Mat Garcia makes guest appearance in mass communications class
By Tyrin Bradley
Students interested in pursuing a career in television broadcast should focus on their writing, listening and comprehension skills, a local morning news reporter said earlier this month at this college.
Mat Garcia, KENS-5 morning news anchor and former student here, offered insight into the news broadcasting industry March 18 during journalism full-time adjunct Teresa Talerico’s COMM 1307, Introduction to Mass Communications class.
When students seemed hesitant to participate in his discussion, Garcia offered his first nugget of wisdom.
“If you want to be in this business or any other business, you’ve got to stop being shy,” Garcia said to the dozen students staring back at him. “Ask questions because that’s the only way you will get answers.”
Garcia discussed his own path to success. After studying engineering at UTSA, he changed his major to journalism and served as a reporter for The Ranger in the early 1990s.
The University of Texas at Austin graduate began his career in 1994 in Yakima, Wash., as an associate producer earning $5.56 per hour.
“A lot of people get into the business thinking it’s all glamour, it’s easy, I get to talk to people (and) I get to talk on television,” Garcia said. “There’s a lot to it. Don’t kid yourself.”
But news broadcasting can eventually be a lucrative career, he said. Despite his meager beginnings, Garcia has worked his way up the corporate ladder. His career has taken him to Market No. 1 station WPIX-TV in New York City and other high-market stations across the country.
The lower the market number, the higher the pay, he said. Market No. 1 reporters, on average, make well above a six-figure salary.
To reach such heights, Garcia urged students to pursue an internship as soon as possible to attain firsthand experience and knowledge. One of his first internships was at CNN in Atlanta.
“If you’re not in an internship by your junior year, (then) you’re behind the eight ball,” Garcia said.
Garcia also learned about broadcast journalism from an early mentor, San Antonio news anchor Mario Bosquez. He then became the first paid intern at KTCM-TV as a producer while he attended the University of Texas at Austin.
Garcia also said interning will increase a student’s chances of landing a job right out of college, as news outlets are hiring graduates now more that ever.
“But you have to really be on your game,” Garcia said. “If not, you can exit just as fast as you came.”
Garcia told students the three things they need to remember as they pursue their journalism endeavors.
“If you are looking to get into the broadcast business, make sure you know how to write, speak and absorb everything, or they will spit you out,” he said.