Gawad Plaridel recipient for 2018 Jessica Soho, a broadcast journalist, talked about her career before Mass Communication students, scholars, and practitioners from different schools and organizations, in a skills enhancement seminar on January 21, 2019 in the UP Film Institute Studio, UP Diliman.
The host of the popular television magazine show, “Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho”, on GMA 7 and anchor of primetime news telecast, “State of the Nation”, on GMA News TV expressed her values of good story-telling, hard work, and honesty. She traced these to her maternal and paternal grandmothers, one of whom sold meat in the market.
“I want to keep it real,” Soho said. “The market is the place to be if you want to feel the vibe and pulse of the place and its people,” she stressed.
“The best stories are there, too, if you bother to talk and listen to the sellers, farmers, fishermen, middlemen, et cetera. It is also where I gather feedback. . . if we are connecting to our target audience,” she explained.
“I guess you can call all that research,” Soho emphasized.
She then proceeded to give practical advice on ensuring quality and interesting broadcast news, without discounting being a control freak with the smallest details.
“TV work as journalism also entails a lot of diskarte and pakikisama. . . . You have to rely on a lot of people for help, strangers even,” she added. “For those of you wishing to join us, may I suggest ngayon pa lang you learn to be humble and stay that way. . . . You need to get along with your team.”
Traditionally, Soho said, impact is the strength of television, as are depth of print, and reach of radio. But she believes that with the internet and technology, communicators have greater opportunity to achieve all three for their stories.
Soho began her internationally acclaimed journalism career as a reporter for GMA 7 in the mid-1980s. She began producing news segments and documentaries in the 1990s before becoming a news executive of the network.
Soho’s participation in the CMC seminar was part of the Gawad Plaridel program, according to UP Diliman College of Mass Communication (UPD-CMC) Dean and Vice President for Public Affairs Elena Pernia, who gave the opening remarks at the seminar. The Gawad is the highest honor UP bestows to pillars of mass communication in the country.
Organized by the UPD-CMC Office of Extension and External Relations, headed by Director Shirley Palileo-Evidente, the seminar was sponsored by the Office of the UP President.
Soho’s talk was preceded by a presentation on news literacy by CMC Journalism Department Chair Rachel Khan and followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience.