Ging Reyes, head of Integrated News and Current Affairs (INCA), has to be credited with actually making integration happen.
It was a 20-year-old vision that would make news coverage more comprehensive yet less costly, more up-to-date and exponentially synergistic by sharing manpower, equipment and facilities across the breadth of broadcast, narrowcast and digital platforms. It was indeed a challenge to integrate structures, platforms and work flows when people were not used to consulting or coordinating with other divisions or departments.
The work involved standardizing skills and competencies, managing different people, looking after their needs and providing them with the tools of the trade. The goal was to establish a steady pipeline of talent that could cover Filipinos from the farthest rural areas to the urban hubs and also overseas where millions of our kababayan reside.
In the last five and a half years, Reyes has slowly but surely won over the thousandstrong INCA workforce, enabling the transition to a truly integrated news organization.
“It is still a work in progress, but we are getting there. We are functionally integrated already, but there are still some administrative matters to iron out,” she says.
Integration has allowed INCA to discover and harness fresh talent for the various formats needed by effective storytelling. In the interim, the digital platform abs-cbnnews.com is undergoing steady improvement in terms of layout and to increase download speed; ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) was relaunched with a new look and a greater balance between general and political news and business content; and ANC has put up a new studio in Rockwell Center, Makati, to be closer to the action, so to speak.
Reyes had always felt a deep sense of community with the news organization, sharing in the triumphs and failures of the whole team. Although new faces have come up, as colleagues from the 1980s have either retired or moved on to other endeavors, her friendship and professional relationships with fellow news people from within and outside ABS-CBN, young and old alike, have endured.
The next big thing
And after 30 years with ABS-CBN, Reyes is still working on the next big thing.
“I want our content to be at par with international news agencies. I want ABS-CBN to be recognized as the best and most trusted news source beyond Philippine shores. I want our people to become respected journalists with a global perspective. My dream is for me to be in a foreign country and find that the person next to me is online and reading a story on abs-cbnnews.com.”
While Reyes expects “TV Patrol” to remain as the top-rating news program nationwide, she believes ABS-CBN reporters are good enough to come up with stories that have universal appeal. For this reason, she has strengthened the news gathering and research capabilities of INCA, supporting an investigative reporting group and continuously training reporters so that they can pursue important stories that have an impact on people’s lives.
Emergency preparedness training
On the local front, DZMM TeleRadyo is bound to grow its scope beyond Metro Manila to the national level. DZMM reporters have actually undergone training in TV production, for them to gain insight on how to produce stories with a more visual appeal. And just about everyone has had training in emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction.
“It is always a challenging time when a big disaster strikes. You get worried about your people. You want them to have the presence of mind to survive the situation, to take the right action for the good of the team. For example, when Yolanda struck (in November 2013), it took almost an entire day before word got to us that our teams on the ground were safe,” Reyes says.
While retirement is still quite some time into the future, she is already doing some succession planning, not only for herself as head of INCA, but for the entire organization, referring to that “steady pipeline of talent” that would endure and keep world-class news coming to our screens (TV, laptops or mobile phones) or radios, no matter what.
Her message to LopezLink readers: “We call on our Lopez Group kapamilya to sign up as Bayan Patrollers. Take an active part in the elections by guarding your vote in your community. Send us photos and reports using the hashtag #halalan2016 and tune in to our coverage on TV or on your tablets and mobile devices. You just might see your report on the news.” (Story/Photos by: Carla Paras-Sison)