 in Review: The 20 Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part II)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2017, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 20 moments that define the Philippine media this year.

If you missed out on Part I of this series, click on the highlighted link for more information.

Here is Part II of the four-part series. These stories are arranged in no particular order.

The End of Kris TV

‘Kris TV’ had been an early morning staple for nearly five years. With Kris Aquino at the helm, ‘Kris TV’ became one of the most enduring talk shows of the decade, and despite all the criticisms and low ratings thrown at them, ABS-CBN kept the faith on both Kris and the show itself.

But on March 23, Kris Aquino made a stunning announcement that she will officially bid farewell due to her recent health issues. As it turned out, this was ‘Kris TV”s last original episode, with the show continuing to air reruns until April 15, before it was replaced by ‘Magandang Buhay’.

Since then, Kris appeared as a guest on rival GMA talk show ‘Yan ang Morning’, and was scheduled to interview President Rodrigo Duterte in November until the latter no-showed due to illness.

News5 Loses Men to Duterte

Speaking of President Duterte, his cabinet featured a select number of former News5 anchors and reporters. This included PCOO chief Martin Andanar, DOT spokesperson Cherie Mercado, and assistant secretary for media relations Mia Reyes.

With the departure of numerous on-air staff, News5 was forced to implement new measures such as solo anchors on select ‘Aksyon’ newscasts. Unfortunately, it did not mitigate the damage that News5 endured this year, so much so that its head Luchi Cruz-Valdes even contemplated on relinquishing her post in favor of a cabinet position, a rumor that was eventually quashed.

However, this was not the only problem that TV5 faced this year.

Dissolution of TV5’s Entertainment Department

Late last year, TV5 reached out to VIVA Entertainment head Vic del Rosario to reinvigorate its entertainment division. The end result of this collaboration included shows such as ‘Ang Panday’, ‘Bakit Manipis ang Ulap’, ‘Born to Be a Star’ and ‘Tasya Fantasya’.

Unfortunately, none of VIVA’s shows clicked, with questionable scheduling and low ratings to blame for the issues. As a result, new TV5 head Chot Reyes had no choice but to start over, dissolving TV5’s entertainment division, and cutting ties with VIVA in September.

For now, TV5 airs TV shopping blocks, Tagalized canned programs and movies, News5 shows and the PBA, while waiting for Chot Reyes to renovate the station from within.

The Rebirth of CNN Philippines

Last year, CNN Philippines was heavily criticized for its revolving door of anchors, a penchant for airing HLN and CNN International shows, and a lack of commitment towards breaking news. Enter Armie Jarin-Bennett, a CNN International veteran who decided to give CNN Philippines an extreme makeover.

Within a year since her entry, CNN Philippines transformed itself into a force in the world of journalism almost overnight. New locally flavored shows were introduced, and newly-hired hosts and anchors such as Pinky Webb, Ruth Cabal, Andrei Felix and Anthony Pangilinan were brought in.

The end result is a positively-reviewed news organization which now strives to tell the story of the Filipino, as evidenced by the network’s highly-praised coverage of the vice presidential debates.

PTV-4’s Revitalization and IBC-13’s Sale, as Promised by President Duterte

Upon assuming office on June 30, President Rodrigo Duterte promised sweeping changes for the country. None was more evident than in the two networks that are owned by the government: PTV-4 and IBC-13.

President Duterte’s plan for PTV-4 is to become a public service network in the mold of the PBS in the U.S. and the BBC in the U.K. As for IBC-13, his objective is to sell the network to private investors for P10 billion, with the eye towards revitalizing its seemingly moribund programming.

While the proposals will take some time, one can only hope that the two networks will soon return to form as the country’s respective government and general entertainment station.

Part III of this four-part series is coming up this Thursday. Stay tuned.

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GMA News TV on a Rebound with Increased Live Coverage

Yesterday's final House hearing on the Bilibid drug trade was just one of several recent events that GMA News TV was able to air live, a surprise show of commitment to the oft-criticized network. (Screenshot courtesy of Dailymotion and GMA News TV)

Yesterday’s final House hearing on the Bilibid drug trade was just one of several recent events that GMA News TV was able to air live, a surprise show of commitment to the oft-criticized network. (Screenshot courtesy of Dailymotion and GMA News TV)

The most highly criticized news network in the country is gaining some relevance of late.

GMA News TV saw its stock rise in recent months, as it covered the Senate hearings on extrajudicial killings and the House hearings on the New Bilibid Prisons drug trade. Although their coverage is not as extensive as that of, for example PTV-4 or ABS-CBN News Channel, it was good to see the network finally step up the right way.

In addition to the events at the House of Representatives and the Senate, GMA News TV also committed themselves to air every live address of President Rodrigo Duterte wherever he goes. Of course, as the president is always a priority for live coverage, there have been times that the Senate and House hearings were forced to give way for Duterte.

Such renewed commitment to live coverage was in sharp contrast to the News TV shown during the tenure of President Benigno Aquino III. During his presidency, GMA News TV seemed to be ignorant of his live appearances on a majority of occasions, and this earned the ire of many viewers who wanted a lot more from the said network.

Most House and Senate hearings during Aquino’s tenure were also ignored by News TV. And to make matters worse, the recent visit of Pope Francis and President Aquino’s State of the Nation Addresses were also shunned by News TV as if they were not important events.

That said, it was a surprise to see GMA News TV become all the more committed to show live coverage during the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte. With recent events becoming more important than ever, News TV has no choice but to follow every movement as it happens, and this should regain the trust that they lost in the past few years.

Despite this increased devotion to live coverage, GMA News TV still has a lot of holes to address. What will they do with the Koreanovelas, movies, reruns of old news programs and home shopping blocks that have infiltrated their network?

These problems should be the responsibility of Nessa Valdellon, the channel’s head honcho. Let’s just hope that she will follow the footsteps of ABS-CBN News’ Ging Reyes and CNN Philippines’ Armie Jarin-Bennett, and not of News5’s Luchi Cruz-Valdes, in restoring some sense to GMA News TV.

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