The Philadelphia Inquirer’s City Editor shows no compassion on Twitter for laid off workers

My topic today is Nancy Phillips. I don’t like calling out journalists, but in this case I have to. Phillips ranks high on my “Shame on You” list.

Recently 46 journalists lost their jobs at The Daily News, and The Inquirer. The massive layoffs were a move by the Philadelphia Media Network to save money and merge all platforms into one newsroom.

No one likes seeing anyone lose a job. I feel for the 46 journalists who are out of work and that includes my friend, Regina Medina. She’s one of the best investigative reporters in the country.

But what really got under my skin was a tweet by The Philadelphia Inquirer’s City Editor Nancy Phillips.  Just days after the massive layoffs, Phillips bragged about a fancy meal on her Twitter page. Where was her compassion for the journalists out of work wondering how they were going to pay for their next meal?



I hope management at the Media Network does something about Phillip’s callous statement. She should apologize on Twitter to those she has hurt with her tweet.  Yes this hurts!


Now is the time to show compassion for those who lost their jobs, and figure out a way to help them get work. Nancy Phillips you’re lucky you have a job, but we now know you’re a manager who has no compassion for your fellow journalists.  Shame on you!



Mercado Bilingüe, the small Dallas newspaper with a big vision for our Latino community

It’s nice to see that two of my stories have made the front page of  Mercado Bilingüe’s online site. One was about the impact of Pope Francis’ visit and the other about a Texas group fighting to get water breaks for construction workers.

But this blog is actually a big shout out to Mercado Bilingüe and Editor-and-Chief Phillip Morales who allows me to write opinion pieces and cover stories that affect our DFW Latino community. Something I’ve always wanted to do as a journalist.

A while back I realized Mercado Bilingüe was making an impact in North Texas. It is a small weekly newspaper but one with a big vision. The vision is to cover stories that mainstream media often ignores. Stories that are impacting Latinos and their families. You can also read Mercado Bilingüe online.

When I worked in local television news in Dallas, doing a positive story on Latinos was nearly impossible. Breaking news and blood and guts feeds the local television news beast every day. The only Latinos I covered as a TV reporter were those accused of committing a crime or victims. I also covered many immigration stories. That was my job and I was good at it.

But Latinos are more than stories about immigration and undocumented workers.  We’re business leaders, scientists, doctors, lawyers, community leaders, teachers, fundraisers and much more. We are contributing every day in local neighborhoods and businesses.

Today small news outlets around the country like Mercado Bilingüe are giving readers, even non-Latinos a good and important choice. Would you rather watch another local crime story on television or read a story in Mercado Bilingüe that can inspire and empower you as a person?

I also applaud Morales for embracing this veteran news woman. At a time when many news managers are actually posting jobs that read “Looking for a young eager reporter to cover…”, Morales realizes that age has nothing to do with good journalism.

Funny story, a local newspaper manager turned me down for work because he claimed I didn’t have enough newspaper experience.  My decades of experience in television news didn’t count for him. Yes, doors are closed even for women like me with 50 journalism awards and nominations.

My last bit of good news, I will be covering the 2016 Presidential race for Mercado Bilingüe. I love politics. As Latinos we are a huge voting block and I will be finding out what the candidates have planned for us.

I am my father’s daughter; what I learned from a true leader

Photo courtesy: UAW

Photo courtesy: UAW

I was thinking about my dad today and how proud he would be that I stand up for what I believe is right, and when I feel people are being wronged. My father, Alfredo Aguilar was an immigrant from Mexico, raised a family of five kids, and became a union organizer, migrant rights activist, and civil rights leader. He also had the first Spanish-language radio program “Fiesta Latina” in northwest Ohio. Yes, a super multi-tasker.

I often heard him in his broken English defending the little guy or gal. Whether he was addressing a room of 3,000 union members or defending a group of migrant workers, my father knew how to lead by inspiration. He was always looking out for the worker not getting fair pay, the person of color being discriminated, and even women who were not getting equal opportunities. Most of the time he was the only voice, unafraid to use it when it was not the popular thing to do. And let me say he made an impact.

When he died in 1981, his funeral was packed with people, and they didn’t stop coming for two days. Everyone had a story about how he made a difference. I think he would be very proud of me today…unafraid, a voice for the people.

RIP Papi.

Feel free to share and inspire another leader in the making.

Re-evaluate your life, get your priorities right, and be a good person

Fellowship Dallas

Fellowship Dallas

I got my dose of inspiration today. My pastor says re-evaluate your life and get your priorities right. Be a good person.
My thoughts… don’t get caught up in status, money, selfies and even how many followers you have on social media.

Get out of your ego.

Be a person who helps those who are in pain or suffering. Look for those in need of support especially when others have turned their backs on them.

Have courage to stand up for what you feel is wrong even when it’s not the popular thing to do.

Volunteer your time to help organizations help other people. Never say “no” to those who turn to you for advice or ask for mentoring. Always make time for people who need your help. Even 10 minutes of your time can give someone hope.

I was recently at a journalism conference and kept hearing “You look so happy.” It’s true and that’s because I believe in God. That simple. He gave me talent and a fearless heart. I am a success today because of him. He has surrounded me with the right people too.

Remember today you are here… tomorrow God may say “Time to come home.”

You can make a difference. Your life counts.
Please share. Have a great week !

Until next time,


One year anniversary of the 43 missing students in Mexico, they will not be forgotten

Social media today is connecting people around the world who want answers and justice for the families of the 43 students who disappeared in Mexico one year ago. Protests are going on all over Mexico and even in the United States.


If you’re not familiar with what happened to these students. Please watch this short video by AJ+

Monica Ortiz wrote on Facebook.

September 26th marks the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of the 43 students from la normal Ayotzinapa in Iguala, Mexico. I stand in solidarity with the families that are still left with no justice over such a tragic event, still with so many questions that remain unanswered. Today, I am proud of my daughter Gabby, for taking part in the vigil and standing for 43 minutes in representation of the normalistas who were brutally abducted and murdered. She and 42 other student demonstrators held up painted hands and signs with “43+” on them. Today, we mourn the loss of these students and share in the grief their families are still enduring.


Protests are everywhere.


More stories:

BBC: Mexico’s missing Iguala students: The disappeared 43

Al Jazeera:Remember Ayotzinapa Superb coverage of each of the families of the victims.

Proud to continue serving on the SPJ Fort Worth board

SPJFW members at #EIJ15

SPJFW members: (L-R) Eddye Gallaghar, Britney Tabor, Kay Pirtle, Rebecca Aguilar, Kim Pewitt-Jones

I am proud to announce that I have been re-elected to serve as Vice President of Membership for the Society of Professional Journalists, Fort Worth Chapter.

SPJFW continues to be a big voice for journalists in North Texas. It helps us find jobs, keep jobs, get the training we need to keep us sharp in the field and it also protects us when we need it as journalists.  SPJFW also helps students fund their education in journalism and mentors those who are getting in the business. We follow the lead of SPJ, our national organization.

Recently, I was fortunate to attend the Excellence in Journalism Conference #EIJ15 in Orlando as one of our chapter’s voting delegate.   One issue tabled until next year is whether to change the name of the organization.  I don’t want a name change, but I’ll leave that for  another blog.




I have served on the SPJFW board since 2011, and have also served on two national committee. SPJ is a great place to make contacts and continue growing as a journalist.

If you’re a journalist in North Texas, I welcome you to join SPJFW. Visit our website – SPJFW and explore.




5-year-old Sophie Cruz, child of undocumented immigrants tells Pope Francis “I have the right to be happy”

Sophie Cruz Screenshot: Univision

Sophie Cruz
Screenshot: Univision

When Pope Francis heads back to the Vatican, he will leave with a hand-written letter from five-year-old Sophie Cruz. The daughter of undocumented immigrants was able to break through security Wednesday to get to the Pope during his visit to Washington D.C.

Sophie and her family had traveled with an immigration advocacy group from California to see Pope Francis. The Mexican-American girl had a mission to let Pope Francis know she lives in fear as the child of undocumented workers.

