Thu, 02 Feb 2023

TWO INFLUENTIAL leaders in the country's biggest newsrooms retired this year: Maria Regina "Ging" Reyes, News Senior Vice President at ABS-CBN this December and Marissa L. Flores, GMA News and Public Affairs (NAPA) chief last July.

The "end of an era"

A November 29 report by Jeff Canoy said Reyes' retirement marked "the end of an era," and recalled her "legacy of transition and innovation," in spearheading the ABS-CBN newsroom's shift to digital and other platforms. Canoy hailed Reyes for molding a successor generation of broadcast journalists. She "developed, nurtured and mentored many of the country's current iconic, leading and fiery journalists."

Reyes' retirement ends a 36-year long career. She rose through the ranks of the giant media company which she joined in 1986 as a production assistant (PA). Reyes was described as a "homegrown Kapamilya" due to her steady climb in the newsroom where she "found her voice."

Reyes said in a 2020 interview that while she was growing up, her family did not even own a TV set. But this limited exposure to broadcast news did not keep her from taking on the challenges in a highly competitive field, participating in the "the awakening free press post-Martial Law."

She became head writer and later executive producer for the award-winning newscast The World Tonight. She launched the North American bureau of ABS-CBN in 2022 as News Bureau Chief and was appointed ABS-CBN Integrated News and Current Affairs Head in 2010, holding the top post for 12 years, making her the company's longest-serving news chief.

Under her leadership, ABS-CBN newsroom's productions garnered international acclaim, with its productions recognized by the New York Festival, International Emmys, and Cannes Corporate Media and TV Awards.

At Reyes' 60th birthday celebration and retirement party last November 26, 2022, she said in her parting message to colleagues: "Never forget you are ABS-CBN News. You've been to hell and back. You can face anything."

As of press time, ABS-CBN has yet to announce who will be taking over the post of news chief after Reyes.

A "journalist-leader"

In an October 28 piece by Jaileen Jimeno, Marissa L. Flores is described as a "journalist-leader," who exemplified "tact and unyielding integrity" over the course of her 35 years of service at GMA Network.

Jimeno's essay for the lifestyle arm of Philippine Star recalled how in1987, Flores started her career as a PA and researcher for documentaries and investigative reports in the network's NAPA division. In three years' time, she became Program Manager and went on to become head of GMA's NAPA in 2004. GMA's digital expansion came in 2007, in the form of GMA News Online. In 2011, Flores was also behind the establishment of GMA News TV.

As news chief, Flores saw to the expansion and flourishing of the department. Aside from a growth in staff numbers, the NAPA team and programs also earned awards under her leadership-notably the George Foster Peabody awards (four times) among a number of other international and local recognitions.

Journalist Malou Mangahas had this to say about Flores' legacy: "she guarded the truth, the facts of the stories, brought the network to popularity, and the market and the audience took notice."

In an October 14 report on GMA News Online, veteran journalist Jessica Soho likewise commented on Flores' legacy: "Ang pinaka importante niyang legacy bukod sa mga award-winning at makabuluhang programa, ay ang kanyang integridad at ang kanyang values." (Flores' most important legacy aside from award-winning and important programs are her integrity and values.)

Flores' retirement took effect on July 1, 2022, but she was kept on in a consultancy basis until October 15, 2022.

On October 16, Oliver Victor Amoroso was appointed GMA News Group Acting Head. Amoroso concurrently serves as GMA's First Vice President as well as head of Regional TV and Synergy.

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