NMSU journalism students gain real world experience at Noticias22
Writer: Isabel A. Rodriguez, 575-646-7066, firstname.lastname@example.org
Like most college students, New Mexico State University senior and El Paso native Marserenith Gonzalez has fond memories of watching cartoons such as Clifford and Arthur on PBS. When the kiddy shows ended, Gonzalez and her parents would continue to tune in for News22 – providing the inspiration for her career in news.
“That’s when I got inspired to pursue a career in journalism at NMSU. Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of becoming a journalist,” said Gonzalez, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism this month. “My first language is Spanish, my parents are Mexican, and I wanted to represent the Hispanic culture.”
Gonzalez already has a job lined up at a MundoFox, the Spanish-language Fox Broadcasting affiliate in Las Vegas. She’ll begin on May 11, immediately after graduation.
Gonzalez is one of about 20 students who have worked as anchors and producers for the Spanish segment at Noticias22 since 2011. Before that, the News22 program would devote a block of the English broadcast to news in Spanish.
“Our aim is to recruit more students who have an interest in Spanish television news and continue adding more content to both the cut in’s and the online Noticias22,” said Hugo Perez, coordinator for the Spanish newscast and assistant professor of journalism and mass communications in the College of Arts and Sciences. “A major goal is to get the students out in the field, shooting and gathering television news stories with hard news angles and not just shooting light features. The students will be more marketable for job opportunities if they have hard news stories on their demo reels upon graduation.”
The high enrollment of Hispanic students at NMSU, as well as the Hispanic population in the region created a demand for Spanish-language news, prompting NMSU’s journalism department to create 90-second cut-in news briefs for one of KRWG-TV’s digital channels, which airs programming from V-me, the first national Spanish-language network associated with public television stations.
“The motivation was to help Spanish speaking students prepare for a broadcasting career,” said Nick Miller, journalism assistant professor and director of News 22. “With the large number of Hispanic students and population, it’s important their stories be told.”
Noticias22 provides real world anchoring and producing experiences for NMSU students. Perez explained that the program goes beyond the basic ideas of television production that students could learn from a book.
Gonzalez recalled political stories among her favorites.
“I loved interviewing Mayor Ken Miyagishima,” she said, adding that she has also covered Las Cruces Public Schools board meetings, the Ayotzinapa protest, the Rio Grande and more.
Journalism senior Arlette Villa, who is currently working at Noticias22, said her original goal was to work at News22, but she was drawn to the Spanish-language newscast.
“Spanish is my first language, speaking it brings me back to my roots,” Villa said. “It’s rewarding to know that my mother will be able to understand it fully. There are many others, who, like my mother, only speak Spanish, so to be able to communicate and inform them as well is a great feeling.
“I’ve learned that putting a newscast together is so much harder than a viewer might know. There are many hours of hard work put into it.”
Graduates of the program include Las Cruces native Anabel Monge, a news anchor with Telemundo in Chicago. She is an Emmy award-winner who has covered political and community affairs and interviewed athletes and artists such as Tony Parker and Brad Paisley.
Perez himself went through NMSU’s journalism program before graduating in the early 1990s. Shortly thereafter, he landed a job at ABC affiliate KOAT-TV in Albuquerque and went on to become an award-winning photographer for the Belo Border Bureau in Dallas.
“Our students have a huge advantage compared to other universities that do not have a newscast in their respective journalism departments,” Perez said. “They learn broadcast writing, television photojournalism, digital editing and the entire process it takes to produce a television newscast.”
“It all goes back to what investment the student puts into the program,” he added. “Mar Gonzalez did just that; she has been out there in the field shooting and writing many news stories during the last two semesters. Her reward has been acquiring a job in a top 50 television market such as Las Vegas.”
To view Noticias22 newscasts on YouTube, visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP_zR2ilbpf00inWIH_L62g. The 90-second news briefs are broadcast between 7-10 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesday on KRWG-TV’s digital channel 22.3 or in Las Cruces on Comcast channel 199, in Silver City on Comcast channel 81 and in El Paso on Time Warner Cable channel 1271.