Telum Talks To... Patty Taboada, Editor-in-Chief of g.spot

Telum Talks To... Patty Taboada, Editor-in-Chief of g.spot
George Putong

Patty Taboada’s lifelong passion is to write stories that represent, celebrate, and empower women especially from Visayas and Mindanao. Telum Media caught up with Patty, who leads the editorial team of Cebu-based g.spot.
 
Tell us more about g.spot, and what inspired you to put it together?
g.spot is the culmination of my personal dreams and professional journey. Growing up, I’ve always gravitated towards female-oriented magazines, and I remember I would get so excited when they would showcase something or someone I know from my city. As I grew older, I thought, why don’t we have something that would highlight the stories we can find in Cebu? There’s certainly a lot to tell!

With this mindset, I embarked on a career in the local media. I spent a few years writing for SunStar Cebu before moving on to Zee Lifestyle as a Features Editor, and I did my best to set out what I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl.

But I’ve always wanted to do more - to have the space to represent women in the Visayas and Mindanao through diverse storytelling, to empower them by starting conversations, and to celebrate them with endless possibilities.

What does your day-to-day look like as Editor-in-Chief?
Our process is a continuously evolving one since we’re a growing team navigating the difficult waters of these challenging times. 

Almost everything has been virtual, from story conferences over Google Meet to Zoom photo shoots! There was a brief period we were able to work out (with mandatory rapid tests), but when the Delta variant and later Typhoon Odette and the Omicron variant came around, we’ve had to work from home again. In fact, I’ve only met my team in full just last December for an early Christmas gathering!

It’s interesting to experience how media has evolved, at least in my perspective, given my previous experiences. Back then, all my colleagues were solely focused on the publication. 

This time around, my editorial team is involved in various other projects and even jobs outside g.spot, so while we’re not necessarily working together every single day, it doesn’t mean we’re any less focused. We make sure to have a weekly alignment to stay on top of tasks and hold each other accountable. For me, that’s overseeing story conferences and assigning articles to writers, and coordinating with our production and creative teams for shoots and key visuals. 

It’s a different dynamic, one that’s necessitated by the times and the challenges we’re dealing with. But I have a very strong team of women and women-allies with me, and our great working relationship has been a pillar of g.spot’s current success.

Eventually, as g.spot grows, I would also want our team to grow, perhaps enough to oversee a more traditional newsroom flow that would allow us to churn out more stories more frequently. That’s the goal for now—though as these times have proven, anything can happen, and I’m open to that.

Should writers and storytellers be experimenting with emerging platforms (e.g. TikTok, podcasts) to increase the reach of their stories – or should they focus on sharpening their skills with their preferred platforms? Is there a balance?
I’ll be the first to admit I cannot TikTok to save my life! I wish I could, but it’s just not the way I’m wired to tell stories. 

That said, I acknowledge how it’s become a powerful and very influential medium to reach more people these days. If you have the curiosity, patience, and enthusiasm to explore these different platforms, I’d say go for it. Never say never to discovering something you could be potentially great at!

But if it’s not for you, then focus on what you know you can do, and be amazing at it. That’s actually something I find I’m leaning more towards. All these emerging platforms have cemented my confidence in my writing. 

What are your team's upcoming editorial plans? Any special projects you might need help with?
We’re turning 1 on March 8, in time for International Women’s Day. We’ve never really had a proper launch because of the pandemic, so right now we’re planning a big event for it. It’s very interesting to do so, not at the beginning, but one year later—we’re not only telling people what we can do, but we’re showing them what we have done, and can still do as we grow.

As for our editorial content, the past year there were times we’ve had to play it safe while we’re finding our footing. Now that we’re more established, have support from our audience, and have earned the trust of some brands, we aim to be bigger and bolder in our storytelling. We’ve also been more focused on Cebu, but it is our endeavour to also celebrate women’s stories from other parts of the Visayas, as well as Mindanao, and we’re aiming to do that by finding like-minded contributors from these regions.

Tell us about the types of press materials and story pitches you're looking for. And, if you can share, how can PRs catch your attention?
With our goal to represent, celebrate, and empower women, we really love to see story pitches for personal essays on their experiences and on things they discovered about themselves. Not everything has to be a sob story, but you’ll find there are so many beautiful, relatable stories out there that can spark conversations and learn from—the only thing left to do is to tell them.

As for PRs, honestly, we’re still in a phase where we get extremely flattered that a brand has chosen us to get the word out, haha! But as someone who has worked with press releases for so many years, what really gets to me is having it go beyond a formulaic outline and delve deeper into the psyche and thought process of a product or a service. What can I say? I’m really a sucker for stories!

Any parting words for budding writers and communicators on how they can write their best work?
Find your voice. Setting aside press releases because they’re mostly designed to be impersonal, but I can almost always tell if, say, an article or even a caption on social media is not written by the person posting it. Maybe it’s my years of editing work at play, who knows?

Spelling, grammar, and other technicalities can always be revised and improved on with a great editor, but the voice will always be unique. I find the best works come out when I can hear the author in them or find some semblance of their personality in them. It’s these works I enjoy reading, and the works I will always make space for.

Telum Media gives journalists a platform to share their experiences in the newsroom and out in the field. If you would like to share your story or nominate someone to be featured, email us at philippinesalert@telummedia.com

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