Sophie had a brief face-to-face meeting with the Pope and before she left him she handed him a yellow t-shirt with a letter. She later told  Univision in Spanish about what she wrote in the letter. Here’s a translation:





My name is Sophie Cruz. I am 5-years-old. I am an American citizen with Mexican roots. I live in Los Angeles, California in the heart of the culture. My parents are from Ixtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Pope Francis I want to tell you that my heart is very sad because I am afraid that one day ICE will deport my parents. I have the right to live with my parents. I have the right to be happy.

My father works very hard in a factory. All immigrants like my father help this country, they deserve to live with dignity. They deserve to be respected. They deserve immigration reform. They deserve this in my country.

They have earned it and have worked very hard picking oranges, onions, watermelons, melons, spinach, lettuce and many other vegetables.

Don’t forget about us children, especially those who suffer because they don’t have their parents, because of the war, violence and hunger.


According to the Pew Research Center: In 2012, there were 4 million unauthorized immigrant adults living with their U.S.-born children.


Sophie put her home address on the letter she handed to Pope Francis. Here’s hoping he writes her back.


Young girl breaks through security to get closer to Pope Francis, and she gives him a message about all immigrant children

Screenshot: Telemundo

Screenshot: Telemundo

As I was watching live news coverage of Pope Francis’ visit in Washington D.C., a little girl caught my attention.

Today the world will be talking about this girl, daughter of immigrants and how she was able to see Pope Francis face-to-face.

A man named Raul told Telemundo he was an immigrant and the father of the little girl named “Sophie.” He said he and his family were hoping to get a glimpse of Pope Francis as he passed by them on a Washington D.C. street lined with thousands of people.

Raul’s daughter broke through heavy security in excitement as the Pope mobile got closer. Secret Service and the Pope’s security tried to get Sophie back behind the barricades, but she kept trying to get the Pope’s attention as his vehicle drove by.

Pope Francis saw Sophie and waved security to bring her to him. Security quickly rushed the girl to the Pope and he gave her a soft hug and kiss on the head. Sophie wrapped her little arm around his neck. Then as security placed her back on the ground on her feet, the little girl quickly turn back to the pope and handed him a letter and yellow t-shirt.

Screenshot: Telemundo

Screenshot: Telemundo

Her father told Telemundo that the letter was asking Pope Francis to help all immigrant children in the world. He said that immigrants in the U.S. need protection from violence, racism and especially against people who have hate for immigrants. Sophie’s father told Telemundo that he is an immigrant who goes out to work everyday, and works hard to provide for his family.

One tenacious little girl has touched the heart of Pope Francis and has spoken for immigrant families struggling today in the U.S.

Sophie has made a difference.

Here’s a short Instagram video of the girl’s father talking to Telemundo right after the special moment between the Pope and Sophie. (Video)

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about Sophie and her family for days to come.

Update:  According to CBS News, the little girl is 5-year-old Sophie Cruz. She’s from South Gate, California.

Gamers flush out hoaxer on WSB-TV; station retracts story about gamer claiming to know Virginia killer

Screenshot: YouTube

A few days after the WDBJ-TV news crew was gunned down during a live report in Virginia, someone in Atlanta, GA decided to take advantage of the situation. My Twitter blew up with gamers (people who play video games online) telling me about a guy in Atlanta who had played a hoax on WSB-TV.

The guy told a local reporter that he was a gamer who had communicated with the killer, Bryce Williams AKA Vester Flanagan. He claimed that he had chatted online with Flanagan for a few years while they played video games.

The guy did not allow WSB-TV to use his name or show his face. He also told the reporter that the killer supported something called the “GamerGate” community.

First of all what is “GamerGate?” The reporter stuck that term in the story. The guy told her it was a group. Another issue that angered gamers who knew this guy was a fake.

For nongamers, “GamerGate” is a confusing controversy within the gaming world.  Unless you’re a hardcore gamer, you won’t have a clue about “GamerGate.” But it was obvious that the hoaxer used that term to shed a negative light on other gamers. Several gamers told me the WSB story had red flags all over it from the screenshots to the soundbites the guy gave the reporter.

The guy also claimed the way in how Flanagan killed the two journalists was very much like a video game he played with him.  My gamer sources say the guy knew that the media loved a story that connected violence with video games.  Again information feeding into the stereotype that all gamers are violent people. Not true.

The station promoted the interview as an “exclusive” and the hoaxer ended up on the evening news. The WSB story spread quickly via social media within the gamer world.  Many gamers knew the guy had duped the station. 


I told many gamers who complained to me via Twitter to contact WSB-TV, but they needed solid proof the guy was a fake. I have to admit many of us journalists do not  know the gamer world. Very few of us cover it.


I recently started looking into the gaming world and realize that community does not trust the media.  Many say they’ve been burned by several writers who exclusively report on the gaming world. That’s another blog.

So it took me the power of persuasion to get many of these gamers from around the country to contact WSB-TV to tell them what they knew about the hoaxer. I recommended they tell other gamers to contact the station with their own facts.

Many of these gamers do not like the limelight and tend not to use their real names online because of privacy reasons. I told them they had to come forward before this guy got the attention of another reporter.

My Tweeter

My Tweeter

My Tweeter


The gamers came through and WSB-TV retracted the story and apologized for its mistake.  I’m not sure if WSB  reported the retraction on television, but that usually is proper procedure. If the mistake happened on television, the apology is done on TV too.

Here is part of the statement WSB-TV posted on their website on Friday, Sept. 4:

“We had an onslaught of emails and calls from online gamers saying we’d been duped. Among other things, they questioned that profile. This week, we asked a Georgia Tech scientist, who is also a gamer, to analyze the profile and other screenshots the man showed us.  Our expert determined the profile had not been active long enough to support the man’s claim he’d known Flanagan three years. He found problems with other screenshots, enough to conclude the man’s story was not true.  As a result we are retracting the story. We apologize for any confusion it caused.” 

Kudos to the gamers who came forward to help WSB-TV get to the bottom of the hoax.  This guy was out to damage for the thrill of it.  But most of all he was out to hurt the gamers who are mostly in the sport to play, have fun and network with others online. Yes, playing video games is called a sport today.


I applaud WSB-TV for retracting the story and apologizing.  But what happened to WSB is bound to happen again to another news media outlet. We have to remember to be on alert to a “low life” who get thrills from the pain of others. And they will do anything to get their mug or name in the news.

I don’t know how the station in Atlanta vetted the guy before he got on television. But if you’re a journalist learn from what happened to WSB.

As journalists we need to slow down when collecting the facts. Get two or three sources.  When someone says do not use my name or show my face, dig deeper on the “why not?” Do not be in a hurry to be “first” or have an “exclusive” even on social media.

These “low lifes” do not care about victims in a story. They do not care about the reputation of a reporter or a media outlet.  If this happened to me, I would be suing the hoaxer. I would go through legal channels to make him pay for hurting my reputation.

A big thank you to the gamers who helped WSB-TV flush out the fake. We need to work together to get the truth out.

Until next time!


Source: WSB-TV statement

10-year-old girl has fun with NFL players; her questions leave some speechless

Screenshot: YouTube

Screenshot: YouTube

I see a future reporter in Isabella Day. Check out this cute 10-year-old girl who the NFL brought in as a special correspondent to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Sunday Night Football on NBC.  Isabella had fun with the NFL players, but also had a few questions that left some of them surprised and speechless.

The new season starts September 13.


Now we need to send Isabella to a Donald Trump press conference. I wonder how long she would last?

It’s all in fun.

Happy 99th National Park Service! Discover 408 national parks

Today the National Park Service celebrates 99 years. Happy Birthday!

Did you know there are  408 national parks ? I’ve only been to about 25 of them in Arizona, Ohio, Texas, South Dakota, New York, California and Washington D.C.

Visiting Mount Rushmore

Visiting Mount Rushmore in August 2015


I have a lot of discovering to do. As I look at the list of parks in every state, I keep thinking I need to see Mother nature’s beauty, and learn about the history behind each park. I can’t wait to explore more. Maybe I need to take a national park tour from one side of the country to the other and Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam and Virgin Islands.  I’ll have to talk my husband into it.

Here are a few photos of National parks I have visited so far. As a reporter I’m curious all the time, and I love taking photo. Enjoy!


