Here is a summary of the interview with local reporter Maria Corrales for my college project back in 2009.
It was a great experience meeting someone you see reporting live everyday. Maria Corrales is a person who was born and raised in Houston and now is representing it. She talked about the difficulties to get a job on a local station because they ask for many years of experience.
“It’s a very competitive career. There are many people that are willing to help you, but you have to learn how to work with all kinds of personalities. There will always competitions in any field, but you just have to give the best of you… It’s good to have “divas” at work because you can also learn a lot from them, and they make you work harder, so you achieve more.”
She is very talkative and told me about many anecdotes of her job. We also talked about why she choose her career and what she dislikes about it. “I risked my life during hurricane Ike, but I do not regret doing it. I almost fell at an open sewer and a stop sign passed flying in front of me…the best part is when I am able to help my community, they come to me…” She also said that there are many sacrifices that you have to do, but at the end, you get your reward. She said, she had to miss many family birthdays or anniversaries, and that she has to work weekends.
“When you are friendly, people will help you. We are not superstars, but I have to be careful because I represent my job. I cannot go out to a club and get drunk or get into a fight in the supermarket. I represent my community…”
[Laughing] “There is a lot of stress, but you must be able to handle it, because like in my case I get pimples when I am stressed, so I tried to be calm at all the times… I have to be prepared for whatever they have for me when I arrive at work. They might send me to cover a sport story or a Downtown aquarium event. I am always busy, but I never feel tired because of the adrenaline you have when working there.”
This is the example she gave me when I asked her about objectivity: “I am against abortions, but I had to make a report about Planned Parenthood. I did not like doing it, but viewers do not have to know about how I feel. My job is to inform.”
“Everyday I think about all those thousands of people that watch what we do, so I try to always be professional, recognize my mistakes…Viewers trust us…
I would have taken more classes in Spanish during college, I work very hard to keep learning…I grew up in Spanglish, I am a typical houstonian…even in my days off, and I try to learn new words everyday…
[Laughing]…I admire those people who do not have debts…
…God help me achieve my dreams, I have not changed because of what I do. I am still a humble person and willing to help anyone who needs it…I like to come back to my high school once in a while and cheer up students. I tell them, if I could do it then you can do it…”
“…No matter what your dream is, do not give it up.”
Her friendly personality made the interview more comfortable. She does that almost everyday, and now it was her turn. She talked to me as we had met years ago. We talked about the difficulties before her graduation, and how she worked for two years at another local station without salary. They were not hiring at that time, but she insisted that she just wanted to get experience. By this time, I had mostly memorized my questions, so everything flowed naturally. Now I have learned the different factors they use in hiring a reporter, what a producer and editor do, the level of stress they are into everyday, but mostly, where should I start before and after graduating.