Jessica Soho. Kara David. Maki Pulido. Drew Arellano. Atom Araullo.
These names have been synonymous with GMA Public Affairs–widely regarded as the most awarded broadcast news organization in the country and one of the top content creators on air and online.
For over 35 years, GMA Public Affairs has continued to be the leader in producing stories that impact Filipinos’ lives: from investigative reports that tackle in-depth discussions of issues, to magazine and reality programs that touch hearts, and to documentaries that open the public’s eyes to shocking realities.
Like GMA Public Affairs, Jessica, Kara, Maki, Drew, and Atom are just some of the Kapuso broadcast journalists who have showcased what it means to create stories that are “Tatak Public Affairs,” upholding truth in the age of fake news and misinformation.
Tatak Public Affairs is anchored on three values: Tapang. Talino. Totoo.
Tapang (Courage). It takes grit and determination to report big stories and engage in dangerous coverages.
Talino (Intellect). Every story is backed by thorough research and a discerning attitude to achieve objectivity and balance.
Totoo (Truth). GMA Public Affairs’ pledge and commitment have always been the truthful delivery of stories and information to Filipinos.
Changing lives, one episode at a time
“Pag sinabi mong ‘Tatak Public Affairs,’ hindi lang tayo nagbabalita o nagkukwento. We want to change lives, one episode at a time,” shared Jessica.
“The Philippines’ Most Awarded Journalist,” Jessica is one of the main driving forces behind GMA Public Affairs. She conceptualized many iconic Kapuso public affairs shows, including Brigada Siete, Emergency, and I-Witness.
“Yung ating mga kinukuwento na mga buhay at mga tao – hindi lang sila case studies, kapwa natin sila, kapwa Pilipino, mga kababayan. At kung kailangan tulungan, dapat tulungan, Naniniwala ako sa tagline natin na ‘Dapat Tama’ so hindi tama na iiwan mo lang yung ini-interview mo kahit nangangailangan sila ng tulong,” she added.
Jessica is the Philippines’ first recipient of the highly coveted George Foster Peabody Award. She is also the first and only Filipino broadcast journalist to have been nominated and won the bronze medal in the prestigious New York Festivals “World’s Best TV and Films” Competition in the Best News Anchor category. Jessica remains one of the most trusted news personalities at the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands Awards 2022. She currently hosts the Filipinos’ favorite Sunday viewing habit on TV, Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho, which recently won as Top Media Publisher in 2022 TikTok Awards Philippines.
For Kara, being a public affairs host does not end when the camera stops rolling. “Yung mga taong ini-interview natin, nagpapatuloy ‘yung impact ng taong ‘yun sa buhay mo,” Kara shared.
“The Country’s Premiere Documentarist,” Kara has been praised for her documentaries that tug at the viewer’s hearts. One of her documentaries for I-Witness, ‘Ambulansyang de Paa,” gave the Philippines its second George Foster Peabody Award.
Kara says it’s providing ‘Serbisyong Totoo’ to the public that sets GMA Public Affairs different from others. “Iba ang Serbisyong Totoo–ito ‘yung paglilingkod sa tao nang wala kang hinihintay na kapalit. Ginagawa mo ito hindi lang dahil trabaho mo, kung di dahil obligasyon mo ito bilang isang tao. Iisa tayo ng puso. To feel that compassion and empathy for the other person–I think iyon ang Tatak Public Affairs. Hindi pwedeng tumigil sa pagrolyo ng camera ang koneksyon natin sa isa’t isa.”
Aside from I-Witness, Kara currently hosts Pinas Sarap and Brigada. In 2011, Kara was included in the Ten Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS). She has been recently named as the new chair of the journalism department at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.
Maki also believes that a “Tatak Public Affairs” story has to have a heart. “Ang Tatak Public Affairs ay ‘yung kuwentong may puso. Yung matapang na nag-uungkat ng isyu ng bayan, nagsisiwalat ng katiwalian sa gobyerno. Layunin niyang magbigay ng boses sa mga walang boses sa lipunan. At ‘yung kuwento laging may puso. ‘Yung kwento may puso dahil tungkol ito sa tao,” she added.
