An Emmy Award for Henni Espinosa

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

AS A Negrense woman and a journalist, I am so totally proud that a daughter of Negros, Henni Espinosa, has achieved many firsts, placing Philippine television in history.

Just this June, she was lauded with an Emmy Award as the host, executive producer and writer for The Filipino Champions of SOMA under the "Public/Current/Community Affairs-Program/Special" category.

An Emmy Award is an important recognition in the television industry. And this is the first Emmy award for ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs.


Who is Henni then?

Henni Espinosa is a multi-awarded senior reporter and one of the anchors of ABS-CBN International-The Filipino Channel's (TFC) Balitang America, the only daily Filipino newscast in North America. 

Her work, “The Filipino Champions of SOMA” is the first full-length news documentary produced by a Filipino journalist for a Filipino-owned company. It features three Filipinos in the South of the Market in San Francisco, who do extraordinary things for the community. It was aired worldwide through TFC last year. It was eventually featured on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the most prominent provider of high quality television programs to U.S. public television stations, as part of its Asian-American Heritage Month. 

In creating “The Filipino Champions of SOMA,” Henni led a production team that included editorial adviser Vivian Zalvidea Araullo, who is TFC’s former head of news production, multi-awarded videographer Jeremiah Ysip, videographer Joseph Perry, video editor Jon Santos and graphic artists Mike Carrion and Bryan Reynoso. All received Emmy awards as well for their collaborative effort.

But before winning the Emmy, Henni’s work “The Filipino Champions of SOMA” was recognized several times earlier this year for excellence.

Henni also bagged a Telly Award in the documentary category. The 34th Annual Telly Awards received over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and 5 continents. The Telly Awards honors the best film and video productions, groundbreaking online video content, and outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs. 

She also was named a finalist in the New York Festivals World's Best Television & Films Finalist Award in the "Community Portraits" category, competing against big networks like CNN.

The competition, now on its 55th year, honors programming in all lengths and forms from over 50 countries. 

Henni has extensively covered the plight of the Filipino World War II veterans and their widows, the abuse of Filipino caregivers and hotel workers, the struggle of low-income Filipino families and seniors, the fear of undocumented Filipinos from being deported and the Fil-Am activists' campaign to end human rights abuses in the Philippines. 

Many of Henni's stories also shed light on issues affecting mainstream America today such as unemployment, foreclosures and homelessness. 

For giving a voice to the Filipino community through her stories, she was awarded the Jose Rizal Community Hero Award by the Northside Community Center in 2004. She was also given a Certificate of Recognition by the California Senate for receiving the award.

In 2008, she received another Certificate of Recognition from the California Senate for her valuable work as Vice-President for External Affairs of the Philippine American Press Club. 

In 2011, she was given the Media Bayani Award by BAYAN-USA for her "bravery, integrity and excellence in Journalism."

That same year, she was also chosen as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the US by the Filipina Women's Network. She also received a Certificate of Recognition from the California Assembly for receiving the award. 

For the past 10 years, Henni, has made the San Francisco Bay Area home but she still considers Bacolod City, her true home. 

Heni was born and raised in Bacolod City. She is the eldest child of Henry and Ninfa Espinosa. She finished her elementary (Class of 1990) and high school (Class of 1994) education at St. Scholastica's Academy-Bacolod, and her Bachelors of Arts in Broadcast Communication at the University of the Philippines-Diliman (Class of 1999).

In 2000, Henni received a full scholarship from the Rotary Club of Georgia, through its Georgia Rotary Student Program, to take her Masters in Communication at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. Out of 91 scholars all over the world, she was the sole representative from the Philippines. Out of all the international students that year, Henni was voted "William Watt Student of the Year" by the Georgia Rotarians.

During her time in graduate school, she took her internship at the CNN Headquarters in Atlanta and her stories were aired on CNN and CNN International.

With all these laurels achieved by Henni, I am so inspired that a Negrense, a journalist and a lady has reaped so many awards. I am proud that her subjects touch on the lives and the plight of the Filipino community in different stages of history. This is proof that wherever you are, roots play an integral part of our being and every chance to make a difference for them should be applauded.
We congratulate you, Henni! You do us proud!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 29, 2013.


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