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Wednesday, 01 January 2020 14:47

A Ten Year Path to Journalism

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A Ten Year Path to Journalism

By Gaby Muro

The start of a new decade is something exciting for some as it is for me and how far along I’ve came in my journalism journey. It’s when I truly found my passion and decided to pursue it no matter what anyone told me.

 

 My interest in writing for journalism kicked of in 2009/2010 while I was a 14 year old Freshman in high school and started started taking creative writing classes. I found something fascinating about walking into class everyday and writing until I was told to stop or until the front and back of my paper were full. I knew then that I wanted a career involving writing but I also loved speaking in front of people. You’d think a young teenager would fear public speaking, but to me that is something I never feared. I also had a great interest in technology that at one point my nickname at home was Tecna, a technology fairy from a popular early 2000’s cartoon called Winx Club. 

 

In 2011 I was a sophomore in high school taking more English and creative writing classes. At one point I remember my school had an assembly about finding your career path and how to pursue it. The school asked us to write an essay about our career path and submit it for a chance to win two movie tickets. Of course, I submitted an essay and won the two movie tickets! That essay was the first time I mentioned I wanted a career in journalism. I wrote about getting a degree in journalism or communications and working as a local broadcast news reporter. Now, I didn’t make that up on the spot. News was something I always had to watch growing up in a home that never had cable TV. Sometimes the news even came to my neighborhood as I grew up in the South part of Stockton. I first had an interest in meteorology because I was better at math, but taking writing classes really helped me find that I enjoyed writing in some way although I wasn’t great at it. 

 

2012 was the year I took my first video production class. I learned how to edit videos. This was when I realized, I could be a news reporter who shoots, writes and edits her own stories. In the news industry this is called an MMJ, a Multi Media Journalist. I couldn’t wait to go off to college and actually do this as my high school did not have a journalism department.

 

I finally graduated high school in 2013 and for financial reasons I decided community college was my best option. I decided to stay in Stockton and enroll at San Joaquin Delta College. 

 

In 2014 I was finally a student at Delta College which had and still has an entire Radio, Television and Journalism department. Throughout my time there I met people who actually worked in the news industry and they helped me become part of the journalist I am today. I took real tv journalism classes and found that local news was my true passion. During my time at Delta some of my work was submitted to the Student Emmy Awards. This year I also met Carlos who owns Central Valley TV, at a fire. He decided to take me along some of his journeys as a local Emmy award winning news photographer. He taught me how to set up a live truck and run a live shot. I remember the day August 17, 2014 clearly. Carlos sent me a text and said there was a homicide at a Chevron on Lower Sacramento Road in Stockton and he asked if I wanted to go with him. I said yes. We get to the scene and there is crime tape all around the Chevron and the body is still at the scene. Carlos looked at me and asked if I was scared. I looked back at him and said no. Unfortunately this wasn’t my first time seeing something like this as I grew up in South Stockton but it was my first time covering a homicide as a young journalist.

 

2015 was the year I covered my first wild fire, The Butte Fire which burned over 70,000 acres of land, destroying over 400 homes and killing two. Carlos and I went for a few days and I remember finding an area which appeared to be a parking space but had cars completely burned to the ground and all that was left was burned metal. I remember standing there thinking about the people who had just lost their homes and cars. I wanted to talk to them and tell their stories. Something I remember more clearly was my near death experience with Carlos while covering this wild fire. A fire engine drives up to us and a fire fighter tells us in a loud scared voice there is no way out of the fire and that it was coming our way. Carlos looked at me and again, asked me if I was scared. I looked at him and told him no. Being around fire crews gave me some sort of peace believing they would stop the fire before it reached us and they did. Those fire men saved our lives that day.

 

2016 was a big year for Black Lives Matter protests and riots in the Bay Area. This year I covered my first riot. Carlos and I decided to go for a few days. I remember seeing protestors outside of the Oakland Police Department chain themselves to the doors of the department, people burning stuff, breaking windows and even shut down I-80.  Officers where in full riot gear and I saw several people get arrested. I couldn’t believe my eyes what I was seeing. This was stuff you would only expect to see in a documentary from a different country but it wasn’t. It was happening close to home. I knew I had to talk to someone protesting. I walked up to a girl and asked her if she would talk to me on camera and she looked at me and very aggressively told me no. Yelling at me, she also told me that all of us news people just make them look bad. Any other journalist would have probably walked away but very calmly, I told her not me and that this was why I was here. So that she could tell me their story. She calmed down and agreed to do an interview with me in Spanish. I remember asking her why stuff was being burned and windows where being broken. Her response stayed with me till this day. She told me that a broken window doesn’t compare to the cost of a broken life and that this was the only way their voices would be heard. The next day my interview was used by a local news station. This same day Carlos and I were almost arrested for simply doing our journalistic jobs and forgetting my credential. After being stuck with protestors and other journalists for almost an hour, an officer recognized Carlos and let us go. 

 

In 2017 all the on camera work I had done led me to becoming the first female emcee for the Stockton Heat Hockey team. Very different from news but I still loved the adrenaline rush hockey gave me just like breaking news does. 

 

At the beginning of 2018 I received a scholarship to go to Israel as a journalist. This award was only given to the top 40 student journalists in the country. I was in Israel for 10 days but my most memorable day was the day I went to Sderot, an Israeli city near Gaza. We visited the Legacy Heritage Park of Good Wishes, a park which has a caterpillar shaped bomb shelter for kids to run to in case they hear air raid sirens or even bombs. Since this play ground is closer to Gaza, children would have 15 seconds or less to run to a bomb shelter. 

 

In May of 2018 finally graduated from Delta and received two AA degrees. One in Radio and Television the other in Interdisciplinary Studies: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. 

 

In 2019 I wanted to put more time and dedication into covering more breaking news. So, I quit all my jobs in 2018 including my job with the Stockton Heat. This decade I have realized that journalism is my true passion and I will continue to tell untold stories and be the voice for those who no longer have a voice because of crime. I am more than just a journalist, I am a human with feelings, empathy and a camera covering stuff that will someday be part of history.

 

Today you can find me listening to police scanners, covering breaking news and writing out documentary ideas for Central Valley TV. 

 

If you or anyone you know has ever been affected by a major crime or a homicide and would like to share your story please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

 

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