Villa, who headed Reuters’ television group in the Philippines, rejoined ABS-CBN in 2005 as Head of Newsgathering. She helped implement a strict Standards & Ethics Manual as basis for a comprehensive reorganzation and set the stage for today’s multi-platform news environment.
Villa’s new appointment shows ABS-CBN’s commitment to reach out to its expanding audience worldwide and deliver the news in any platform they prefer, said ABS-CBN senior vice president for news and current affairs Maria Ressa.
“Putting one of our key leaders on new media will trigger a culture change from the ground up. This is a sign of how important we believe new media has -and will- become. It holds the future of journalism,” Ressa said.
Named to another strategic position is Chi Almario-Gonzalez, a veteran print and TV journalist, who is now head of newsgathering for ABS-CBN. Gonzalez was an award-winning investigative reporter for The Manila Times and Today before she joined ABS-CBN in 1997. At ABS-CBN, she has worked as a reporter, producer, and production unit manager, in programs like “TV Patrol,” “The World Tonight,” “Pipol,” and “Kalye.”
Ressa said the twin appointments are part of ABS-CBN’s ongoing reorganization and rethinking as it deals with fast-paced changes in the media. “These indicate that we are preparing for the future and we are sensitive to what the news consumers are looking for,” she added.
In 2007, long before other networks did, ABS-CBN tapped the power of citizen journalists in reporting. It was the first time globally that mobile phone technology and new media were used to push for clean elections.
“That was only a dress rehearsal for this year’s pivotal elections,” said Ressa.
ABS-CBN launched BOTO MO, iPATROL MO: AKO ANG SIMULA one year before the May 10 elections. Now the movement has an army of more than 60,000 “Patrollers” who have been monitoring preparations for the polls and will be ready to be deployed nationwide on election day.
“This is our edge—the combined power of professional and citizen journalism,” Ressa said.