MVP makes editors feel like MVPs

PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez - The Philippine Star
MVP makes editors feel like MVPs
MVP with some of the top executives of the MVP group, including Maynilad president Ramon Fernandez, Light Rail Manila Corp. president Juan Alfonso, MVP group media bureau head Mike Toledo, Metro Pacific Investment Corp.’s Melody Del Rosario, Meralco’s Joe Zaldarriaga, LRMC’s Jackie Gorospe, Maya’s Nick Wilwayco, PLDT’s Sarah Reodica, Maynilad COO Randy Estrellado and Annette de Ocampo
STAR/ File

No one left the recent “Editors Appreciation Party” given by the MVP group without a cash prize, and memories of being feted by no less than Manny V. Pangilinan or “MVP” himself.

Held at the Westin Hotel in Ortigas, the ‘60s-themed party had games, dances, songs from the era and generous raffle prizes.

But the greatest gift of all, the jackpot, was a tribute to us editors by MVP himself, who said the word “editor” is perhaps “the most inaccurate of all of them.”

“Publishers publish,  reporters report, and journalists work on journals. One would think that all editors do is to edit. But your jobs — as you know — are far more important,  and much more intensive than marking up your writer’s drafts. You have perhaps the most crucial job of all, which is choosing what to focus on and deciding what the news is.”

Indeed. In the years that I spent as a desk editor at the Philippine STAR desk, laying out the front page once a week, I witnessed how an editor winnows through the news, separating the big news from the bigger news. And editors and deskmen indeed make sure drafts are grammatical, fit to print and gravitational. Otherwise, the reader shifts his attention to something else. Nowadays, the competition for attention is even more intense.

“We all know the world has gone hyper digital,” MVP continued. Google has the answers to all questions, even questions that haven’t been asked. Whereas once editors exercised some curatorial influence over what people read and watch, now this same job is done via algorithms and artificial intelligence.”

MVP said this doesn’t mean the editors’ jobs have become “obsolete.”

From left) Malaya’s Jimmy Calapati, Inquirer’s Corrie Narisma, STAR’s Marichu Villanueva, MVP Group’s Melody del Rosario and the author.

“Quite the contrary, in fact, you are all more valuable than ever before.

“In cyberspace, where answers are available everywhere, you determine which questions are worth asking. In a world where the equivalent duration of YouTube videos uploaded every single day is around the equivalent of 30 years, you identify what’s worth watching.

“The conventional fear of the media has always been an Orwellian dystopia, where information is censored or controlled by central powers.  But what confronts us today is more in the mold of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, where people are flooded with so much information, that it is impossible to distinguish what’s important from what’s not.”

PeopleAsia’s Jose Paolo dela Cruz, the author, Metro Pacific Investments Corp. CFO Chaye Cabal- Revilla, STAR’s Büm Tenorio Jr. and MVP Group’s Melody del Rosario.

“This is why we choose to celebrate you tonight,” MVP said, “because the greatest weapons against such a threat are thoughtful and hardworking editors such as yourselves.”

Truly editors are the first and last line of defense — sifting through the news first and then deciding on their prominence before they go to print or to the airwaves.

Then, MVP quipped, “Of course, we also hope that you will continue to think that our companies are worth reporting about.”

But he was very serious about his marching orders.

“And will never request coverage that is purely positive. In fact, our institutions, our companies, are part and parcel of public life, because we are publicly listed for our utilities and very much involved with the fabric of national life. But I do hope that any critical piece about our companies will be done with a touch of humor or a quantum of kindness from time to time.”

Perhaps, government institutions should take a lesson from MVP’s parting shot:

“Because no public institution like ourselves could be free from the scrutiny of those who give us their support or those who do not.”

But at the end of the day, congeniality and civility should be part of the relationship, even if adversarial.

“So I do hope that our engagement with each other will always leave space for our human sensibilities, especially gatherings like tonight,” MVP concluded before he exhorted the editors to enjoy the festive evening, and “the charm of our host Mike Toledo.”

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