The best motoring ‘ensemble’ in print

By Tessa R. Salazar Philippine Daily Inquirer February 23,2020

Members of the victorious Inquirer Motoring Section team posing behind the Henry Ford Awards
Wall of Fame

The Philippine Daily Inquirer Motoring Section bagged the best Automotive Section for Broadsheet at the Henry Ford Awards 2020 held Feb. 20 at the One Canvas Events Place along Chino Roces Avenue in Makati City.

The Henry Ford Awards (HFA), now on its 19th year, is considered the highlight recognition event for Philippine motoring journalists across the print and digital platforms.

HFA organizers said that the selection of Inquirer Motoring as the best automotive section was based on overall impact, depth, relevance, breadth and quality of content, and consistency of layout. Beyond car reviews, the best motoring section “offers comprehensive reportage of trends and issues affecting the Philippine motoring industry, set against a layout that works best for the content and its audience.”

This has been the third time Inquirer bags HFA’s best motoring section, which recognizes both its content creators and the layout artists. The other finalists for this year’s award were The Philippine Star and the Manila Times.

Inquirer Motoring’s veteran scribe Aida Sevilla Mendoza—herself a HFA multiple awardee—was a finalist in two categories this year: Automotive Print Lifestyle feature for her story “Women, Declare Your Independence-Drive,” and Automotive Technology feature “The Fuel of the Future: Electric Vehicle Ultrafast Charging Pumps.”

Over 200 entries from different publications were received by the HFA 2020.

PK Umashankar, president and managing director of Ford Philippines, remarked in his speech during the award ceremonies, “The HFA has served as a platform in recognizing the important role of journalists in taking the country’s automotive industry forward. (It) has become an institution in the industry with its continuing efforts to help uplift the state of motoring journalism in the country and give outstanding media practitioners the recognition they deserve”.

Umashankar (top, 3rd from left) joins fellow Ford Philippines employees who were part of this
year’s HFA judging panel

After receiving the familiar Ford steering wheel trophy, Inquirer Motoring editor Jong Arcano said: “I’d like to think that this award gives credence to a great organization that is the Inquirer. Our readers would not have seen the nice articles written and great layouts by the staff, if not for our collaboration work with account executives and the desk of the advertising department, as well as our big bosses who provide us with the logistical support that we need. It’s the editorial and business sides working together for a common goal.”

Arcano added: “The section would continue to evolve and the staff will be encouraged to deliver stories that will help consumers not just with technical stuff but things related to their daily ride. More than our wish to inform and entertain, we are about to re-launch our digital initiatives, introduce a new magazine concept and do activation projects for us to keep our wide readership advantage and remain relevant. So, as what the famous ad says, Never stop winning.”

Members of the Inquirer Motoring editorial team also gave praise to the section.

Mendoza said: “Inquirer Motoring has something for everyone: consumers, motor sport fans, luxury car enthusiasts, car collectors, environmentalists, first car buyers, off road adventurers, motoring tourists, family van buyers, pickup truck specialists.”

Chic Driven columnist Jeanette Tuason: “Inquirer Motoring aims to inspire and improve the lives of its readers. Its wide range of stories embraces the different road users. It goes beyond honest reviews and test drives, to experiences that will enrich the lives of the Filipinos.”

Skid Marks columnist Botchi Santos: “Inquirer Motoring is the biggest and best! It allows us to cover more news more of the time versus our competitors.”

Inquirer Motoring Sunday columnist Bernard Supetran: “Inquirer Motoring Section also features helpful topics on road and infrastructure issues, government policies, new technologies, and a host of motoring matters. It also features exciting countryside and international destinations to explore on the road.”

Umashankar revealed that this year, the HFA welcomed two innovations in the advent of the digital revolution. First, it introduced an all-digital submission for all entries, harnessing the speed and precision in using a fully-digital platform to submit, accommodate, and even evaluate entries without the need for paper submissions. He added that the HFA launched the new Best Automotive Website category which recognizes the power of digital platforms in informing, educating, and influencing the Filipino motorist.

This year’s winners are:

Best Automotive Website: Top Gear Philippines. This award recognizes the website that presents news content that is informative and relevant to the digitally attuned motoring public.

Best Automotive Column was Aristeo Ilagan of Top Gear Philippines for his piece “10 Guidelines: Proper Parking Etiquette for Riders”.This category awards an automotive column or opinion piece that presents the author’s opinion and views on various automotive topics and trends while maintaining journalism integrity.

Best Automotive Green Feature was Isaac Atienza of Go Flat Out for his piece “Are Filipinos Ready For The Electric Vehicle Lifestyle?”.This category awards a feature story that focuses on green technology, energy conservation engineering, or an automotive manufacturer’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative or advocacy that helps reduce carbon footprint.