As “The Fearless Journalist,” Maki is known for her passion for news and in-depth reporting. She made a niche in the industry for her exclusive reports and coverage on significant national issues. She currently co-anchors GTV’s flagship evening newscast State of the Nation and co-hosts the internationally-acclaimed public affairs program Reporter’s Notebook.
Maki has earned numerous awards here and abroad for her stories in Reporter’s Notebook. Her in-depth report “Backdoor” won the Silver Screen Award at the 2006 U.S. International Film & Video Festival. She also represented Reporter’s Notebook at the 2007 Asian TV Awards where the show won Best Current Affairs program. In 2008, her story “Batang Kalakal” took home the Gold World Medal for Best Human Interest Story at the New York Festivals Television and Film Awards. This was followed by another gold medal in 2017 for her Reporter’s Notebook episode “Pasan-Pasang Pangarap.” In 2021, Reporter’s Notebook won Best Public Service Program at the 42nd Catholic Mass Media Awards for her story “Mga Sugat ni Miguel” which also took home a New York Festivals medal.
Stay curious, seek the truth
As an “Adventurer for Life,” Drew is always seeking discoveries he can share with the public. “It’s the process of constantly learning,” he shared about hosting public affairs shows. “It gives you more knowledge of certain types of places, certain types of cultures, different personalities of people, what makes them tick–I just want to keep on doing it.”
For the host of award-winning public affairs shows AHA! and Biyahe ni Drew, what does it mean to have the ‘Tatak Public Affairs’? “It’s about being curious all the time. If you don’t know something, just ask. For the past 20 years I’ve been asking, until now, I’m still asking.”
Drew has been reaping various recognitions, winning best program hosts in educational, lifestyle, and travel show categories. This year AHA! earned a finalist status at the prestigious Prix Jeunesse International Festival 2022. The show was also included in the festival catalogue 2021/2022 dubbed “Quality in Children’s TV Worldwide.”
As “The Truth Seeker,” Atom sees the commitment to truth as what makes GMA Public Affairs a cut above the rest. “‘Yung commitment na makapagkuwento ng mga bagay na nangyayari sa paligid natin kahit minsan hindi masyadong maganda, komportable. Naniniwala ang GMA sa kahalagahan ng ganitong uri ng storytelling na hindi maikakahon sa dalawang minuto. That commitment itself is special.”
He adds, “At the end of day, it’s all about the truth. The truth is the truth, and the truth will set us free. The past years have shown us that the only reason we enjoy living in the world of truth is because ipinaglalaban siya. At ang mga mamamahayag ay bahagi ng struggle na iyon–to seek the truth. And that process involves courage. Kung madaling makita ang katotohanan, hindi kailangan ng masinop na mamamahayag.”
Considered as one of this generation’s notable journalists, Atom believes that each story’s impact on the viewers is a reward itself. “Kahit isang tao lang yan na nabago ‘yung buhay dahil doon sa kwento mo – I think it makes it worth it,” he said.
Atom has been getting accolades for his various shows. At the 2022 New York Festivals TV & Film Awards, The Atom Araullo Specials won a Gold Medal for his “Munting Bisig (Young Arms),” story. His documentary “Koronang Tinik (Crown of Thorns)” for I-Witness, on the other hand, took home a bronze medal. Atom currently co-anchors State of the Nation and is also a regular pinch-hitter for 24 Oras.
On air and online, GMA Public Affairs continues to blaze the trail as one of the largest and most followed content creators in the Philippines. It has received countless awards in Philippine television and the most prestigious distinctions in the world – a testament to its unwavering excellence and dedication.
But like true Public Affairs hosts, Jessica, Kara, Maki, Drew, and Atom believe that the awards and stories are never about them.
“Hindi ikaw ang balita, ang balita yung ini-interview mo, yung buhay na kinukwento mo. I think it all boils down to that. Iyon ang take off point ng lahat ng ginawa ng News and Public Affairs through the years. Kaya rin siguro lumago at naitaguyod ‘yung mga programa. It shouldn’t start and end with us,” Jessica concluded.
Watch out for more Kapuso broadcast journalists who will share their thoughts on what “Tatak Public Affairs” means.