Referring to herself as “a promdi, or a small town girl, who made good”, GMA News Pillar Jessica Soho underscored the value of “The Story” as she humbly accepted her Gawad Plaridel Award for Journalism conferred to her by the University of the Philippines last August 29. She is the first UP College of Mass Communication alumna to receive the said award.
Speaking emotionally in front of an audience comprised of students from various Universities, UP Officials and many members of Soho’s GMA News and Public Affairs family—Soho said she cannot overemphasize enough how ‘The Story’ is the reason why she is in media.
“The Story is what we’re really here for; the reason for our being, if you will, and what we should all continue working hard for—to get it right,” she shared.
“Some people may think there is a dichotomy or a difference between being a Filipino and being a journalist but I don’t. I am both: I am a Filipino journalist and I am not torn between public interest and the truth,” Soho said.
She added that through the years, she learned the value of upholding the truth no matter what. And that defending the integrity of The Story is now, more than ever, crucial.
“We need more of this in these perilous times when journalism and journalists are under attack by those who try to discredit us and undermine our credibility,” she said.
She pointed out that fake news is just a deliberate distortion of truth and reality and that what is scary is that fake news has been weaponized and has become so powerful.
But she is quick to say that there is hope. “The only antidote to fake news is The Truth. The Story.”
As such, she urged the millennials in the audience to fight fake news by being more discerning. “Don’t believe anything just because it’s been repeated or retweeted or liked a million times. It is never a popularity contest. The Truth is determined NOT by algorithms but by facts and facts alone.”
Soho currently anchors GMA News TV’s flagship newscast State of the Nation with Jessica Soho (SONA). She also hosts the top-rating magazine show Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho on GMA-7 and is the chief correspondent/ host of the investigative news magazine program Brigada on GMA News TV.
Soho—who is widely regarded as the most-trusted and most-awarded broadcast journalist in the country—becomes the 14th person to receive the U.P. Gawad Plaridel, joining the ranks of Eugenia Duran-Apostol (2004), Pachico Seares (2008), and Jose Lacaba (2013).
She also recently received the History Maker Award during the HISTORY CON 2018 for her significant contribution to the nation’s life and culture.
Aside from being the first Filipina recipient of the highly acclaimed George Foster Peabody Award, Soho is also the first and only Filipino broadcast journalist to have been nominated and to have won the bronze medal in the prestigious New York Festivals “World’s Best TV and Films” Competition in the Best News Anchor category. She is a 7-time recipient of the “Most Trusted News Presenter” award of Reader’s Digest Asia.