By Gabriel L. Cardinoza
The Internet has rapidly enhanced the reporting capability of television newsrooms in the Philippines, Howie Severino, editor-in-chief of GMA News TV told delegates attending the fifth Annual Forum of Emerging Leaders in Asian Journalism convened by the Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University, June 8 to 9.
In his multimedia presentation Severino illustrated how the Internet has helped newsrooms disseminate timely and comprehensive news reports that reach global audiences, especially during emergency situations and special events.
“What’s happening now is that the options for journalists have multiplied,” said Severino. As an example, he explained how his station, GMA News.TV, video-streamed the wake of former Philippine President Corazon Aquino in real time and created an online venue for people to pay tribute to the former President.
“There was a huge wave of emotions [at the time] and these were expressed in social networking sites Facebook and Twitter that we have created for the event,” Severino said.
Severino also pointed to the station’s online presence during the onslaught of tropical storm “Ondoy,” which submerged a wide area of Metro Manila. Severino said that the webpage integrated Google maps. This, he said, was very helpful in guiding disaster officials to where the flood victims were and what their situation was.
“This also enabled overseas Filipino workers to see for themselves the situations of their relatives,” Severino said. “We also created a database of missing persons.”
In May during the presidential elections, Severino said GMA created a campaign trail map that pinpointed where the presidential candidates campaigned.
“By having this, we get a survey of their priority [provinces],” he said.
He also developed software that tallied the votes of the all the national and local candidates based on copies of election returns of the Commission Elections.
“Internet has allowed us to present election results more comprehensively,” Severino said.