This week, we had the pleasure to speak with Rhony Laigo, editor for Balita Media
What’s your top story for today?
Since Weekend Balita and US Asian Post are weekly newspapers and are dedicated to the Filipino-American community, our stories of course are mostly about the community. As far as our top story that happened in the Philippines: The Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court – Renato Corona Jr. – was impeached by the House of Representatives and subsequently removed from his post after weeks of impeachment trial in the Senate.
Tell us about your dream assignment.
I wouldn’t call it a dream assignment, but I am what I call an offspring of the Marcos dictatorship, which led me to this career as a journalist. After Marco’s 20-year rule, during the transition government that began in 1986 when Cory Aquino took over, I had to cover seven (SEVEN!) coup attempts during her six-year reign, one of which was bloody and even saw the involvement of American forces. I also had the opportunity to cover the most explosive volcanic eruption of the century when Mt. Pinatubo woke up in 1991 from a 600-year slumber. I actually became a part of that story when my driver and I got lost while taking pictures of a bridge that was snapped by rampaging mudflows.
Describe the wackiest story you’ve written?
I have always been a “serious” news writer. But there was a time when I also covered sports and I covered a game where one team played the whole game without shooting the ball. They just passed to each other and dribbled without going to the basket. They were protesting a broken game clock that they had previously paid to have fixed.
What is your PR pet peeve?
PR folks who send me “press releases” or “opportunities for an interview” but are actually promoting a company or sending us what we call advertorials instead of advertising with us. They use this technique instead of giving us news stories perhaps?
Top trend in the industry you’re currently covering.
Economic news (housing, mortgages, loans and tax reforms) are very important right now, as is tourism, local politics and anything related or that will affect the Filipino-American community – the largest Asian ethnic group in the U.S. after the Chinese.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I currently serve as editor of Weekend Balita and US Asian Post, the former (Weekend Balita), the top Filipino-American newspaper in Southern California. I also appear on a local TV program called “Kababayan LA” on KSCI’s Channel 18, providing local and other news twice a week. An immigrant from the Philippines, I previously worked at a daily newspaper as a photojournalist. My stint in Saipan earned me two distinguished awards from the Society of Professional Journalists: Excellence in Overall Reporting and Best in Photography. I am also fond of playing the guitar when invited to perform.