Thoughtleader: Zeena Zalamea Turner
A Filipino news presenter, reporter, and now a producer for Dubai Eye 103.8 FM, Zeena Zalamea-Turner is proud to be the first few broadcast journalists to read the news in Tagalog, a welcome development in the local broadcast industry reflecting the increasing importance of the Filipino population in the country.
Since then, she has been covering breaking local news for ARN, with a focus on the Filipino diaspora in the UAE, from the ARN News Centre. She has taken stories concerning her community to the airwaves, not only to Filipino station Tag91.1 but other avenues as well, such as ARN stations Virgin, Dubai 92 and City 101.6.
In 2017, she moved to Dubai Eye programming, producing the drive time program until she went on maternity leave. She came back late last year to produce The Agenda with Tom Urquhart, and a weekly program called Starting Up, a 2-hour show dedicated to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
“To borrow Illustrado’s tagline, I would like to keep ‘championing the world-class Filipino’ by giving them the media exposure they deserve, not only on a Filipino station but on an English-language station, so that more nationalities can learn about the awesome things we’re doing, helping dispel the notion that we are only capable of working in certain sectors, on certain levels,” she says.
Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf: Zeena Zalamea – A Pinay with a Nose for News
Broadcast journalist Zeena Zalamea was one of the first few Filipinos who have been able to make it on mainstream TV in the UAE. This former City 7 News Reporter who covered local breaking news, produced and presented feature programmes, was one of the only two Filipina faces on local TV together with colleague Khadijah Sali.
Formerly a correspondent at Dutch broadcaster VPRO and concept developer/scriptwriter and segment producer at ABS-CBN, Zeena left the world of TV to be a presenter/reporter for the Arabian Radio Network where she reads the news at Dubai Eye 103.8, Dubai 92 and Virgin Radio. She shares, “Sometimes I’m on the reporting shift and I get sent out to do stories, and that can be very exciting. One day I’m on the Metro asking people about their pet peeves on the train, the next day I’m interviewing a high-ranking official about a huge government initiative. Every day is so different and that keeps me on my toes and keeps me from getting bored.”
One of her jobs that she enjoys the most is reading the news at Tag Radio’s “Gandang U-maga” breakfast show with Louie Da Costa and Bluebird. She says she loves her job and is proud of being a part of a team that not only entertains but also provides much-needed information and advice to the general public.