TV5 News and Information head Luchi Cruz-Valdes was recently conferred the World Achiever Award in Documentary at the 8th International Center for Communication Studies (ICCS) Media Convention held at Henry Lee Irwin Theater at the Ateneo de Manila University.
Sharing her experiences in her decades-long broadcasting career, Valdes told the convention, “You’re going to have to focus first on exactly what you want to do, what you want to accomplish in a story, and what you want to show.”
In a separate interview, Valdes recalled the challenges and rewards of being one of the country’s documentary-making pioneers, “Being a veteran reporter for 30 years, I can take pride in having been the first to do [documentaries on] many issues that are now being brought up by younger reporters. I’m so glad to see so many TV journalists who start with dreams of becoming investigative reporters. I’d like to think that what I contributed helped inspire many of these reporters to go rough way. More than ever, we need in-depth perspective — we can’t go by the shallow conclusion.”
Valdes has had the unique experience of having worked in newsrooms of the Philippines’ major TV networks after her 10-year stint as a co-founder, production manager and reporter at Probe Productions. One of the most admired names in broadcast journalism, Valdes has virtually documented and reported the country’s history throughout her career, allowing her to bring to bear clear insight and extensive knowledge in her work.
Aside from this most recent commendation, Valdes has received several distinctions, including KBP’s 2001 Ka Doroy Brodkaster of the Year, Titus Brandsma Awardee for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism, three medals at the New York Film and Television Festivals in 1990, 2000 and 2001 and the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award in Broadcast Journalism given by the University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA).
But for the NEWS5 chief, her greatest work lies in the current generation of broadcast journalists, whom she mentored and coached. In an earlier interview, Valdes shared words of inspiration to the young reporters under her tutelage: “They should look at journalism as a calling more than a profession. Part of being a journalist is doing what it takes to deliver a story that will inform. And the information that you need to know is something that will have a bearing on the decision-making capacity of your viewers.”
Valdes earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Broadcast Communication from the University of the Philippines Diliman in 1981 and 1989, respectively. She had previously hosted NEWS5’s public affairs programs Journo and Anggulo and co-hosted the debate program NEWS5 Debates – Hamon sa Pagbabago (A Challenge For Change) with Atty. Dong Puno, which was a finalist at 2011 New York Festival’s Community Service Programs category. Currently, she anchors the late-night news magazine program Reaksyon which airs nightly after Pilipinas News.