City recognizes outstanding Bacoleña

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

THE City Council of Bacolod has unanimously approved the resolution authored by Councilor Sonya Verdeflor, in honor and recognition of the outstanding leadership and dedication of a Bacolena Henni Jay Espino for representing the rich culture and contributions of the Filipino community in the USA.

The 35-year-old Henni Jay Espinosa has been in the media industry for over ten years now. She is the multi-awarded senior reporter and substitute anchor of ABS-CBN International-The Filipino Channel’s (TFC) Balitang America, the only daily Filipino newscast in North America.  She was born and raised in Bacolod City and 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 Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Communication at the University of the Philippines-Diliman (Class of 1999).

In the year 2000, Henni Jay Espinosa 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. She took her internship at the CNN Headquarters in Atlanta and her stories were aired on CNN and CNN International.


She 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.

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 U.S. by the Filipina Women’s Network. She also received a Certificate of Recognition from the California Assembly for receiving the award.

In 2012, Henni’s first documentary for ABS-CBN International called “The Filipino Champions of SOMA” was aired worldwide through TFC. It was eventually featured by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the most prominent provider of television programs to U.S. public television stations, as part of its Asian-American Heritage Month. “The Filipino Champions of SOMA” features three ordinary Filipinos in the South of Market in San Francisco, who do extraordinary things for the community.

This year 2013, Henni bagged a New York Festivals World’s Best Television & Films Finalist Award for “The Filipino Champions of SOMA” in the “Community Portraits” category, competing against big networks like CNN. She also received a Telly Award for “The Filipino Champions of SOMA” under the “Documentary” category; 

On June 15, she took the coveted Emmy Award for “The Filipino Champions of SOMA” under the “Public/Current/Community Affairs-Program/Special” category. An Emmy Award recognizes excellence in the television industry and corresponds to the Academy Award (for film), the Tony Award (for theatre) and the Grammy Award (for music).

Espinosa’s “The Filipino Champions of SOMA” brought in the first NY Festivals Finalist Award and the first Emmy Award for ABS-CBN News, for which the entire City of Bacolod is truly proud of.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 16, 2013.

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