Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News
MANILA — ABS-CBN News chief Regina “Ging” Reyes has been recognized by a global network of news publishers for her “exceptional contribution to the newsroom, editorial integrity, and outstanding leadership.”
Reyes was named the 2022 Southeast Asia Laureate for Women in News Editorial Leadership by the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) on Thursday, September 29 in Zaragoza, Spain.
The Women in News Editorial Leadership Award recognizes “the exemplary contribution of a leader to her newsroom, and under her leadership, her media organization’s contribution to society.” One “exceptional” editorial leader each from Africa, the Arab Region, and Southeast Asia is named Laureate, annually.
The 74-year-old WAN-IFRA is an organization whose members represent news organizations across 120 countries and whose mission is to uphold the rights of journalists worldwide.
Along with Reyes, Zimbabwe Independent’s first woman editor Faith Zaba and Diana Moukalled, co-founder of independent media platform Daraj.com, were also named Laureates for 2022.
“Equality and inclusion in the media are essential for a healthy and representative society. We are happy to welcome our 2022 laureates, Zaba, Moukalled and Reyes, to the group of media leaders who play an exceptional role in making a difference in media while contributing to these fundamental ideals.,” WAN-IFRA CEO Vincent Peyregne said in his congratulatory message during the awarding of the 2022 Laureates.
Reyes was awarded on the second day of the 2022 World News Media Congress, an annual gathering of global news leaders, in Zaragoza.
King Felipe VI of Spain attended the Congress where he also led the awarding of the 2022 Golden Pen of Freedom, an annual press freedom award, to Polish media outfit Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation for its contribution in safeguarding independent journalism.
In her speech during the awarding ceremony, Reyes highlighted the need for journalists to continue doing the work amid attacks on press freedom across the world.
“A fellow journalist recently told me that ‘we are an endangered species.’ I couldn’t help but feel sad and old. Some of our colleagues have taken a step back from journalism and are pursuing different career paths out of frustration, disappointment and uncertainty,” Reyes said.
“We’ve been disrupted and we need to keep and regain the trust of our public. But we cannot give up on this profession. I feel a sense of urgency in the need to help our young journalists stay true to our mission. Even as we seek new ways of reaching audiences, the role of journalists in a democracy, the practice of truth-telling and the values that enable it, must be constant.”
Reyes, 59, is the longest-serving news chief of media company ABS-CBN starting in 2010. Previously, she served as the organization’s North America Bureau chief from 2002-2010, founding bureau operations from the ground up.
Reyes began her news career in ABS-CBN as a production assistant in 1986, as the country was regaining its democracy after years under martial law, and as the organization relaunched its operations after it was ordered shuttered by the government. She climbed the ranks, eventually becoming one the newsroom’s top editors and producers. She became the executive producer of the country’s longest running newscast, The World Tonight.
In her leadership posts, Reyes ushered the newsroom’s transition into digital and multi-platform reporting as well as integrated news operations. She has mentored many young news producers and working journalists.
In 2020, Reyes was the news head when ABS-CBN was once again ordered by the government to shut down its free-to-air broadcast operations after the company’s legislative franchise expired. During congressional hearings to renew the franchise, Reyes defended the importance of press freedom and the role of journalists in a free society. Lawmakers, however, ultimately revoked the application to renew the license.
After ABS-CBN was removed from free-to-air television, activists and media observers described the order as one of the “worst attacks on press freedom” under the Duterte administration.
The order resulted in ABS-CBN downsizing its operations but continued to report news on digital and cable platforms. Under her leadership, ABS-CBN remains one of the top news organizations in the country.
During the ceremony, Reyes dedicated the award to the ABS-CBN newsroom.
“This honor comes at a time when our news organization continues to be severely challenged on many fronts. I am deeply moved and humbled to receive this recognition on behalf of my entire news team, most especially the women in our newsroom and in the field. They are at the forefront of our battle to defend media freedom in our country and preserve the values of our profession. And I am here only because of their collective hard work and sacrifice,” Reyes said.