Welcome to our "SPOTLIGHT" feature, where we highlight a ProfNet Connect user and share their personal story and insight with you. This SPOTLIGHT belongs to journalist Manuel De La Rosa, a reporter at KRGV-TV in Rio Grande Valley, TX.
Manuel “Manny” De La Rosa is a general assignment reporter for KRGV-TV and is based in Brownsville where he covers stories in the Lower Valley. He covers homeland security issues involving the human and drug smuggling efforts along the border. In addition, he reports extensively on crime and court news in Cameron County. He reports on multiple platforms and is considered a social media expert.
De La Rosa, a native of Los Angeles, has about 18 years of reporting experience. He has also worked as a reporter in the Corpus Christi, Victoria, and Waco, TX; Tucson, AZ and Santa Maria, CA. He additionally worked as an associate producer in the Los Angeles Bureau for Court TV from 1998 until 2000.
We hope you find SPOTLIGHT both enjoyable and informative. Please feel free to leave a comment after the blog entry.
1) Manny, please tell me about yourself and what you do at KRGV-TV.
I am a reporter and I work at KRGV-TV in the Rio Grande Valley.
2) What made you want to become a television journalist and what was your first experience in the field?
I like to write and was very aggressive when I was a young man. People said I should be a journalist. It was a perfect match for my career. My first experience as a professional was covering a campaign stop for Kay Bailey Hutchinson when she was first running for U.S. Senator in Victoria, Texas, a small city about two hours south of San Antonio, in 1993.
3) What has been the biggest challenge you've faced as a reporter?
My biggest challenge is trying to get stories done with fewer resources. We must overcome and manage our time more efficiently. We are forced to cover multiple stories a day. Sometimes, we can't get everything done or just can't give the amount of time we need for a story.
4) Do you have a most memorable moment--maybe an unforgettable story you've covered?
My most memorable story was covering Hurricane Dolly on South Padre Island. I covered many tropical storms, but covering an actual hurricane was different. Seeing what the storm did and the damage it caused was amazing because you never knew a hurricane could do that.
5) What advice do you have for someone pitching you a story idea? What should they do and not do?
If you are pitching a story to me, please don't talk down to me. They need to talk to me as a professional and understand I have a job to do. It's frustrating when people call us and they don't know our brand. They expect us to cover it just because they say so. They must realize we have a brand and are only covering certain types of stories. Think about angles and people we should interview other than officials. We need real people to make it a good story.
6) How can someone in PR develop a relationship with you?
Somebody in PR can develop relationship by first listening to me when we talk. Treat a reporter with respect and know the two of you have a professional relationship. You must respect the job they do and they just respect your job.
7) Do you use social media in your work? Does it benefit you?
Yes I use all facets of social media. I am active on Facebook and Twitter primarily. Yes, it's beneficial because viewers get a chance to talk to you and it makes them feel as if we are real people. It also gives them a chance to tell you about stories or another way to communicate about what's happening in their neighborhood. Equally, they see your work online and they see what kind of stories you do. That gives them a better idea of what kind of stories we will put on our station.
8) What tips would you provide to someone who's just starting out in the TV news industry?
The tips I would give out to young people are you must be a person who enjoys reporting stories and helping people. You also must be willing to challenge people to get your stories done. At the same time, you can't be a pushover when working as a reporter. You also should have a thick skin and be ready to take some criticism because not everybody is going to like the stories you do. If you work on TV, you must realize you are a public figure so you should be ready for that and don't be shy about it -- don't reject it.
9) Manny, you're the Vice President of Broadcast for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and a lifetime member of the organization. What are your goals as vice president and do you think media associations can really help?
My goal as NAHJ VP of Broadcast is to encourage Latinos to seek a career in the news media by giving scholarships and providing training opportunities for mid-career journalists. We also want to make sure Latinos are treated fairly in the news media and to make sure news companies are hiring diverse staffs. They can help in terms of giving Latinos a chance to network with each other, act as role models to younger Latinos and be there to act as a check and balance for the news managers in the industry. I believe it makes a difference and can help Latino journalists.
10) How has the TV news business changed from when you first began your career?
The news business has changed because it is now a business. In the past, there was a lot of money for news budgets. Now, they have been trimmed immensely and the number of journalists and staff has been reduced. It has changed the way we cover news and we must do more with a less.
11) Where do you see the media industry overall in 10 years? What do you think television news will be like?
It's scary to think how it will be in 10 years. The resources keep getting cut and we are now at a level where the future doesn't look bright. I see more news consolidation and sharing of resources. I can see news competitors sharing video for stories they want to cover and regional newscasts with anchors from other cities anchoring stories in multiple cities.
12) Can you see yourself doing something other than journalism? What would you be doing if you weren't a reporter?
I can't see myself doing anything else other than journalism. If it does happen, I see myself working as a journalism educator, training young people to be successful journalists.