Widely regarded as the Philippines’ most awarded broadcast journalist, Jessica Soho remains a GMA talent as she renewed her contract with the network on May 31, committed to carrying on with her mission of sharing the Filipinos’ story around the globe.
In the span of almost four decades, Soho has blazed a trail in broadcast journalism. She helped give the Philippines its first-ever George Foster Peabody award in 1999 and soon earned another Peabody win in 2014.
She became the first Filipino to be nominated and win in the New York Festivals (NYF) TV & Film Awards. She holds the distinction of having won all the medal categories at the NYF. Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho took home the Gold World Medal earlier this year—the show’s third World Medal after winning Bronze Medals in 2019 and 2022. Her other former programs State of the Nation with Jessica Soho and Brigada have also brought home Silver and Bronze Medals in previous NYF Awards.
Yet through all the accolades, Soho, a self-confessed “promdi” or “a small town girl, who made good,” remains grounded and focused on her goal: to serve the public and do good.
GMA Network Chairman and CEO Atty. Felipe L. Gozon underscored the value of Jessica to the Network.
“Jessica Soho is not only the Philippines’ most awarded broadcast journalist, she is also one of GMA’s most-prized gems. Bilang isa sa mga itinuturing na mukha ng GMA, naging matibay na institusyon si Jessica ng GMA News, at isa siya sa mga nirerespetong haligi ng award-winning team ng GMA Public Affairs,” says Atty. Gozon. “Ang kanyang programang Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho ay patuloy na No. 1 sa viewers at humahakot ng karangalan sa loob at labas ng bansa.”
Soho’s heart is full of gratitude as she remains a loyal GMA talent.
“Thank you very much. Walang hanggang pasasalamat,” she says to the network that has been her home for almost four decades. “GMA has been my home for the past 38 years and counting. Kung walang GMA, walang Jessica Soho. Ganun lang iyun kasimple,” she says.
Present during Soho’s contract renewal were GMA President and COO Gilberto R. Duavit Jr., Executive Vice President and CFO Felipe S. Yalong; and First Vice President of Public Affairs Nessa Valdellon. Joining them were Public Affairs’ Senior Assistant Vice President Clyde Mercado; Asst. Vice President Angelie Atienza; Asst. Vice President Lee Joseph Castel; and Asst. Vice President for Systems and Budget Riza Laurente. Also present was Asst. Vice President for Corporate Communications Jojo Aquio.
Soho is one of the main driving forces behind GMA Network’s News and Public Affairs. From her ideas, some of the country’s most iconic public affairs shows were born. Among these were Brigada Siete, Emergency and I-Witness.
“I think God blessed me with an overactive mind, kaya dapat lang i-share even my craziest of thoughts,” she says. Soho was behind the idea of the hit adventure series Lolong.
It’s not a surprise that people around Soho find inspiration from her, especially her colleagues. “I promise to continue sharing my ideas and pitching storylines and program concepts as well as mentoring our production staff. My colleagues will bear me out on this—hindi ako madamot.”
From this generosity also comes Soho’s determination to pay it forward and share her talents and ideas to more people.
“I’m looking forward to keep on generating story concepts and sharing these with our producers and storytellers, in whatever formats or genres.”
Soho takes a step further to reach more audiences beyond television. She is set to lead “The GMA Public Affairs Talk” as it goes around the Philippines soon.
The first leg was called “The New York Festival Medalists & The National Artist GMA Public Affairs Talk on Storytelling and Producing,” where Soho shared to GMA staff and employees her extensive experience in reporting and broadcasting spanning almost four decades. GMA Public Affairs is planning a road show version of this, which will be open to students and young professionals.
Soho also wants to remind the young and future journalists of what journalism is all about.
“Two things I’ve always been consistent about every time I am asked for advice to young journalists: Keep on reading and that it’s never about us,” she says.
“The first one is self-explanatory, so let me expound on the second one. We are not the story. I get the need for selfies and the influencing and promoting on our social media accounts, but when chasing after stories and reporting or producing them, the ‘old school’ rules should never be compromised. Because those are values and they are what journalism is all about: accuracy, fairness, responsibility.”