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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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Thoughts on Lack of Attention Regarding Palace Press Briefings

 

Secretary Ernesto Abella (here pictured with DENR secretary Gina Lopez) is one of two primary voices behind a press briefing at Malacañang Palace. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Communications Operations Office)

Secretary Ernesto Abella (here pictured with DENR secretary Gina Lopez) is one of two primary voices behind a press briefing at Malacañang Palace. (Photo courtesy of the Presidential Communications Operations Office)

Press briefings at the Malacañang Palace tend to be underappreciated by the media.

The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte features two men who represent him during media engagements at the Palace. On one corner, there is presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, and on the other corner, there is Presidential Communications Operations Office chief Martin Andanar.

Both men have the responsibility of speaking with the media in behalf of President Duterte. Much of the conversation is usually directed on top media stories that affect the country, such as natural or man-made calamities, political controversies, and even the health of the President himself.

While the two are the primary voices of the Palace press briefing, they are also accompanied by other members of the Cabinet. They are here to discuss certain other issues that require immediate resolution.

Unfortunately, such live events are not taken for granted by a majority of media outlets in the country. Apart from the Radio-Television Malacañang (RTVM) which handles all live coverage involving the executive branch, only government station PTV-4 and private news network ABS-CBN News Channel have the privilege of bringing them live.

So where is the love as far as Palace press briefings are concerned? For some news networks, it seems like the appearances of Secretaries Abella and Andanar do not mean a thing, and that their only concern is with President Duterte himself.

Before making a negative reaction, here is the reason why news networks should also look at Secretaries Abella and Andanar. Their responsibilities as spokespeople behind the President are just as important in relaying information and opinion to both the media and the general public, even if they lack the powers that the President possess.

That said, the news media must carry these press briefings since these are deemed significant items to write about. After all, the President may be the country’s most powerful person, but even he/she can be human at times.

Overall, a press briefing at Malacañang Palace is just as necessary to cover as President Duterte’s speaking engagements. Whatever words Secretaries Abella and Andanar relay to the media will determine the country’s fate moving forward.

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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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