1. How did you find yourself as a journalist?
Since I learned to read and write, I’ve had a love for storytelling. Journalism honestly found me as I moved to Seattle and saw an opportunity to become an apprentice with The Seattle Globalist. From there, I found myself so hungry for more stories that I continued to pursue opportunities where I could continue feeding that hunger. My latest adventure has been a season reporting through public radio. Storytelling on this platform has been fascinating and eye-opening!
2. Which of your stories are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the stories in which I knew nothing about 24 hours ago but now I can explain a new subject (like bitcoin operations in Central WA!) Some of these stories only get a limited amount of column space or air time but they stay with me and I know there are so many more story ideas embedded in the subject. It’s like I see tendrils of all these potential narratives and I just have to pull at the threads in order to weave these new stories.
3. What is your favorite thing about your job?
I shamelessly enjoy being able to be nosy. In Latinx culture we talk about being metiche. It’s this curiosity that is hard to placate and journalism is really a key that lets me enter new spaces with that unabashed curiosity. I’m really thankful that people and this field allow me that pleasure and privilege.
4. What is your interview style?
Interviewing dynamics are always different for me depending on the medium. Skype and phone calls can miss the nuance of an environment or people’s body language. But in person, I try to be an active listener and key in on terms of phrases that stick out to me. While I usually have a list of questions, if something that they say catches my ear, I tend to follow that instinct and ask more even if its an aside from the story focus.
5. What do you look for in a story?
One of my favorite authors, Octavia Butler had notes that she wrote to herself and one that stuck out to me said, “Make people feel, feel, feel.” I try to incorporate that in each story I do, no matter the subject — people want to read stories about people. I want to find the humanity, the connection in each story and if I do my job right, hopefully the reader or listener feels something in that moment.
6. Who do you most look up to in the journalism industry?
My respect goes out to Jose Antonio Vargas and Joss Fong. Vargas for his work ethic and values and Fong for her communication style. Locally, I am so in awe of woman of color journalists like Phyllis Fletcher, Reagan Jackson, and Jamala Henderson. Lastly, I am very grateful to the journalists in Latin America. It’s incredibly dangerous and yet many of them remain committed to reporting the truth and that kind of work in invaluable.
7. What is a day like at your job?
First thing in the morning, I’ll skim through Feedly and check out local papers and Twitter. Usually by 9/10 AM I know what I want to do and I’ll check in with my editor and chase down my ideal source. I’ll furiously research stories similar to it and find holes in what I want this new piece to cover that other versions missed. I may have other interviews if there’s also a feature in the works or an event but hopefully by 2/3 PM, I’m done with my script and voicing the story so that it’s on the afternoon/evening daybook for our radio networks to pick it up.
8. What is your favorite news outlet?
The Seattle Globalist! I may be biased but our method of creating community driven journalism is innovative and delivers authentic news that I haven’t seen very many other outlets replicate. I also love the writing of The Guardian, Vox, YES! Magazine, The Establishment, and of course all the local NPRs!
9. If I am not reporting, I am…
Catching up on sleep! Reading sci-fi or meeting up with friends to critically analyze the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
10. If I could interview anyone, it would be…
Mi hermosa madre Hortencia Carbajal Lagunas. Beyond being my mother, she’s a fascinating woman with the craziest stories and her way of delivering them is incredibly vibrant, honest, and downright breathtaking.
11. My favorite thing about Seattle is…
Our summers. They really are the best!
12. What is your guilty pleasure?
Don’t tell anyone but sometimes I’ll watch Grey’s Anatomy.