Arlene Burgos - Journalism in Asia Today


What is your day-to-day task in your publication/organisation?

My designation since July 2017 has been Head, Audience Development of ABS-CBN News Digital. Concurrently, I am editor of Patrol.PH, the Filipino website of ABS-CBN News. Previously, I spearheaded social media and mobile, and before that the citizen journalism arm of this organisation. Broadly, the tasks of my Audience Development team cover community management and audience engagement, and delivering news in various digital, mobile, or social platforms. I also edit Filipino stories at Patrol.PH.

What is the greatest challenge in journalism today in this region?

The empowerment of citizens in the information age has paved the way for a new kind of relationship between those of us who do journalism professionally, and the audiences we want to serve. The challenge is to stay relevant under these circumstances. It is possible that citizens do not realise or have forgotten why they, in the first place, rely on journalists to get them independently verified information, and what journalism's place has been in a democracy.

How important is journalism in Asia?

I cannot imagine a functioning democracy in any country or region without professional journalists.

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learnt from another journalist in Asia?

Dr Cherian George said the onus is on journalists to point out what ails a society. Not speaking up when mistakes have to be pointed out has repercussions for citizens. I believe that firmly.

What do you think is the most important issue/story in your country/region?

Human rights and respect for humanity.

What are you most optimistic about as a journalist in Asia?

There are journalists like Alan John whose generosity of spirit is amazing. There are many others who would demonstrate and show compassion if only to help out a colleague. Because we know journalism is like being in a battle, and your fellow journalist is a comrade in arms. It gives me hope that we can care for each other like this. 

What does it mean to be a journalist in Asia, as compared to the rest of the world?

Southeast Asia in particular is a very vibrant region culturally and politically, not to mention an economic powerhouse. We factor this in the way we behave as journalists, and shape how we present our region to the world or do our storytelling. I guess that means Asian journalists must provide a strong, enlightening voice in the global conversation.


Arlene Burgos (Philippines) is currently the Head of Audience Development at ABS-CBN News Digital. She is also the editor of Patrol.PH, the Filipino website of ABS-CBN News. Previously, she spearheaded social media and mobile, and before that the citizen journalism arm of the same organisation. 

Journalism in Asia is a collection of portraits and interviews from influential journalists in Asia presented every Monday morning. 

Zakaria Zainal