An activist for truth-telling and press freedom, journalist Pia Ranada demonstrates courage and drive in a profession that constantly challenges her to take a stand. Through her work, this passionate communicator continues to prove that good journalism can make a difference.
Briefly describe your areas of expertise or advocacies. How long have you been doing these?
I've been a journalist for 9 years, covering everything from beauty pageants to super typhoons to the Philippine president. For a person like me who is in love with storytelling and learning about the world, it's hard not to fall in love with this job. It has its challenges and low points. I've been bullied online, threatened, and talked down at, sometimes by the most powerful people in the country. I've had to deal with sexism, disinformation, and propaganda targeted at me, my organization, and our line of work. This has turned me into an activist for truth-telling and press freedom. In this highly-charged atmosphere, you can't be a journalist and not take a stand on this issue.
Among your interests, which one has been your driving force?
Loving the craft and the desire to get better at it has been a major driving force. I am a firm believer that a reporter is only as good as their last story and I strive to write good pieces of journalism every chance I get. Another driving force is the thought that maybe my writing can help other people – whether it's to keep them informed about what's going on so they can make better decisions or reminding government officials that someone is watching and documenting their every move for history to judge them.
To what would you attribute your achievement/s?
My family, Rappler mentors and workmates, and the people who still believe journalism can make a difference.
In what ways did your Maryknoll/Miriam education impact your life and profession?
I've been a Knoller since nursery until high school. My education here gave me a really good foundation for understanding the world, relating to people, and knowing right from wrong. It was in Miriam also where I discovered I had a knack for communicating. I learned work ethic and leadership skills, especially during my time as Student Council president where I had to organize a lot of events and serve as a bridge between school administration and the students.
Can you share a memorable experience during your years in Maryknoll/Miriam College?
I clearly remember winning an extemporaneous speech contest when I was in Grade 2. This was the moment I realized maybe I was good at something. That speech contest gave me the self-confidence to try other communication-related pursuits like joining the school paper, the high school debate team, and writing an essay for the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards which ended up winning first place. That love for communicating led me to pursue a Communication degree in Ateneo de Manila and join the debate team there. Until now, I'm still a passionate communicator.
What career or life accomplishment makes you most proud?
I'm proud that I'm still here, writing, reporting, despite all the attacks and pressures on the media. But what makes me most proud is my one-year-old daughter who is such a force of personality and my amazing husband who has been my rock this whole time.
What advice would you give our students who wish to pursue the same path?
The path is arduous and long but it's got some wonderful sights. Journalism may be a difficult job but it's going to give you plenty of cool stories to tell your kids and grandkids. My tip would be to hone your writing or speaking skills as early as now and to cultivate the traits that make a good journalist: curiosity, doggedness, and an ability to hustle.
In one sentence, how would you describe a Maryknoll/Miriam graduate?
A Miriam graduate always wishes to do what is right, to rise to the challenge when the times call for it.