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Wednesday, 01 January 2020 14:47

A Ten Year Path to Journalism

Written by

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.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 01 January 2014 05:39

Bad Times, Good Times

Written by

2014_digital

2013.

The year has come and gone in the blink of an eye.

We saw a great many events, both good and bad. We experienced joy, adventure, and loss alike with those in our community.

2014 ushers in a chance to begin freshly. Let's take what we learned this past year and apply ourselves to move onward. Advance our lives into the great potential we've been called to.

The most important thing to hold closely is family. Both our biological families, and our community as a family. We all live here together, and the opportunity to improve our livelihoods presents itself daily. Share an act of kindness with someone. Someone random. Spend time with your children. Smile often.

For some, 2013 was a year of loss. While our words can offer little comfort to those who have gone through the unimaginable, we can say this - Thank you for allowing us to work with you. Keep your loved ones close in your heart. They will never be too far.

For us at CVTV, it was a tremendous year. We experienced significant growth in viewership, climaxing in a landslide of traffic to our website and social media platforms. We've felt a great honor to serve our community through our passion of delivering news. For that, we say thank you.

2014 will challenge us to better serve our community as we expand on new ideas and projects we wish to implement. We hope these projects will bring more to the table for our audience to experience.

Our website could use a tune up. We plan to make it mobile friendly in the near future with a new re-design as a large portion of our traffic comes from viewers on the go via tablets and cell phones. This is a great focus for our future.

We're nearly ready to launch a spanish version of CVTV, tentatively called "Telecentral" in the hopes of serving the large hispanic population in the region. We've tracked a significant amount of spanish-speaking viewers using our service, so this looks like a natural idea to develop.

The idea of a "host-hunt" is being kicked around. We're testing the idea of having an "on camera" news presenter to see if it will create a better connection and understanding between our news product and our viewers.

A women's topic and health product is in the sketchbooks for us. "GLOW TV" is the working title for this project.

As always we are forever grateful to have you turn to us for information. Our humble organization is always working to provide the best service we can to you.

Happy New Year. We wish for many blessings to descend upon you and your loved ones. May the winds of 2014 carry you forward.

Let's do this.

Thursday, 12 July 2012 11:39

Carrying On The CVTV Torch

Written by

A fire engine and police car parked in the street, and I shook hands with officials I had seen on several occasions. They were all in dress uniform, and while it was great to see them again, it was entirely bittersweet. We were meeting to say goodbye to a dear friend.

If you never got the chance to meet George Stallings, I really wish you could have. He was a great photographer, a great storyteller, and a great family man. He loved to surf. We both kept up on where the greatest surf spots were each day. Every morning we'd log on to Surfline and check the surf cams. He was my boss, a fantastic mentor, and at the end of the day I practically considered him a second father.

I never thought I would enjoy a career in broadcast news. I knew I wanted to do something visual, perhaps film or special effects. George hired me several years after I met him and quickly showed me the value of local news. Within a week I was bit by the "news bug" that everyone talked about. There was something thrilling about producing a daily product of the days events in your very own community. George taught me the most important part was that in the bigger picture, the goal is to serve.

If you knew George like I did, you know he loved to tell stories. Entertaining, hilarious, and sometimes serious. Seeing Led Zeppelin in concert during his time in the Navy. Nearly falling out of KCRA's helicopter. Working major breaking news stories over the years. It was heart wrenching to see the same cancer that claimed his life take his voice. The stories fell silent.

During his memorial service, I felt like I had a lot to regret. I never got to properly say goodbye to George. I guess I was scared. I visited him at the hospital two weeks before he passed away. He had just had surgery a few days before. I had just bought him a copy of Surfer magazine, which he thought was cool of me to bring. The nurses loved him, I suspect because he told them the 800 dollar joke.

When I think about George I become an emotional wreck. Today was no different. The Stanislaus County Fair was gracious enough to have a media award named after him, which is presented every year at the media luncheon before opening day. George was awarded the first four years ago (posthumously), the Turlock Journal and the Modesto Bee the following years, and today we were awarded (to my surprise) the 4th annual award. I'm very happy to see his name remembered on an award that has a special meaning.

Monday, 09 July 2012 11:43

The Tools Of The (CVTV) Trade

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We're often asked what kind of tools we use while gathering news around the valley. Here we have compiled a list of a few of the essentials.

POLICE SCANNER: The source of all of our breaking news reports, we employ a number of these units to scan various agencies throughout the valley. We have them anywhere we are, even in our vehicles.




HD CAMERA: The eyes and ears of our news reports. Our high definition cameras bring broadcast quality images to your television, computer screen, or mobile device. They shoot high quality video straight to a quick and friendly format that is ready to be edited in moments.




MACBOOK PRO: CVTV has been produced on Apple products since day 1. They are fast, durable and the go to machine for mobile video editing.




CLEAR MODEM: The lifeline to staying connected on the go. This allows us to post video reports, articles, and other content from anywhere in the valley. Clear has been a sponsor and supporter of CVTV for several years now.




MAGNUM BOOTS: From critical incidents to street festivals, we're on our feet for long hours on end. Comfort is a major determining factor on our performance, so we depend on boots from Magnum to do our job.




BALLISTIC VEST: Just an insurance policy during critical incidents where risk is a factor.

Friday, 22 June 2012 03:30

Observe And Report - The Culture Of CVTV

Written by

There's something about the smell of steel grinding against steel and an overheating engine that makes you believe you're about to get "the shot." It's a game of cat and mouse with the speedometer and rpm gauge during a race to keep up with a pursuit, or get to a scene on time.

90% of the time, we're successful in getting that shot.

Welcome to the central valley, from a news photographer's perspective. Late night drives through rough neighborhoods, missing out on meals, and ears glued to radio traffic. Sometimes the air is so thick with imminent breaking news we can smell it.

On several occasions, those late night drives have dropped us right into the lap of our next report. Rescuers cutting drivers out of twisted metal on the freeway from a bad car accident. Police responding to a shootout to keep the neighborhood safe. Joe Somebody climbing a tree at a neighborhood park to get a little girl's cat.

Although we don't like to say we've seen it all, we certainly have seen a lot. The ugly, the bad, but most importantly, the good. There is good in everything that we report every day. Firefighters risking their lives to extinguish a burning building. Police officers working hard to bring a wanted criminal to justice. No matter how negative the situation, there is always something positive that we see in it.

Breaking news is never about exploiting our community, it's about keeping it informed. It's a tool to help your neighbor, the air conditioning repair man, to keep safe and hydrated on hot summer days. Or your co-worker, the delivery driver to drive cautiously on the roads and reach his destination on time.

Why do we do it? The answer is simple. The central valley deserves it. We are at least 80 miles in every direction of the nearest TV station. A gas leak in the Arden Arcade area doesn't affect us. Neither does the wildfire in Lake Tahoe, or the chain big box store that just opened up in Roseville. Our region deserves more than 2 minutes a day on the evening news. That is where we do our best to fill that void.

Our instincts have guided us to discover that an audience wants news as it's happening. Not at a dinner schedule. News to us is now, immediate. Otherwise, it would probably be called olds. We've become highly successful in building an audience that recognizes value in our service, and for that we are thankful to you.

We're often asked "How do you eat?" At the end of the day, our passion is still our business. We depend on sponsors and advertisers in our community to help us deliver our message. We're excited to be on over 32 platforms ranging from the web to television to mobile devices to broaden our reach. We track tens of thousands of views per week bringing last months hit count to nearly a quarter million views.

We're an ever evolving service that looks to continue to serve our valued community.