Graded Recitation With Jessica Soho

I seldom watch television news programs after deciding to leave the news industry some years ago to focus on the entertainment scene.

No, I didn't have a traumatic experience while covering the police beat. I just wanted to take a break from the mostly "depressing" stories I was covering then. But since I try to keep myself informed, I make it a point to watch the news once in a while. Among the many news programs on the boobtube, one of my favorites is GMA News TV's "State of the Nation with Jessica Soho."

A lot of us, viewers, are already aware of the current newscasting trend in the Philippines. I call it the "todo balita" style (kahit simpleng away baranggay lang yan dapat todo ang pagbabalita. Yung parang laging may emergency). Jessica's newscast is not into this kind of reporting. Every time I would catch the program, I get plain news. No frills, no hype. No over-acting delivery. (Here comes my favorite word again: Kalma). Even in the case of bad news, the program never makes things worse by sensationalizing the story.

Of course, it is a plus factor that Jessica started out as a field reporter. She knows what she talks about. She also doesn't have to be "glamorous" (artista ang peg?!) on air to catch the viewers' attention. Her credibility and delivery will make people watch and listen.

I remember meeting her once in an event. I asked her: "Kinakabahan ka pa po ba pag nagbabalita kayo?" she replied: "Careful lang ako sa pagbigkas ng Tagalog, kasi Ilokano talaga ako." (Ay parang di naman po problema yun. Hehe.)

One thing I also like about her newscast is the live coverage of her pool of reporters. Well, all newscasts now have the technical capability to mount such live reports. What makes the program a joy to watch, as far as I'm concerned, is the way Jessica probes the reporters covering the field events. I find it truly amusing how, one, she asks the right questions; and, two, the way she asks the reporters as if there's a graded recitation. (Parang college professor lang ang peg!). In fairness to the reporters, I'd say they all deserve high marks every time they undergo their daily graded recitations! (Kahit minsan alam mong any moment matataranta na, pero nakakasagot pa rin!)

Senior Reporter Joseph Morong once shared: "Para ka talagang nasa school for recitation, you really have to be prepared."

"State of the Nation with Jessica Soho" is indeed a news program people should watch. I can only imagine what will happen if the reporters fail to deliver what is expected from them - lagot sila kay Teacher Jessica! (Teacher talaga?!)

• • •

The first time I saw YouTube sensation Zendee Rose Tenerife on GMA-7's "Unang Hirit," I said: "Makakapag-guest pa ito sa mga ibang shows, magaling eh." True enough, she did... sa "Ellen De Generes Show" lang naman! She even had the chance to hug Halle Berry who was also a guest on that episode and who told her: "Oh, you're Zendee Rose!" (Taray! First name basis talaga ha!)

I got to meet her recently and I could see the "raw" talent in her (di pa nasasaniban ng ka-showbiz-an!). Her voice is undeniably powerful (pina-sample ko talaga!) and if given more training and technique, she'll be a Diva (sana lang minus the nega diva vibes!). This early, she is set to release an album by Warner Music Philippines (agad-agad!).

She is enjoying the experience of seeing celebrities every time she has TV guestings. She makes it a point to have her picture taken with all of them in the studio (oo, parang kasal lang, punta siya per table for picture!). She now puts on heavy make-up, "artista clothes" and super high-heeled shoes but as she leaves the studio, she goes back to her old self and dons a plain top and pants, rubber shoes and her signature red back pack - just like her look at her YouTube video, singing a videoke piece in a mall.

I just hope she maintains such endearing attitude of being just herself and not be blinded by fame and fortune.

• • •

WTFu showbiz extra:

• A new original Pinoy reality TV show will be launched this month. It involves a jeepney.

- No, it's not jeep ni Erap (not even jeep ni Jinggoy o ni JV o ni Jude). Abangan!

• Nora Aunor Festival in December: Two entries on MMFF and cinema showing of the "restored" "Himala."

- Congratulations! Kikita lahat yan! O himala yun?

• Lovi Poe to transfer to ABS-CBN next year?

- "Yesterday's Bride" is a future kapamilya?

• Sharon-Gabby movie to push through next year?

- Ano po title? "Dear Heart 2?" "P.S. I Love You 2?" "My Only Love 2?" "Sa Hirap o Ginhawa 2?," "Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin 2?" Ang lakas maka-"Star Wars," "Twilight" at "Harry Potter," may sequel!

(Mr. FU hosts his own radio show on 103.5 WOWFM, 8 a.m., Mon.-Fri. and TV5. Twitter: @mrfu_mayganon)