Jessica Soho and Mike Enriquez on why journalism matters

Alexa Villano
GMA 7's veteran broadcast journalists talk about journalism, the changing media landscape, and the challenges

TRUST IN MEDIA. GMA 7's Jessica Soho and Mike Enriquez says that trust is very important, given the continuing evolution of media. Photos from Reader's Digest

MANILA, Philippines – The word trust is something GMA 7 broadcast journalists Jessica Soho and Mike Enriquez don’t take lightly.

“‘Pag sinabing kasing trust, ‘di ba parang iyon yung pinaka importante sa atin [journalists] (Trust is the most important thing for journalists,) That’s the thing that we give premium to when you’re in journalism. It’s something I’ll always take very seriously,” Jessica said during the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brand 2018 Awards last April 26, where she was awarded the Trusted TV News Presenter Award.

The news anchor of State of the Nation admitted that winning the award puts a lot of weight on one’s shoulder.

“[Awards], they should come as a consequence of hardwork. You don’t really set out on to this world na ‘I’m a journalist, I want to win awards and to become famous or you know, earn a lot of money. You really don’t say those things. It’s really about the work at hand,” said Jessica. 

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Kasi ang Reader’s Digest, isa sa mga most trusted [magazines],” Mike said after receiving his award for Best Radio Presenter. “So kung most trusted, sinabi mo na most trusted ka and I think survey ito ng mga readers nila, yung mga nagbabasa ng Reader’s Digest. So nakaka-inspire ito lalo,” he said. 

(Because Reader’s Digest is one of the most trusted [magazines]. This came from the readers of Reader’s Digest, it inspires you more.)

THIRD  AWARD. Mike Enriquez receives his Most Trusted Brand Award from Reader's Digest for the third time. Photo by Alexa Villano/Rappler

Fake news and the changing media landscape

Jessica said that in an era where social media is a major source of news, “fake news” is rampant, and people in power refuse to be held accountable, it becomes even more important for people to be mindful of the events happening around them. 

“Why are some people especially those in power all of a sudden screaming fake news? Because they don’t like the news that’s being reported about them or they just want to muddle everything.” 

“It’s always a challenging time for us in the profession. We cannot be complacent. It’s always a reminder to us that we should really keep on trying. But as I’ve said, this job is not really about us, it’s not about ourselves. It’s about the people we serve, it’s about the people we cover, the stories we feature. We should just probably take it as part of the territory,” she said.

COEXISTENT. Jessica Soho believes that social media and traditional media go hand in hand with each other. Photo courtesy of Reader's Digest

For Mike, it’s all about sticking to the truth and respecting viewers and listeners. 

“Respect the audience, respect the listeners, respect the viewers, respect the readers. You won’t make a mistake with that.”

When it comes to the changing media landscape, both Mike and Jessica believe that both television and radio remain relevant.

Ang radyo hindi lang relevant. Buhay na buhay pa at malakas na malakas pa,” Mike said. (Radio is not only relevant. It’s alive and still going strong.)

Mike said he even asked  how Reader’s Digest was doing, since many publishers are going digital. He was happy to know that the print version still thrives. 

“I look at digital as an addition to existing platforms like radio, television. It’s not a threat. I guess in some aspects, it can be, but in the total scheme of things, I think digital media is an addition, more than anything else,” he said.

Jessica, meanwhile, believes that social media should co-exist with other mediums. 

“[Traditional and social media] should go hand in hand. Social media should direct more viewers to traditional media and traditional media should also tap social media for stories, like crowd-sourcing stories, data, etc. I suppose we can all work complimentary to each other because that’s always how it works,” she said. 

The next generation of journalists

Jessica, who first entered the industry over three decades ago, admitted she was clueless when she started out. Ultimately, she thinks it’s about creating your own path. 

“It’s good to have inspirations, it’s good to have role models. We need that, but I suppose everyone or each one of us [should] pave their own paths.”

Mike, who has worked in journalist for nearly 50 years, said that journalists are needed now more than ever in the changing world of media.

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Mas lalo kayong kailangan ngayon ng bayan. Hindi lang ng bayan, ng profession ng pamamahayag sa mga nangyayari ngayon sa paligid natin. Hindi lang sa Pilipinas kung hindi sa buong mundo,” he said.

(The country needs you even more. The profession needs you too, given the things happening around us. The entire world needs journalists now.) – Rappler.com