The Badlands in South Dakota

The Badlands, SD Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

The Badlands, SD
Photo by Rebecca Aguilar



Montezuma Castle in Arizona

Montezuma Castle Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Montezuma Castle
Photo by Rebecca Aguilar


The Grand Canyon in Arizona

Grand Canyon, AZ Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Grand Canyon, AZ
Photo by Rebecca Aguilar


Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington D.C. 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
Photo by Rebecca Aguilar



Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. 

Lincoln Memorial Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Lincoln Memorial
Photo by Rebecca Aguilar



Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Photo by Rebecca Aguilar


Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
Photo by Rebecca Aguilar



Other Online Resources:

National Park Service website

List of national parks by state – page

The world embraces President Carter who has been diagnosed with cancer

Cartoon by Mike Luckovich

Cartoon by Mike Luckovich

Our 39th President, Jimmy Carter has cancer, and it has spread.  But the 90-year-old plans to fight it with treatment in Atlanta.

Today this cartoon got my attention. Mike Luckovich is the editorial cartoonist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He told CNN on Thursday that he was working on another cartoon when he heard the news about President Carter. “I kept thinking I really want to do something about him, because he’s such an amazing person, and he means a lot to me and to people all over the world, so I just kept thinking what can I do? What can I do? And I just arrived at this cartoon and I ran out to my editor and said listen I have an idea to do on President Carter, he said OK and so I did it…” says Luckovich.

The cartoonist also told CNN that in the past, President Carter had invited him and his family  to meet with him. “It was just an amazing thing. You know there aren’t many people in this world that you can attach the world ‘saintly’ to, but I really think with President Carter you can, because he is such a giving person and throughout his life he has never stopped helping other people.”

Thank you Mike for a wonderful and meaningful cartoon. I agree, President Carter has been about giving back to the world. May our prayers lift him up and comfort him during this time.



Mike Luckovich  Gallery of Cartoons

Atlanta Journal-Constitution website

News story: Plains struggles with news of Jimmy Carter’s Cancer

President Carters statement about his cancer: Statement

Mailman makes wish come true for Utah boy who could not afford books

Books are piling up in the home of Matthew Flores in Sandy, Utah. Thanks to his mailman and the help of strangers around the world, Matthew is getting all kinds of books.

At an age when most kids are hooked on their video games and smartphones, all this 12-year-old loves to do is read. He loves to read anything he can get his hands on including junk mail.

Matthew met his mailman Ron Lynch last week. He told Lynch he couldn’t afford to buy books or get a bus pass to go the local library. Lynch decided to post Matthew’s story on Facebook and his plea for help went viral.

Screenshot: Facebook

Screenshot: Facebook


The young boy’s story not only spread on social media, but it also got the attention of local TV station. Here is a story by Local 12 News in Salt Lake City.



It is Christmas in July for young Matthew Flores. But a big thanks goes to Ron Lynch who took the time to stop during his busy day to listen to a little boy in need.  Here’s is one of Lynch’s latest Facebook updates.


Screenshot: Facebook

If you’d like to send Matthew some books, please send them to:

Matthew Flores, ℅ Sandy Post Office, 8850 S 700 e, Sandy, UT 84070


54 Twitter photos of Donald Trump’s visit to Laredo, TX

Donald Trump’s was met at the airport in Laredo,TX by dozens of reporters and also protesters. Here are 54 photos taken by the media and Laredo citizens during Trump’s stop in the border city. See the collection of Twitter and Instragram photos: 54 PHOTOS 

Screenshot: Twitter

Screenshot: Twitter


Pregnant woman delivers her own baby in the car on the way to the hospital

Lesha PettiJohn of Lake Jackson, TX deserves the Mother of The Year award. She had a 10 pound baby on the way to a birthing center.

Yes, 10 pounds.

Her husband was driving and was able to record the birth with his GoPro. There is nothing revealing or hard to watch. It’s a beautiful moment.



Congrats to Lesha and her husband. They have two other children at home.


