In only the second year that the Rotary has recognized innovations in journalism, GMA News Online was chosen by the awards' board of judges for the data-driven ways it covered the 2010 automated elections, said Ana Kun Toledo, executive secretary of the RCM Secretariat, in a phone interview with GMA News Online.
"The board of judges focused on the relevant information [GMA News Online] posted on its website, and concluded that the stories about the elections gave a lot of input for the electorate," Toledo said.
In addition to the daily coverage of the campaigns and enterprise stories about the leading candidates, GMA News Online featured online tools used by media for the first time in Philippine election coverage.
Its election dashboard, a special microsite that aggregated and displayed election-related data, included interactive maps that visualized the campaign trails of each presidential candidate. Starting on election day May 10, 2010, apps developed by GMA's New Media, Inc. processed Comelec's raw election data into results that could be displayed in real-time on a user-friendly platform in the form of a clickable Philippine map.
GMA News Online was the only news source in the nation that presented election results of every candidate down to the municipal level, including all party-list groups.
The site's groundbreaking election coverage drew a record number of page views for the site on a single day, peaking at 12 million on May 11, 2010.
Toledo said GMA News Online's efforts caught the attention of this year's board of judges, which include former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno (chairman), former UP College of Mass Communication Dean Luis Teodoro, RCM Vice President Benjamin Diokno, and former ambassador to the United Kingdom Cesar Bautista, who is a Rotarian himself.
This is only the second year the 91-year-old organization is giving the special citation, Toledo said, which seeks to recognize fresh forms of reportage.
In 2010, the non-profit news agency Vera Files was the first recipient of the award.
"This is very gratifying for all of us who worked ourselves to the bone during the elections. We're big believers in data journalism and data visualization. This award tells us that we may be on the right path," said GMA News Online's editor-in-chief Howie Severino .
Already on its 45th year, the RCM Journalism Awards has sought to encourage excellence in Philippine journalism by giving recognition to journalists and media agencies which performed outstandingly.
The awarding ceremonies for this year's Awards will be held on May 19, Thursday, at the Manila Polo Club. - GMA News