GMA News and Public Affairs is the news organization of Philippine broadcast station GMA Network (DZBB-TV). It is headquartered at the 6th Floor of GMA Network Center in Quezon City, Philippines. Marissa La Torre Flores currently heads it as its senior vice president for news and public affairs group. It produces news and infotainment programs for all GMA Network owned and affiliate television and radio stations in the Philippines and rebroadcast internationally through GMA Pinoy TV and GMA Life TV. Its current slogan is "Serbisyong Totoo" (True Service).
On December 9, 2003 the Philippine House of Representatives’ 12th Congress commended the news organization through Resolution 787 authored by Rep. Rodolfo Plaza for its (GMA News and Public Affairs) efforts in uplifting the standards of the Philippine broadcast industry by receiving the first George Foster Peabody Award gold medal for television news in 1999 and making the Philippines the first and only Asian country to received such recognition.
GMA News and Public Affairs online version of Media Merge Corp. (a subsidiary of GMA New Media Inc.) headed also by Marissa La Torre Flores as executive vice president for editorial handles the web site while Jose Torres Jr. serves as officer-in-charge. GMANews.TV is an online source for news and videos of its current programs. It also offers direct access to its affiliated news organizations like BusinessWorld and Summit Media.
In 1998, GMA teamed up with the Philippine Daily Inquirer to air the election special, Decision '98, and later, Eleksyon 2001 and Eleksyon 2004. Its flagship newscast, Saksi, won the 1999 Asian Television Awards and 2002 New York Festival awards for Best Newscast. In 2006, GMA News was praised by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for its news coverage, and said that it is the reason for the network's high ratings. In the 2006 SWS Media Trust survey, GMA News garnered 60% of public trust, second only to rival ABS-CBN with 68%. But a similar Pulse Asia survey shows that GMA News is the more credible in the country and to key demographics.
GMA News became a pioneer in local television news in many ways. GMA was one of the pioneers of women in broadcast journalism. Tina Monzon-Palma was one of the first women co-anchors when she first presented News at Seven, one of the most-watched news programs in the 1970s. Helen Vela was the first woman to anchor news in Tagalog, and Mel Tiangco was the first late-night solo anchor. GMA was the first to broadcast an hourly news program, which is known today as the GMA Flash Report, and the first station to use a ticker for breaking news and traffic information. GMA News was also the first to use Electronic News Gathering Vans in the country. In 2004, it regularly began to use Satellite News Gathering facilities to reach more remote areas. It also covered important events, such as the 1995 World Youth Day, 2003 World Meeting of Families, and 2000 Today.
GMA news organization’s Public Affairs division was established way back in 1987 when Tina Monzon-Palma, then head of GMA News recognized that a 30 minute newscast is not adequate and sufficient to inform the general Filipino public on what is happening to the recently established Aquino government after the historic People Power Revolution in February 1986. It started with five news personnel including Marissa La Torre Flores (now handles GMA News and Public Affairs as senior vice president) and held office inside the cameramen’s locker room before moving into the state-of-the-art GMA Network Center eight years ago with no experience, equipment, camera and an improvised set broadcasting at the old GMA building in Edsa with only a passion to work attitude. Now with more than 500 news personnel—here and abroad—and producing 16 of the most awarded programs on Philippine television today.
Public affairs program Weekend With Velez, were the first network-produced program on GMA, afterward renamed to Velez This Week and were hosted by then Jose Mari Velez. Later that year it was joined with other public affairs shows such as Firing Line with Teddy Benigno (later on hosted by Oscar Orbos); View Point with Dong Puno; Straight from the Shoulder hosted by Louie Beltran and award-wining The Probe Team by Che-Che Lazaro.
From a makeshift and improvised set, the once GMA News garnered several honors and recognitions from local and international award-giving bodies, including two gold medals in the New York Festivals and the first George Foster Peabody Award in 1999, one of the most distinguished merit in the broadcast industry. The Peabody Award recognized GMA Network’s inclusive and on-going endeavor to depict the intricacy of social programs in a region ubiquitous with political and social instability. The first Peabody was given to a news program episode entitled Kidney for Sale. An investigative report on how unreasonably for some Filipinos to turn into kidneys selling for $2,500 in a depressed area along the coast of Manila Bay. The award also recognizes Marissa Flores as the executive producer and a team of producers, writers, directors and reporters, as well as Jessica Soho, Michelle Seva-Recto, Jay Taruc, Leogarda Sanchez and Rowel Cornejo, Melchor Quintos and Gregg Gonzales. It also paves the way for GMA to level to the ranks of HBO, ABC, MTV Networks, ESPN, BBC, C-SPAN, PBS, CBS, NBC and VH1.
Coinciding with its 20th anniversary in broadcasting excellence, GMA News and Public Affairs aired a documentary entitled 20: Dalawampung Taon ng GMA Public Affairs (20: Twenty Years of GMA Public Affairs) on October 28, 2007.