3. You’ve worked at various news organizations all over the country. How important is it for a journalist to move around, know different parts of the country and work for different news outlets? Does that inform your reporting?
I worked at the San Antonio Express News. I worked at the Orlando Sentinel. I've lived in L.A., I've lived in Austin. Now when big stories happen, I really feel like I’m able to tell them the way the rest of the country is thinking. I think the work that you can do at a local newspaper is invaluable. I just think it makes you a better reporter. In terms of what I do now, my career has taught me how to deal with all kinds of people from all different places. And I do I feel like a sort of chameleon. I can sort of become whatever I need to be at that moment because I’ve also had so many experiences and talked to so many different people.
4. What did you learn from the J-School that helped prepare you for your beat?
I had already been a reporter for a few years at my hometown paper in San Antonio before attending Columbia. I came to the program already knowing how to ask: who, what, when, where and why, and then quickly writing a news story from the information I collected. But what I really learned from Columbia was to ask: how. There were a handful of professors who taught me new ways to think about my stories. I am a Mexican-American woman who grew up in South Texas. When I moved to New York and attended Columbia, it was a life-changing experience that widened my world-view. At school, my beat was Morrisania in the Bronx. It was tough but rewarding. Everything I learned on the beat, I carry with me while visiting new places and meeting new people for my job.