Aspiring journalists in the mass communication program received insight into the industry yesterday as a seasoned Texas reporter visited campus.
Two-time Lone Star Emmy award-winning reporter Pedro Rojas stopped by Sam Houston State University to speak at an event hosted by the SHSU chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
The speaker of the hour had a lot of advice for the students in attendance. The now national correspondent for Univision said he didn’t start out in broadcasting.
“It’ been a journey being in this career,” Rojas said. “Newspapers were my thing. The TV kind of just came by accident.”
The Venezuelan native said his move to America was fueled by diminishing rights for the media in his home country. He said the journey to accomplish your goals as a journalist takes is anything but ordinary.
“Life takes you in different places, but if you have a passion for it, you’re going to make it,” Rojas said. “I had a passion for it. It’s difficult to get into the business. It’s competitive, it’s tough, but it’s worth it.”
Rojas cited the 2005 BP oil explosion incident in Texas City as his first major story he covered and used this example to set up the workshop he provided for students in attendance.
“[They were] real, human people fearing for the lives of their loved ones,” Rojas said. “You have people screaming, crying next to you.”
NAHJ President Jacqueline Garcia said having Rojas speak on campus was one of her greatest successes as her organization’s leader.
“It’s phenomenal that he is here at Sam Houston,” Garcia said. “It’s by far one of my biggest accomplishments to get him here.”
Rojas concluded his speech and then moved on to the workshop, where students learned how to deal with speaking while performing live shots on camera in the midst of chaos and having distractions all around you. He also helped students learn how to set up demo reels to apply for jobs and internships.
Rojas then answered questions during a Q&A session at the end of the event.
Hearing experience from someone who is already accomplished in their field is what drew many members of the audience to the event. Vanessa Gutierrez, mass communication freshman, said she was anxious to hear the beneficial information Rojas could offer.
“It’ll give a little more insight and information as to what to go into after graduation,” Gutierrez said. “You get to ask him questions. He’s someone who has been there. It’s exciting because he is so well known.”
Rojas’ workshop was one of the first events for NAHJ this semester. The group is in its beginning stages, having been founded just last fall.
For more information about NAHJ, contact Garcia at email@example.com.