Reporting with a heart: GMA Network’s comprehensive typhoon coverage delivers much-needed news, information

Jessica Soho

2020 continues to be a challenging year. Aside from the pandemic caused by COVID-19, the Philippines has been dealing with natural calamities one after another.

Amid the adversities however, GMA Network’s relentless dedication to Serbisyong Totoo shines through. The Kapuso Network’s pool of news anchors and reporters braved the challenges in logistics and weather conditions to provide the much-needed news and information to the public in every part of the country.

From Unang Hirit’s “Unang Balita” to “24 Oras” and "Saksi," GMA aired news reports and latest situationers from various parts of Luzon during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses on November 12 and 13. In between these newscasts were news bulletins that aired the whole day.

GMA News TV, on the other hand, aired the “GMA News TV Live Special Coverage” on November 12. This was in addition to the channel’s “Dobol B sa News TV” and simulcast of “24 Oras,” as well as the extended airing of “Balitanghali,” “Quick Response Team (QRT),” and “State of the Nation (SONA) with Jessica Soho.”

Over the weekend, GMA News TV continued its coverage with the extended airing of “Dobol B sa News TV”, a GMA News TV special typhoon coverage, and the simulcast of “24 Oras Weekend.”

On Sunday, Jessica Soho flew to Cagayan and reported on the aftermath of Typhoon Ulysses for GMA News’ special coverage and newscasts. Soho was able to secure an exclusive interview with President Rodrigo Duterte. She was also able to speak with Vice President Leni Robredo before the latter left the area. Her comprehensive report was also aired later in the evening in “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho.”

Atom Araullo

The special coverage also featured live reports from Marisol Abdurahman from Cagayan as well as GMA News reporters from other affected areas. Atom Araullo also reported on location for mobile journalism newscast “Stand for Truth.”

With the recent typhoons that devastated many parts of the country beginning from Quinta up to Ulysses, GMA and GMA News TV’s news coverage were able to reach a combined total of at least 65.16 million viewers based on Nielsen Media Phils.’ October 25 to November 18 data*. Including both Urban and Rural areas, the Kapuso Network’s net reach was 75.3 percent in Total Philippines.

In particular, the simulcasts of 24 Oras on GMA and GMA News TV reached over 62 million viewers nationwide, urban and rural areas combined, during the said period. Meanwhile, flagship AM radio station Super Radyo DZBB continued its series of special coverage via the ‘Bantay Bagyo’ and ‘Bantay Baha.’ For Typhoon Ulysses, DZBB’s Bantay Bagyo coverage began as early as November 11, Wednesday. Regular programs were preempted to give way to the continuous 24-hour special coverage.

GMA Regional TV (RTV) likewise continued its typhoon coverage, providing regular weather segments in all its local news programs “GMA RTV Balitang Amianan” (North Central Luzon), “GMA RTV Balitang Bisdak” (Central and Eastern Visayas), “GMA RTV One Western Visayas” (Western Visayas), and “GMA RTV One Mindanao” (North, Central, South Central, and Southern Mindanao), and its national newscast “GMA Regional TV Weekend News.”

Aside from updates coming from GMA RTV’s Bicol team, "Balitang Amianan" also covered the areas of Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Cagayan, Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Bataan.

Its anchor, CJ Torida, who has Cagayano roots, led the on-site reporting in Cagayan Valley, giving live situationers and updates from ground zero in Isabela and Cagayan. Torida’s reports were also aired on the Network’s national newscasts.

Super Radyo Dobol B

Meanwhile, 24-hour news alerts were available via GMA News Online and its social media platforms. Live and up-to-the-minute video reports, including live streams of 24 Oras, 24 Oras Weekend, 24 Oras News Alerts, News TV Live, Dobol B sa News TV, and various government briefings, were posted on GMA News and 24 Oras digital platforms. In addition, exclusive digital videos from GMA Newsfeed related to Typhoons Rolly and Ulysses also kept netizens in the loop. From November 1 to 16, GMA News and GMA Public Affairs’ digital platforms registered a total of 168 million views.

Netizens also submitted pictures and updates through YouScoop, GMA News' citizen journalism arm, and were also kept updated via the Network's disaster and emergency preparedness portal "IMReady."

At the same time, GMA Kapuso Foundation, in coordination with various government and private groups, swiftly mobilized its teams to provide relief goods to Kapuso in Luzon as soon as the weather permitted.

Whatever storm the country faces, GMA Network will be there for every Filipino, delivering news and Serbisyong Totoo on air and online.