Former student tells newspaper staff what it’s like to work in TV news

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Joe Vázquez, television reporter at KPIX-TV at San Francisco, gives tips to students about television reporting Sept. 6 in Loftin.“When your’re writing a story, your’re not just writing an article,” he said. Vázquez explained a story should show the creative side along with the informative side. Andrea Moreno

Senior reporter Joe Vazquez said he uses what he learned reporting for The Ranger every day.

By Andrea Herrera

As a student in the 1980s at this college, Joe Vazquez encountered several professionals who told him he did not fit the image of a television reporter because of his ethnicity and brown skin.

On Sept. 6, Joe Vazquez, a former Ranger reporter stopped by to chat with students currently enrolled in the journalism program.

Vazquez is a senior reporter for KPIX, the CBS affiliate in San Francisco.

He talked about his journey and the obstacles he faced in reaching a successful career.  

He said the key is to never give up when it becomes challenging.

“I was behind the scenes for almost eight years,” he said of his time as an assignments editor at a local tv station.

“You have to find your way through to be in the front lines. You have to have the fight,” he told students.

Vazquez studied at The University of Houston and graduated with a B.S. in political science.

He has covered hurricanes, earthquakes, riots and crimes. 

He shared a few of his most outstanding stories, including one that shocked his viewers and the students.

Joe Vázquez, television reporter at KPIX-TV at San Francisco and former ranger reporter, visits the journalism department to share his experiences with students Sept. 6 in Loftin. Vázquez covers natural disaters, crime and politics. “No child ever says, ‘mom, read me an article,’” he said. “They say read me a story.” Andrea Moreno

Camera crews had become targets for gang thefts so the news team was accompanied by a guard.

Vazquez and his bay area team went to report on a robbery when they were caught in the middle of a shooting.

Their bodyguard was shot and their camera equipment stolen. Undeterred, Vazquez reached for his iPhone to continue recording the scene.

The camera that was stolen had a built-in tracker, so they were able to go after the gang. The thieves crashed and Vazquez and his team got their camera back.

“It’s really disturbing and shattering to have to deal with that,” he said.

After his presentation, he opened the floor to a Q&A, and gave tips on how to cover and report a story successfully. He recommended versatility in learning to use a camera, shooting video, editing and social media.  

Keep in mind your credibility, don’t stoop to the level of others you may encounter online, he said.

“I think it’s our job to lay out the problem and maybe inspire people to make a change,” Vazquez said

He said learning to tell stories was more important than just shooting video.

He thanked the audience for being so respectful and interactive, and closed with one of his teacher’s favorite quotes.

“No kid ever says read me an article; they say tell me a story.”


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