This was sent to our email (firstname.lastname@example.org) today by Serafin Gozon, researcher for GMA News TV’s flagship newscast State of the Nation with Jessica Soho. Today is the birthday of GMA Network’s Chairman and CEO Felipe L. Gozon, and while today is also the launch of his autobiography titled “Felipe L. Gozon: How GMA Network became No.1,” one of his people (and a possibly distant relative) is sending this special greeting.
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Why a ‘Gozon’ is among those who filed a complaint against GMA
It has always been an advantage bearing the name Gozon inside GMA Network. It has sparked numerous conversations with different employees–from the guards who checked my ID to some of the bosses I interacted with–asking how I am related with the Chairman and CEO of the company, Mr. Felipe L. Gozon. Sometimes I would just shrug my shoulders, smile and jokingly declare, “He’s my lolo,” or just admit the truth that I am not related in any way. Some would even joke and ask me about their bonuses and tell me to notify my lolo to increase theirs. I would just laugh, but in my mind, there is a heaving uncertainty if I would even receive mine.
It was April 2013 when I received a call asking me to work with one of the most prestigious networks in the country, for I was among the finalists for their excellence award.
On the first call, I turned down the offer since I had already been invited to work with the production company where I rendered my internship. It was a tough decision to make.
After having second thoughts, I chose GMA.
And then it happened.
It has been 18 months since, almost a year and a half of service as a researcher for the network, a period of hardship and a heck of a lot of experience that shaped me.
Being a researcher requires patience and a lot of heart to last. One must learn how to set appointments quickly for an interview, look for compelling case studies, and find and understand up-to-date information to help segment producers and reporters create comprehensive stories.
There are days when everything falls into their respective places: every interview is easily set and hard-to-find case studies are effortlessly showing up. But a researcher’s nightmare can happen every day when nothing seems to work out as planned and deadlines haunt you to sleep. Excruciating heartache is felt as interviewees do last-minute cancellations or the most important case study stays elusive. You could just imagine the stress it entails.
But none of that would matter when you see your report go on air. People at the comfort of their homes have no idea what we went through just to produce such stories. But that feeling of being able to tell someone’s story is addictive and rewarding.
I even challenged myself for that feeling. I produced my own segment as a researcher, segment producer and cameraman.
Fortunate as I am for having the knowledge to operate a P2 camera, I also served as a video journalist for some of the segments of Special Assignments Team and State of the Nation with Jessica Soho. This capability enabled me to join my segment producers on field, bringing me to places I never imagined going. It took me to the remote corners of Mt. Pinatubo where we had to ride a 4×4, to the coast of Batangas where it is home to an illegal fisherman and to various government offices. I also met people from different walks of life whom I get the chance to talk and take selfies with.
It’s what I liked most about this job. It expands your perspective and opens your mind as you experience events, places, and people first hand.
It’s a life-changing job, and it’s difficult to find.
It saddens me that the possibility of losing this job at the end of the year is imminent. (READ: [News] GMA-7 talents risk losing jobs over regularization plight) This job has become my life. It has become one of the reasons I wake up every day as I constantly find something, or I know I’ll be meeting new people and share their stories.
However, these reasons are eventually changing to a greater cause that I know may benefit not just the present employees but also the people who will be involved in the industry in the future.
It fueled my desire to fight for the rights of every person working behind the camera. Some had been part of the company for more than a decade but remained as contractual employees. Some had to work as long as 24 hours without differential or overtime pay. Some had gone through life-threatening situations without hazard pay.
This is for every tear shed just to complete a story. This is for every pain experienced during shoots. This is for every sacrifice made just to beat deadlines. This is for every soul persevering to achieve their dreams.
Today, I greet my lolo a happy birthday. It is my dream or an item in my bucket list to meet him. It still is.
I remember someone asking me what I would tell Mr. Gozon if I get the chance to meet him. Back then, I answered: “Itatanong ko lang kung magka-ano-ano kami.” But now, if I get the chance, I would tell him the plight of the talents working at the Kapuso Network. And still hold on to the hope that someday, someday he will realize his people’s worth.
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