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ABS-CBN News Senior Correspondent Don Tagala Wins at the 2021 New York Press Club Journalism Awards

July 28, 2021 AT 06:05 AM

ABS-CBN News Senior Correspondent Don Tagala Wins at the 2021 New York Press Club Journalism Awards

TFC News places among mainstream media giants like The New York Times, CBS News, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Bloomberg News, Politico, and others.

The New York Press Club recently announced the winners of the 2021 New York Press Club Journalism Awards and ABS-CBN News Senior Correspondent Don Tagala won for Community Coverage.

An enduring tradition in New York media, the annual New York Press Club Awards for Journalism honor excellence by writers, reporters, editors, producers, photographers, and multi-media journalists. Entries this year were judged in 30 categories, including sub-categories for print, broadcast, and the Internet.

New York Press Club Journalism Awards 2021 partial list of winners. Click here for the entire list of 2021 winners.

For many, it seemed that the best way to survive the pandemic was to stay away from the rest of the world and hunker down at home. But as Tagala got to speak with Filipino nurses and other healthcare workers, he realized that “they were putting their own lives on the line, as well as the lives of their family members who live with them.”
Tagala shares that “covering the Filipino community during the early part of the pandemic was tough because at that time we didn't know a whole lot about the virus, how it’s transmitted, who gets infected, who dies and who lives.” 
Tagala’s multi-media report, “Filipino ‘Superheroes’ at the Frontlines of COVID-19 Wear Scrubs, Not Capes,” was a stirring, yet honest look at how these warriors faced the daily risk of combating the deadly, yet invisible coronavirus at the height of the pandemic last year.

The ‘Hurst crew' (Elmhurst Hospital crew) came out for the “siren salute.” It’s their way of saying goodbye to 58-year-old Erwin Lambrento, an ER nurse who many described as the “king of triage” and a stalwart on the night shift.

He shares that “there were nurses who told me that while many of their non-Filipino coworkers quit their jobs to save themselves and their families, these Filipino nurses even volunteered and believed it was their duty to stay and keep saving more lives even if it meant putting themselves in harm’s way.”

Cancer survivor, Lorena Vivas, chose to go back to work as a nurse and risk her life to save others. She worked on the front line at Mount Sinai hospital in New York, with hundreds of other superheroes in scrubs and N95 masks working together to defeat COVID-19.

Many of them lost their lives to COVID while saving others. Some lost family members who braved the isolation rooms to resuscitate patients who are code blue. And then there were several survivors who lived to tell their stories. Tagala reveals that it was cathartic for him to hear their stories of struggle and isolation. He states that “some were on the verge of giving up, ready to die, but many fought to stay alive.”

Elizabeth Robles (right), one of the frontliners of St. Joseph Hospital in Patterson, New Jersey, holds out a sign that says: “We Got This!” She is just one of the many dedicated staff at the hospital who risk their lives to save others.


According to Tagala, “community stories like these are sometimes not on the radar of mainstream media, that is why it is important for ethnic media outlets like ABS-CBN News, through TFC News, to carry these stories and bring these stories to a larger audience while doing so.” 


ABS-CBN News North America Bureau Chief TJ Manotoc underlines the importance of ethnic media. “It’s a great honor for the team to be seen alongside such big names in journalism. As we are part of a small but significant group of ethnic media in the US, we are grateful to the NYPC for giving attention to community stories which we feel is where ethnic media truly shines and can tell the stories on the ground in the most authentic way”
Manotoc states that “a recognition like this make us prouder of our work and inspires our team to strive harder to tell the stories of our community, that in the end inspires us all to be better for one another.”
“Filipino ‘Superheroes’ at the Frontlines of COVID-19 Wear Scrubs, Not Capes” was part of the COVID-19 Reporting Fellowship project with the New Jersey ethnic and community media from the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University.
CBS News is the major winner, with Norah O’Donnell Investigates: Sexual Assault in the Military bagging the 2021 Gold Keyboard Award, the competition’s highest honor. CBS News and The New York Times were the top award winners with nine and eight respectively.
Additional winners in 30 categories were selected from almost 600 entries submitted by TV, radio, newspapers, websites, magazines, and newswires in New York City and around the U.S. Awards will be presented later this summer during an online event.
New York Press Club President Debra Toppeta applauded all the award recipients and added that the level of entries attests to the continued good health of journalism and the wonderful work journalists do. "We had a record number of contestants this year, all from stand-out reporters, editors and producers," said Toppeta. "During a difficult year with numerous challenges, the work of journalists continued at a high level, a testament to their dedication to the profession."
Read Tagala’s winning multi-media story here.
Click here for the entire list of 2021 winners.