ABS-CBN News and Current AffairsREGINA “Ging” Reyes, formerly the ABS-CBN’s North America Bureau chief, returned home to take the reins as senior vice president for News and Current Affairs. As news bureau chief, Reyes initiated change and pioneered programs in the US, which have changed the way the company delivered news and issues relevant to the Filipino community abroad.
Voted one of the 100 Most Influential Filipino Women in the US, Reyes also covered breaking news, US politics, and economic, immigration and veterans’ issues while in North America. Under her leadership, the news bureau grew in scope, coverage and reputation.
After her eight-year stint in North America, Reyes is expected to ensure that all ABS-CBN News productions live up to world-class standards.
An old hand at ABS-CBN, Reyes started in the newsroom in the late ‘80s, moving up the ranks to producer of “The World Tonight.” Her creative and managerial abilities made her a natural choice when the network expanded overseas to head the North America bureau.
When it was known that she was the choice to head the news division, people wondered what changes this dynamic woman would be bringing to the network.
ABS-CBN News and Current AffairsStrengthening core principles
Aside from making their News programs stand out and be more responsive to viewers’ needs, Reyes will focus on developing better programs and better content for the Current Affairs department. She will work on strengthening the network’s core principles, which in turn, she believes will result in its improved performance and form an even more solid foundation for ABS-CBN’s competitive edge. It’s also to be argued that stronger principles within the organization would better establish ABS-CBN as not only the leader in ratings, but also as the pioneer in establishing improved standards throughout the media industry.
“We have the best journalists on our team. I’m confident that with our collective effort and commitment to our craft, we can take ABS-CBN News to new heights as we deliver content through our different platforms,” Reyes stresses. She wants to build on ABS-CBN’s reputation for integrity and the credibility of its media team. A media trust survey conducted by social research institution Social Weather Stations showed the network with a rating of 68% of the public trust, beating out all other competitors.
That said, there is always room for fine-tuning, such as the inclusion of additional guidelines to the division’s existing code of ethics for the coverage of delicate subjects such as funerals and crime scenes. The same goes for pursuing stories that would include interviews and direct coverage of victims of crimes and tragedies. When asked if she was worried that the new guidelines might cause ABS-CBN to lose certain scoops, Reyes says, “Not necessarily. We will remain competitive but we will also be more respectful of, say, the victims of crimes.”
Once the code of ethics has been enhanced, Reyes hopes that a zero-tolerance policy will also be adopted. She believes ABS-CBN... that in the push for excellence, the network should also care for its most precious asset—its credibility and the integrity of its point persons, something that the people behind it have worked for decades to achieve.
ABS-CBN News and Current AffairsUse of social networking sites
Furthermore, Reyes will also be introducing guidelines for the network personnel’s use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This is not unusual, given the fact that the network was among the first media companies to make use of the popular methods.
This enabled ABS-CBN to reach an even larger audience and introduce close-to-real time interactive media. However, because these sites allow for incredibly quick updates, it’s easy to commit errors, and that’s the very thing that these guidelines will seek to minimize, if not eliminate.
That doesn’t mean, however, that we can expect a decrease in ABS-CBN’s use of social media sites. If anything, it might even increase. Social media definitely plays an important part in the average Filipino’s daily life, with Pinoys ranking as the sixth top Facebook users in the world.
The Philippines is also a country where almost everyone sends and receives text messages via their cellular phones. At the same time, social media—especially in the hands of the youth—has proven to be an invaluable tool in citizen journalism, particularly ABSCBN’s own Bayan Mo, i-Patrol Mo.
The potency of this combination was underscored by ABS-CBN chairman and CEO Eugenio L. Lopez III (EL3), even as he cautioned them in the use of this power. “I believe that we will be better equipped for the world changes in media if we are aware of our potentialities to swing between right and wrong. More significantly, I say all this because I have great trust in the young. You are an empowered generation. But your power must be matched with values,” said EL3 in his speech before communications students at the recent 6th Pinoy Media Congress in Manila.
Such avenues of information are essential to the ABS-CBN NCAD, and maximizing their potential while avoiding the most common pitfalls is definitely on NCAD chief Reyes’s to-do list.
Reyes also hopes to initiate a tradition of promoting people from inside the company. A firm believer that its people are the network’s number one resource, especially the people who have trained within the company, Reyes herself was one of the homegrown talents that have been promoted to a top position.
“I want to develop future leaders of ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs. We have great people within the organization, and it would be good if we could develop them and help them achieve their full potential,” Reyes notes. She admits that to find star potential and to develop and nurture it within the organization is a somewhat daunting challenge, as the network has over 800 talents and regular employees, but she believes that this is a challenge that is definitely worth undertaking.
Gabby LopezOne of her plans to further the careers of the people within the organization includes training the journalists that show the most potential to deliver the news through different platforms. Currently, ABS-CBN is the largest Filipino news network, one that is viewed and heard around the world. “The thrust is to become a multi-platform organization, breaking down barriers,” says Reyes. “We want our reporters to be able to report on all of the platforms.”
The one move that ABS-CBN will not be taking under the new management is a large increase in the new technology hologram or augmented reality, which the NCAD has used once before, during the May 2010 elections. “I believe that nothing beats a good story, and that great content is more important than the technology. I agree that it is useful for other programs that would benefit from it, but I don’t think it’s a must for news.”
Reyes has her work cut out for her, but there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that she can accomplish all that she sets out to do for the ABS-CBN News team. If there is anything that could be said for certain, is that she will do everything she can so that not only will ABS-CBN maintain its position as a leading provider of news and information, but that it will be a more cohesive, more united and more integrated organization than ever before, poised to leave all its competition in the dust.