34 Years and Counting: Still kicking it in journalism

This month I celebrate 34 years as a reporter. Today I still have the same passion for news that I had when I started in the business in 1981. I didn’t get into journalism to become rich, but I have been given a richness of experiences that money can’t buy.

In the coming weeks I will share more about my 34 year journey so far in news. I’ve been hired and fired. I’ve made a salary so low I could have applied for government help. It’s true. I’ve also made great money in the six figures.

I have had great mentors, and have mentored many who have gotten into the business. I’ve seen many great journalists leave the business because they were discouraged or burned out. I have also seen others continuing to push on in a business that has changed and forced them to work longer hours for less money.

Along the way I have had opportunities to do some amazing stories and meet interesting and courageous people. And yes, I have also interviewed many politicians, entertainers, community leader and criminals.

Journalists are messengers, and that’s what I do.  Real journalists care about the story, not whether they have enough “likes” on their Facebook page. Real journalists are constantly looking for the next story.

I’m proud to be a real journalist and today a freelancer. That means I’m my own boss.

Stay tuned for more.



#HonorThem: Share a photo of those who you are honoring this #MemorialDay weekend

Who will you be honoring this Memorial Day?  The U.S. Department of Defense has a great idea.

Share it on Twitter. #MemorialDay #HonorThem

The ultimate survivor, my mother

On this Mother’s Day I celebrate the life of my own mother, Rebecca. Every time I speak to groups of women, I always share the story of my mother. A survivor in many ways.


The wonderful artwork of Johannes Stötter


Johannes Stötter uses the human body as his canvas.

His work is amazing, surprising, and just beautiful.

Just watch this video “Chameleon” and experience an “aha” moment.

Have a good day!

My “aha” moment, inducted into Napoleon High School’s Hall of Fame

Today I was inducted into the Napoleon High School’s Hall of Fame. Not many people realize that I was raised in the small rural town of Napoleon, Ohio. It now has a population of just over 8,700 residents.

Today was a big “aha” moment for me, because I never thought I would be recognized with such a great honor. I was a “C” average kid, never ran with the “popular” kids, wasn’t involved in any high school extracurricular activities (band, track, cheerleading.)  I went to school, did the best I could and didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do in life.

Now 39 years later, it felt good to be recognized for having a distinguished career in journalism. I’m proof that life has interesting turns and results. I’m very thankful that a plaque with my life story will now hang in the hallway for all the students to see. I hope it will inspire many teenagers to just go for it!

Thanks to Kim Cordes from the NorthWest Signal newspaper for nominating me, and thank you to the NHS Hall of Fame committee for awarding me this wonderful recognition.

I’ll never forget today. Definitely a highlight in my life.

The dancing skeletons and the video that proves love is universal

I want to end this week with a video that will make you feel good. It starts off in sunny southern California, mix in a little piano and then a big screen parked in the middle of somewhere. Suddenly you see two skeletons dancing, embracing, kissing and then the “ah-ha” moments.


Don’t forget…

Love has no gender
Love has no race
Love has no disability
Love has no age
Love has no religion

ABC News promotes Latinos to weekend anchors and 2016 election team

Big changes at ABC News.

The network announced today that two Latinos, Cecilia Vega and Tom Llamas have been promoted to anchor ABC’s “World News Tonight” Saturday and Sunday editions.  Both are accomplished award-winning journalists with a resume of experience.

Also announced today: Vega, Llamas and Senior National Correspondent, Jim Avila have been named to ABC’s 2016 Presidential Election Team.

In my opinion this is HUGE!

Two Latinos named to anchor weekend news at the same time has to be a first in media history, and definitely at ABC News. Yes, Elizabeth Vargas filled the seat on her own a few years ago.

Naming three Latinos to the prestigious presidential election team has to be a first too. In 2012 you hardly saw any Latino journalists assigned to election coverage on any of the network or cable channels.  Jim Avila will be a great addition because he can cover any story and he knows politics. He’s also currently Fusion’s White House correspondent.

The promotion of Vega, Llamas, and Avila is a big deal to the Latino community, because finally we’re seeing people that look like us on network news and on big assignments. I’ve been watching network news for decades and finally I’m seeing good change.