Best Automotive Industry Feature was “Philippines: The Next Battleground for China's Gargantuan Auto Industry?” by Vince Christian Pornelos of AutoIndustriya.This category awards a feature story in a print or online news publication that showcases the latest trends, laws and regulations, and issues that affect the Philippine automotive industry.

Best Automotive Online Feature was “First Drive: The Toyota Hiace Grandia Tourer Takes on Manila’s Tight Streets” by Andrei Laurel, Top Gear Philippines. This category recognizes the best feature story published on a digital or online platform that provides a comprehensive vehicle review or an in-depth analysis of trends and topics relevant to the Philippine automotive industry.

Best Automotive Online Lifestyle Feature was “Pay Check: Can I Really Afford a Car? Things to Consider Before Making an Auto Purchase” by Eric Tipan of AutoIndustriya.This category awards a feature story published on a digital or online platform written as a lifestyle piece, making motoring news or topics easier to understand and relate to, especially for consumers who have zero to little understanding of anything motoring.

Best Automotive Photograph was “Wolf Pack” by Jenna Genio, AutoIndustriya.This distinction goes to the best original automotive photograph taken for a newspaper, magazine or website.

Best Automotive Print Feature was “Ride and AI” by Ruben Alcantara of Gadgets Magazine. This category awards a feature story published on a broadsheet or magazine that provides a comprehensive vehicle review or an in-depth analysis of trends and topics relevant to the Philippine automotive industry.

Best Automotive Print Lifestyle Feature was “Finding Your New, Pre-Loved Ride” by Kristoffer Lim of Speed Magazine.This category recognizes the best automotive lifestyle feature story published in a broadsheet or a magazine.

Best Automotive Road Safety Feature was “6 Defensive Driving Tips to Keep You Safe on the Road” by Kristoffer Lim, Autocar Philippines.This award goes to the best feature that promotes or emphasizes the importance of road safety.

Best Automotive Technology Feature was “Waze Map Editors are Unsung Heroes of PH’s Fight Against Traffic” by Andrei Laurel of Top Gear Philippines.This award goes to the best feature story that presents the latest technological innovations in the automotive industry.

Best Automotive Video Feature was “Driving Schools in Japan” by Mark Francis Jesalva of Top Gear Philippines.This award recognizes video content that has taken front and center in a media outlet’s storytelling initiatives.

Special categories

The best Ford Automotive Feature was “Raptors in the Desert: Pushing the Ford Ranger Raptor to the Limit” by Carl Christian Van Hoven of C! Magazine.This award recognizes the story that best embodied what Ford stands for as a brand and how it constantly innovates to offer its customers an enhanced experience.

Best Ford Automotive Video Feature was “Adventures Await: What Makes the Ford Everest a Perfect Road Trip Vehicle” by Vince Christian Pornelos of Autoindustriya.This award recognizes the powerful use of videos in telling the Ford story—vehicles, its key features, launches, and media drives specific to the Ford brand.

Best Ford Automotive Photograph was “Up” by Kelvin Go of AutoIndustriya.This award goes to the best photograph featuring a Ford vehicle published in either a print or an online publication.

The Go Further Hall of Fame awardee was Ronald de los Reyes.

Umashankar said: “The HFA has become an institution in celebrating excellence and professionalism in automotive journalism in the country. And now on its 19th year, the HFA continues to honor your passion, dedication and commitment to the craft as an editor, writer, photographer, videographer, or contributor.

“Since its first run, the Henry Ford Awards has grown to exemplify what journalism excellence is all about. Each year, the HFA board of judges give credit to entries that stand out not only in form and substance, but also those that inform, influence, and ultimately resonate with the audience.”

Umashankar said that this year, Ford has officially included a new HFA category, the Best Automotive Website, that recognizes the power of the online media in disseminating information, as the trend for online news consumption grows at a rapid pace.

“I have been personally involved in the selection of the winner, and I have never felt more ecstatic to see how news production has changed with the rise of digital platforms,” said Umashankar.

Members from the academe and the corporate world comprised this year’s HFA roster of judges including Dr. Maria Margarita Alvina-Acosta (Dean, Department of Communication, Miriam College), Dr. Arminda Vallejo-Santiago (Dean, College of Mass Communication, University of the Philippines-Diliman), Dr. Severino R. Sarmenta, Jr. (Lecturer, Ateneo De Manila University), Dr. Cheryll Ruth Soriano (Associate Professor and Research Fellow, De La Salle University-Manila),Charmaine Canillas (General Manager, Petron Foundation), Ma. Rosario Logarta-Lagamon (Director for Corporate Communications, Cebu Pacific), and Jeffrey Ochoa Tarayao (President, One Meralco Foundation). Executives from Ford Group Philippines led by its managing director, PK Umashankar, also participated in the deliberation process.

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