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Kathy San Gabriel: Sensational but Never a Sensationalist

Whenever veteran broadcast journalist Kathy San Gabriel appears on television, she looks sensational—not a hair out of place, make up on point, and always appropriately dressed for the occasion. Throughout the course of her more than 20 years in the industry, she has always been vigilant about delivering fair and accurate news, never veering toward the sensationalistic side of reporting.


Kathy covering former President Benigno Aquino III’s state of the nation address in 2015

This comes as no surprise from someone who grew up watching Cheche Lazaro on The Probe Team, and Loren Legarda on Pep Talk. Kathy reveals that she’s always dreamed of being a journalist, which was why she took up Broadcast Communication at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. 

After graduating, she took her first step in fulfilling her dream. “I started my career as a journalist in Sarimanok News Network, which we now know as ANC. My first job was to do the top-of-the-hour newsbreaks from 12 midnight to 5 a.m. I was eventually transferred to the day shift and did some reportorial work as well. I was then asked to do primetime newsbreaks on Channel 2, became part of their pool of reporters, and was given a 30-minute newscast on DZMM.”

After taking a break from 2004 to 2005 because of her pregnancy, Kathy went back doing the news for state-run network, PTV. After 11 years, she transferred to Panahon TV as a senior reporter. In 2019, she received the Dangal ng Baliwag, an award given to ten outstanding individuals who excelled in their respective fields, and hailed from Baliwag, Bulacan.

To get to know more about Kathy’s journey, Panahon TV asked her a few questions.


Kathy’s photo of Pope Francis during his state visit to the Philippines in 2015


What are your most memorable coverages?

Impeachment trials of former President Joseph Estrada and former Chief Justice Renato Corona, Pope Francis’s state and apostolic visit to our country, several SONAs, and Typhoon Yolanda. For me, the highlights of my career include working with broadcasting pillars like Frankie Evangelista and Angelo Castro, and veteran journalists like Angelo Palmones and Freddie Abando. I learned a lot from them.

Kathy interviewing apl.de.ap in Tacloban as part of Typhoon Yolanda relief efforts in 2013


What are the challenges of being a broadcast journalist?

I think the main challenge that all journalists are facing now is the attack on press freedom. That is why journalists and other members of the media need to hold the line. Another challenge is disinformation. “Fake news” is something that we have to fight on a daily basis. We journalists need to uphold the principles of truthfulness, accuracy, and impartiality now more than ever. 

What have you learned from being a senior reporter at Panahon TV?

I’ve learned a lot about feature reporting and segment production, and also about the environment. This niche is entirely new to me since I spent two decades doing hard news and current events. 


Kathy reporting about the effects of Taal’s eruption earlier this year


You have an upcoming Panahon TV webinar, Journalism 101, designed to teach the basics of journalism. How are you feeling about it?

This is something new for me, so I’m excited to be a part of it. I hope that some, if not most, of our participants will continue along the path to being a journalist. I hope that they’ll turn out to be some of the good ones. 

What do you hope participants will learn about journalism?

I always say this when I give talks— if you’re in journalism for the glamour, then you’re in it for the wrong reasons. Being a journalist is hard work. It’s being accountable to your audience. 

How important is journalism now during the pandemic?

Journalism is more important than ever during a pandemic. We are inundated on social media with unverified information on COVID-19. It is the duty of journalists to provide the public with accurate information, which can mean life and death.


To register for Panahon TV’s webinar, Journalism 101 with Kathy San Gabriel, click on this link: https://bit.ly/2X6oV9p