Journalist of the month: Ana Puod

by Dana Liebelson
Mar 4, 2011 in Digital Journalism
Ana Puod

Each month, IJNet features an international journalist who exemplifies the profession and has used the site to further his or her career. If you would like to be featured next month, e-mail a short bio and a paragraph about how you have used IJNet’s resources to Dana Liebelson at dliebelson@icfj.org by March 15.

This month's journalist, Ana Puod, works for one of the Philippines’ top broadcasting networks, ABC Broadcasting Corporation (TV5). She is involved in both the news and current affairs departments. Puod also established the websites, Philippine Center for New Media Development and Pinoy Digital Journalist. These sites provide an online platform where journalists and the public can exchange information about new media and digital journalism.

Where are you from? I was born in Manila, Philippines and grew up there.

How have you used IJNet? I recommend IJNet to my colleagues. The resources on IJNet are both useful and expansive. Through IJNet, I became a Peer Reviewer of the Global Integrity Report 2010 and a Contributing Writer and Reporter of Inter Press News Agency (IPS-Asia Pacific.) I also met (via email correspondence) digital consultant Amy Webb, who influenced me to establish the Philippine Center for New Media Development and Pinoy Digital Journalist. These two online sites provide a platform where journalists and the public are given the ability to share, gather, and disseminate information.

What news organization(s) do you currently work with? Where have you worked in the past? I am currently employed with one of the Philippines’ top broadcasting networks, ABC Broadcasting Corporation (TV5). I am involved in both the News and Current Affairs Departments. I manage three shows: “Under Special Investigation” (USI), an investigative documentary program, as its Executive Producer; “Balitaang Tapat”, a primetime news program, as an Associate Producer; and “Tekno Trip”, a show on technology and travel, as the Head Writer. Prior to being with TV5, I worked for ten years with another broadcasting network in the Philippines, ABS CBN Broadcasting Corporation, as a Segment Producer and On-cam Correspondent in its top Current Affairs program, “The Correspondents”. I also produced other shows in the network’s Current Affairs Department, including “Pipol”, “Special Assignment”, “Kumikitang Kabuhayan”, and the news magazine program “The Inside Story”.

Along with my current job at TV5, I run the Philippine Center for New Media Development, pinoydigitaljournalist.comm and am also the Content Manager for arribafilipino.wordpress.com. Did you work in a different field before journalism? If so, how did it impact your current career? I have aspired to be a journalist since college. After graduation, I immediately looked for work in the broadcast industry. I applied to ABS CBN, and was accepted as a researcher for the investigative show, “The Inside Story”.

When did you know you wanted to be a journalist? How did you get started? Growing up poor and struggling, I knew I had a lot of stories to tell about my life and about the people in my community. This desire to share information and affect other peoples’ lives has been my driving force in pursuing a career in journalism and mass media. My training began in high school where I participated in school newspapers. Later, in college, I participated in other organizations such as debating club, and mass communication student society groups.

How do you get your ideas for stories? Do you have a set routine for writing and reporting? I believe that any situation is an opportunity to create a story. Traveling from house to work, going to the mall to shop, or even just meeting up with friends poses certain chances to reflect on what life is and needs to be. It is crucial to have unimpeded access to fresh news, ideas or information from all types of sources.

I come to work very early in the morning everyday. As Associate Producer for the editorial department, I get access to all the news gathering departments of the station. After the morning’s story conference, I deploy reporters to work on stories that make up the mid-day newscast. Besides being in the nucleus of the newsroom on a daily basis, I also access news online, use mobile subscriptions and have a network of contacts both in the public and private capacities.

What is your proudest work/story so far? Why? My story on the investigation of the alleged mansions of former Philippine President Joseph Estrada was a key point in my career. The report paved the way for an impeachment complaint filed against the former republic president that eventually resulted in the famed People Power Revolution II. The ensuing events forced Estrada to leave his post as Philippine president.

What advice would you give aspiring journalists? Are there any training programs or schools that were particularly useful to you? I’ve constantly pursued personal and professional growth, taking courses on new media, Digital Journalism and Digital Filmmaking at the New York Film Academy (NYFA). Faculty members who conducted the training included practicing journalists from NBC News in New York. While taking those courses, I worked and networked with other journalists and filmmakers that have been actively involved in the development and advocacy of alternative ways to inform and to get in touch with the public and sources.

Earlier in my career, I was sent for training with other international journalists to a workshop sponsored by the Asian Broadcasting Union, the International Labor Organization, and Bloomberg TV in Busan, Korea. While there, I learned a lot about business reporting and the labor sector.

How do you think journalists can best adapt to the changing media field? I believe that the power of new media lies in it being utilized by a broad spectrum of journalists and members of the general public. In the Philippines, about eighty percent (80%) of consumers use television to access news and infotainment. In recent years however, the Filipinos have shown that the increasing changes in media landscape can be a catalyst to more news and analysis. The technology has been so accessible it has blurred the line between a journalist and a simple user of the latest gadget, or fast broadband connection.

I am convinced that the platforms are changing faster than the news is created, and that a journalist, in order to self-preserve under these circumstances, must study and learn the new technology.