ABS-CBN News chief of reporters Jeff Canoy “YOU don’t stop being a journalist.”
These were the words of Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News’ mainstay correspondent and currently its chief of reporters, and how he would describe his day-to-day duty as a journalist in the service of the Filipino.
Since 2007, Jeff has graced our screens as a Kapamilya reporter, bringing us the latest news and information that matter to us—even putting his life on the line by covering the most dangerous assignments imaginable.
But behind his vast experience as a journalist and storyteller and despite heeding the call of duty, being one wasn’t the plan for him initially.
“I wanted to be a lawyer…, so I took philosophy. But, at the same time, I was thinking about the arts,” Jeff says. “One of my friends asked me to join the newspaper as a layout artist. … But one thing led to another. … Sometimes, other reporters wouldn’t be able to make their coverage, so they ask me to cover for them kaya ayun, naging accidental journalist ako.”
He then shifted his focus to pursue a degree in communications and landed another opportunity that exposed him further to journalism.
Jeff shifted to a communications course and later became an intern for ABS-CBN. He was eventually tapped to be one of ABS-CBN News’ production assistants while balancing his studies during his last year in college. Upon graduation, he took on the roles of researcher and segment producer until he became one of the mainstay reporters.
Vocation for the people
“When I started, I thought journalism was a way to help change the world, but I realized na you can’t change the world entirely. But to change someone’s world or viewpoint because of your stories, I think that’s more than enough,” Jeff states.
And this is where his striking statement, “You don’t stop being a journalist,” enters the picture.
“Maraming beses kang panghihinaan ng loob, pero you just have to go back to the ‘why.’ Down the line, you’ll always ask yourself, ‘bakit ko ba ‘to gusto pang ituloy?’ Doon na siya pumapasok kung bakit siya commitment,” he says.
He remembers the story of a typhoon Sendong victim, JK. When the storm subsided, JK rushed to their ravaged home and searched for their Christmas tree so his family and neighbors could still feel the yuletide spirit.
Another one was Joy, who lost her husband, child and mother-in-law during the onslaught of Yolanda in 2013. She set up an NGO dedicated to helping typhoon victims who had lost their loved ones.
There was also Saipoding, who went back and forth beyond the checkpoint during the 2017 Marawi siege with water and an egg pie in hopes that his trapped wife, Geraldine, can be saved from the ongoing conflict.
“’Yung mga istorya nina JK, Joy, Saipoding, at nina Saipoding at Geraldine, ayun ang reason ko for why. … May mga ganung istorya na you see the best in people. So ito ‘yung pinapakita ko kung bakit ko ginagawa ito kasi sila nga nalagpasan nila ‘yun... Ayun ang kuwento kung bakit andito pa rin ako because there will always be another JK, Joy and Saipoding who are just waiting for a journalist to tell their stories.”
Chief of reporters
“Ang pinakamahalaga sa bago kong role is that we have a lot of new reporters, and they need someone to help them through the ropes.
Hopefully, ‘yung experience ko is something they can tap into so that we’re able to tell better stories in the future,” he says of his designation as ABS-CBN News’ chief of reporters.
Many would like to emulate what Jeff has done in the industry, helping pave the way for the next generation of journalists.
He stresses these important things to live by: “Ang lagi kong sinasabi sa mga gusto maging journalist ay, number one, alam kong marami ang takot maging journalist in this environment, but I will say that now is the best time to be a journalist. We need more people to be on the field and help maintain our democratic spaces and help deliver the truth to the public.
“Number two, don’t think of yourself as the story. We are storytellers, we are never the story. … Kung gusto mo maging star or magkaroon ng maraming followers, you’re maybe in the wrong business. It’s always about the story. We are the vessel for the people,” he says.
Story and photo contributed via ABS-CBN’s eFrequency on Kapamilya Engage