By Leslie Jones
Cassandra Jaramillo is one of this year’s two Jo Caldwell Meyer scholarship winners, and she will receive her award at the 41st Annual Banner Brunch on Saturday, April 12 at the Radisson Hotel and Suites.
Cassandra was selected for her outstanding academic track record and the great dedication with which she pursues multimedia journalism. Cassandra is a sophomore at the University of Texas. She presently interns at NBC – KXAN News, and she spent last summer in Beaumont at CBS affiliate KFDM. She is also a reporter at Texas Student Television’s Good Morning Texas and an online producer for KVR News.
Here, Cassandra shares a few thoughts about the road ahead.
WCA: Why did you decide to pursue multimedia journalism?
CJ: I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a reporter. When I was in middle school I asked permission to give the first broadcast to the entire school. Although I developed my journalism chops in broadcast first, I decided to pursue a degree in multimedia journalism because I wanted to be a versatile journalist who could reach readers and viewers on whatever platform they choose.
WCA: Where do you see yourself in the future?
CJ: After graduating college, I see myself starting my career in my hometown community and then trying to move back to the city of Austin if given the opportunity. I want to be a business or political reporter and eventually become the first Mexican primetime news anchor on a network.
WCA: Tell us about an important story you’ve reported.
CJ: The one story that reminded me why I wanted to become a journalist was my coverage on the Young Conservatives of Texas controversy over the “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” game they were going to have on the UT campus. It affected me because as an immigrant myself I thought I understood some of their obstacles and struggles, but hearing personal accounts from undocumented students at UT just really opened my eyes to the adversity these students face each day. I was able to give a voice to undocumented immigrant students on the UT campus and across the nation that day.
WCA: Is there a particular journalist who you look up to?
CJ: One journalist who I look up to is a Hispanic journalist from Univision, Maria Elena Salinas. Like me, Salinas comes from a humble family and immigrated to the United States. It is inspiring to see how her hard work and determination got her to where she is today. She is not afraid to ask the hard questions that journalists have to ask and challenges public officials to be transparent with their citizens. Her delivery and storytelling is something that I hope to emulate as a journalist.
WCA: What has your involvement with Women Communicators of Austin meant to you so far?
CJ: Women Communicators of Austin has given me an opportunity to continue to strive toward my dreams by awarding me the Jo Caldwell Meyer scholarship. As an aspiring female journalist, it is nice to know WCA is there to support me through my professional endeavors.