EL PASO – As I was walking toward my first day in the Univision 26 newsroom, the news director, and my new boss, Zoltan Csany asked me how I felt. Without hesitation I answered, “very excited!”
As soon as I entered the building I knew I was in the right place. Ever since I knew I could do an internship wherever I wanted, in my mind there was only one place – Univision 26.
With graduation only three semesters away, I began to think that my best option was to gain some experience doing an internship.
After a couple of visits to the internship advisors the day came when she asked me, (and I remember perfectly) “If you could have your way, what would you do?”
Although I was presented with many options, I did not even have to think about it and immediately answered Channel 26.
On December of 2011 I started my dream internship at Univision 26.
All my life I had imagined being part of the media industry and this was my first step.
My first day was a little challenging because I was assigned to the morning show, that meant I had to be a the station at 4 a.m. I was so happy to be there, I did not mind.
I might sound a little arrogant when I say this, but I did not feel nervous or scared, I felt like I belonged there.
I am not going to lie; the first days were a little weird because everybody is so concentrated on his or her work that they literally do not pay attention to you. Sometimes I could be standing there for 20 minutes without anybody saying anything to me.
As the first few days went by, I started to realize that it’s all on you. If you want to learn something you have to ask people.
Cynthia Ibarra, who graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso and now works at the station, was the first to advise me to reach out to people. After that I started asking questions about how things work to the persons in charge.
This led me to learn how to use a teleprompter, which might sound easy but actually takes some practice. After that Heidi Renpenning, producer and anchor of the weekend news, gave me some short news notes to write.
It was impressive and rewarding to see the anchor reading my notes during the weekend live show.
After a couple of days of working the teleprompter and notes during the weekend, the person in charge of putting everything on the air, Edith Montero, asked me if I wanted to learn how to be a floor manager.
Moreno assigned me to the floor manager who taught me how to do the shots of the anchor, weather person and of reporters when they where in the studio.
I learned that floor managers have to pay attention to everything around them, especially time. It is their job to tell the person on camera how much time they have left and what camera to look at. The next two weeks I did floor all by my self and I loved it.
After that I began learning production. Ibarra taught me how to do the titles that appear in the screen every time that there is an interview and the graphics that have more information about a topic. Jonathan Romo and Airam Martinez taught me how to work the audio for the shows.
One thing I had always been curious about was how reporters manage to find out about breaking news, such as car crashes or fires. So I spent an afternoon with Janice Rodriguez, who’s job is to listen to the police radio and check for updates on the Internet to get the latest news happening in the city.
My curiosity also led me to learn how the weather segment is done. Adriana Valles and Brenda Reyes showed me how to read the maps and how to explain the audience in terms that they would understand. It wasn’t easy, but I even had the chance to record my own little weather segment.
Although all the things that I have learned help me gain more experience in the news industry, what I loved the most was to go with the reporters and the cameraman to cover a news story.
Rosy Zugasti and Alejandro Hernandez were the team that I got to go with to cover stories around the city. I had the chance to go as far as Las Cruces to report an event.
Thanks to Zugasti I was able to refine my news gathering skills. From approaching and interviewing people, to creating the story once you have all the information.
Overall this first internship has been the reassurance I needed to begin my career as a young journalist. In the past I have questioned the choice of my degree but now I know that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.