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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GMA News TV Brings Back QTV as Last Resort

Two of the three logos used by the now-defunct QTV. In recent weeks old QTV programs were brought back by its successor GMA News TV in hopes of providing more ‘informative’ programming.

GMA News TV is taking a step back, and its latest lineup of programs showed how gradual their regression has been.

In an apparent sign of a rebrand or a relocation taking place, News TV is bringing back its predecessor QTV, albeit partially. Some of the programs that previously aired on QTV include: ‘May Trabaho Ka’, ‘At Your Service: Star Power’, ‘DoQmentaries’, ‘Here Comes the Bride’, ‘Ka-Blog!’, ‘Kids on Q’, ‘Proudly Filipina’, ‘Sana’y Muling Makapiling’, and ‘Secrets of the Masters’. Before that, when News TV debuted in February 2011, some of the QTV programs such as ‘Ang Pinaka’, ‘Balitanghali’ and ‘Tonight with Arnold Clavio’ were carried over to the then newly-established network.

The return of old QTV programs coincided with the third anniversary of GMA News TV this month. But despite recent claims that they are still the top-rated news network in the country, the last few months have been troublesome for the embattled network. Some of its programs were moved to GMA, while others were cancelled in favor of extended news programs. In addition, the network received some backlash from viewers when they aired classic movies in the afternoon slot, something uncharacteristic for a news channel.

Fortunately the network decided to cancel its classic movie blocks, but in its place came some of the previous programs from the old QTV. As a result, News TV is taking a ‘one step forward, two steps back’ approach in an attempt to appease its viewers. Unfortunately, replaying old QTV programs is not the answer.

If GMA management is seriously not willing to improve News TV, they should start considering two things: to reformat or relocate the network. That way, they can save themselves from further embarrassment. In the end, however, it is the management’s decision, not the viewers, so it’s up to them to make this decision. But right now, GMA News TV’s days as a news network are being numbered.

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news, Philippines, public affairs, television

GMA News TV Does Sleep

GMA News TV

Despite its designation as a news network, GMA News TV does not air 24 hours a day, uncharacteristic for a network devoted to news coverage. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network).

During every broadcast of the GMA 7 news program 24 Oras, they would always end their program with the tagline ‘Hindi Natutulog ang Balita (The News Never Sleeps)’. But it is not always the case, especially when GMA has its own news network.

GMA News TV was launched on February 28, 2011. It claims to be the No. 1 news network in the Philippines based on NUTAM ratings. However, the network does not air 24 hours/day, and is usually off the air during Holy Week. Now here I think are the reasons why they do not air 24/7.

Funding Issues

GMA News TV is a VHF television station, airing on the Channel 11 frequency, which means that maintaining the airtime of the station is expensive at times. Let’s face it, most of the money GMA 7 spent is on lavish production of their teleseryes and variety shows, which means they usually neglect the most important aspect of television viewing: news production. And as I’ve mentioned before, they also do not allocate those funds on sports coverage. And unlike ABS-CBN and TV5, GMA is not owned by a conglomerate. Which leads to this next reason.

Lack of Variety in Programming

With only an average of 20 hours of programming time, GMA News TV’s programming lineup is not as deep as ANC’s or Aksyon TV’s. Most of the weekday programming is used to air reruns of former GMA 7 public affairs programs, classic Filipino or foreign movies, and religious programs like The 700 Club Asia. On weekends, they air programs produced by the Zoe Broadcasting Network, along with more GMA 7 program reruns and classic films. The lack of depth in terms of programming explains why GMA News TV, despite its name, is not a true news network. This leads to the next reason.

Less News Than Expected

The network’s flagship news programs were Balitanghali and State of the Nation. However, they focused mainly on national news, crime stories and showbiz news, typical of news programs like TV Patrol and 24 Oras. This is an example of ‘tabloid’ news programming, commonly found on cheaper tabloid newspapers that only the poor can afford. I expected more from GMA News TV with regards to expansive news coverage, but with the emphasis on ‘tabloid’ than ‘broadsheet’ reporting, I don’t think this network has what it takes to be a device for gathering national and global news, along with human interest stories. Worse, their use of a ticker is not enough; more updated stats and information need to be flashed on-screen. And finally,…

Reluctance for Press Conferences

Whenever there is a press conference, Aksyon TV and ANC would immediately cut to live coverage of an ongoing briefing while public affairs programming are being aired. This is not usually the case for GMA News TV. They rarely cut to live press conference of national significance while a program is on air; instead they wait for a commercial break before they cut to live. Worse, they would only have at least two minutes to report on an ongoing press conference. Again this is an example of how GMA News TV presents its news, in a swift but shallow manner.

GMA News TV is not the epitome of GMA News and Public Affairs‘ slogan ‘Serbisyong Totoo (True Service)’. If they were to truly embrace a comprehensive and deep news coverage, they need to know how to build a true news network from the ground up, from operational costs to updated technological devices and extensive use of their news website GMANews.tv. But right now, they are not a true news network based on their programming lineup and airing hours, and their claim to be the No. 1 such network is not a way to measure their worth and credibility as a device for reporting the latest news.

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