“Be ready to work hard. If you invest in hard work, people will respect you,” related the multi-awarded broadcast journalist from a previous interview. After more than 25 years of television and radio experience, Karen continues to find fulfillment in her present work. She thinks that television plays a major role in its viewers. “The TV can be that way; you can empower the viewers. I’d want the people to be encouraged just by, let's say, my life or just watching the shows that I’ve done. I want to give them something. I want to influence people in a positive way.”
Discovering her potentials
A few encouraging words from a teacher went a long way for Karen. As a young student at the University of the Philippines (UP), she contemplated a career in fashion design. Then one of her teachers noticed her good enunciation and said she had potential as a newscaster.
“That was the first time anybody ever said that I was good at that,” she said, looking back. That’s when she decided to seriously pursue broadcast journalism. She graduated in 1993 from UP’s College of Mass Communications, and after a series of auditions, got her first job on the Business Today, a former morning show on GMA-7 with then Mon Isberto and Rico Hizon as anchorpersons. Before she knew it she was also doing the hourly news breaks.
In 1994, she joined Brigada Siete with the late broadcast journalist Louie Beltran, where she honed up on investigative reporting. A bigger break came in October 1995 when she was tapped as the news anchor for Saksi, GMA’s primetime Tagalog newscast. At this time, too, Karen became a contributing reporter of GMA News to CNN World Report. In 1996, she was allowed to train for a month-and-a-half at CNN headquarters in Atlanta where she met CNN founder Ted Turner. In 1997, Karen was a finalist for the Best Environmental Report for CNN World Report.
Various awards and recognition
Karen is not one to rest on her laurels. She won the much-coveted TOYM (The Outstanding Young Men) Awards for Broadcasting in 2008 and TOWNS (The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service) Award for Broadcasting in 2013.
In 2010, Karen was chosen as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, an honor given to young exceptional professionals below 40 years of age. This has allowed Karen to take exclusive leadership courses at the Harvard Kennedy School, Yale, and Lee Kwan Yew School of Government. She has moderated televised sessions for the World Economic Forum East Asia Summits in Manila and Jakarta.
She has won numerous local awards including Rotary Club’s Journalist of the Year in 2004 and several accolades from UST, UP, and De La Salle Award giving bodies. She is a Hall of Fame Awardee with the Anak TV Awards, consistently considered as a top role model for the youth.
As a volunteer, she has involved herself with Habitat for Humanity and World Vision in the last 10 years as an advocate for women and children.
Karen said her work is physically exhausting and fulfilling. But she’s not complaining. “There’s a big difference if you just read the news or you’re just a TV personality. But I also go out in the field, come back to make my reports then host the show. It’s a lot of work,” she quipped.
At present, she can be seen interviewing newsmakers on Headstart, a news talk show that airs 8-9 am on the ABS-CBN News Channel or ANC; anchors a political radio talk show in Tagalog on DZMM 630 every 4:30 in the afternoon and is a news anchor for TV Patrol, the Kapamilya primetime newscast.
She’s also busy creating content for her YouTube Channel, Karen Davila Inspiring Life Stories. It has 895k subscribers to date.
What’s the meaning of life?
“If you’ve read the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon asks, ‘What’s the meaning of life?’ I ask that, too. I say, ‘this is it.’ Fine, you’re on TV and people know you. The real point in life is to truly find who you are in God’s eyes, everything else is secondary,” shared Karen, who is a Born Again Christian. “But the most important is to have a personal relationship with God. Why? Because you don’t know what God has in store for you.”
Doing good stories
More than anything else, she wants to do good stories. “I want to be able to do a program that rates and is less sensational. I believe that a Tagalog show can reach more people. I have this thing about change-your-life-TV. It’s like viewers have to get something from you. They shouldn’t be just entertained by your presence. Time has to come that you have to give them something,” rationalized Karen. Karen shared her advice with aspiring broadcasters. “First, you should do your homework in all honesty,” said Karen. “You have to prepare well before the show. It’s important that you know the issues for the day; a news person should be ready to adlib whenever hassles occur during the live telecast. The glamour part is the fact that you come out on TV and people recognize you.” (RUBY ASOY-LEBAJO)
Photos courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/KarenDavilaOfficial