ABC News has done a great job of hiring more qualified Latino journalists and now the promotions of these three correspondents is a sign that we are being included in all areas of network news. Congrats to Cecilia, Jim and Tom!  I know they’ll continue to do outstanding work.

More information:

ABC News announcement of promotions

Jim Avila biography

Tom Llamas biography 

Cecilia Vega biography




Cedar Hill Police ‘Live in your Moment’ video spoofs Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln commercial

Photo Courtesy: Screenshot

Police departments in North Texas are showing the world they do have a sense of humor.

My last blog was about the Arlington Police Department having fun on Twitter and Facebook with the snowfall in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. They questioned Disney’s Queen Elsa.

Now the Cedar Hill Police Department has posted their “Live in your moment” video featuring Sgt. Larry Wise.  It’s the department’s spoof of Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln commercial.

Creative, funny, and worth a watch.


Thanks Sgt. Wise for the laugh! I can’t wait to hear what McConaughey thinks about the spoof.



Let me know what you think of the video.

Rebecca Aguilar

Arlington Police question Queen Elsa during the North Texas Snowfall

As the snow piled up in the Dallas/Fort Worth area on Friday, and traffic came to a standstill on most roads and highways; Arlington Police thought about having a little fun on social media.

They asked on Twitter and Facebook “So who is responsible for all this cold weather and snow today?” Well it had to be Disney’s Queen Elsa. The rest will give you a laugh.


Courtesy: APD Facebook

Courtesy: APD Facebook


Image courtesy: APD Facebook

Image courtesy: APD Facebook

By the way, Arlington Police told me on Twitter that the woman dressed as “Queen Elsa” is one of their own detectives. Thanks APD for having fun today.


The Best 2015 Super Bowl commercials: #LikeAGirl, Lost Dog, Pay with Lovin, #RealStrength

After watching most of the 2015 Super Bowl commercials, I have to say the ones with emotional ties were the most memorable. And although she’s considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, putting Kim Kardashian in your ad doesn’t mean you’ll even remember it when it’s over.  I wasn’t wowed by any of the ads with celebrities. Some were good, but my best picks made me laugh, tear up or left me empowered.

Here are my Top 5 best picks and there is one tie. Enjoy!

Top Picks was a tie – Always #LikeAGirl and McDonald’s Pay with Lovin




#2 Budweiser’s “Lost Dog”



#3 Bud Lights Real Life PacMan #UpforWhatever


#4 Snickers Brady Bunch


#5 Dove’s #RealStrength  

Bruno Mars moved to tears by Dallas High School’s ‘UpTown Funk’ video

YouTube Screenshot

YouTube Screenshot

The tech students at A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School in Dallas have made Bruno Mars one happy man, so happy the Grammy award-winner was moved to tears.

Mars recently got to see the high school student’s choreographed dance video to his collaborated hit “UpTown Funk” with Mark Ronson.  School Director and Theatre Arts teacher Scot Pankey and his students had fun producing this video. They danced their way through the school.

Pankey posted on his Facebook “So proud of my kids. We filmed this in one take! This is a great example of how a bunch of technology students dropped their fears, trusted their teacher and got down to Uptown Funk!!!!”

The video just posted a few days ago already has more than 3 million views.


Bruno Mars showed his appreciation to the teacher and students on Twitter.



What a great way to inspire students. Kudos to Scot Pankey and the school administration who allowed it to happen.  Here’s hoping they get on  Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen or even The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.



2015 will be the year to declutter my life at home, work and on the web

I don’t have a long list of New Year’s resolutions. A list has never worked for me.  I keep it simple and it’ll be that way in 2015.  My aim is to declutter my life at home, at work and on the web. Along the way I hope to get more organized and make my life more simple.

Jerry Seinfeld on the Tonight Show inspired me to get on this declutter project. He recently told the audience that his wife likes to collect everything and he’s the opposite. I’m like his wife. I collect a lot of stuff and am afraid to throw anything away because “I may need it in the future.”

I’m not a hoarder, but its time to get down to the basics and get rid of a bunch of “stuff.”  And I’m not wasting anytime.  I got up early on this first day of 2015, and got to work.

I started by going through more than 100 books on my shelves at home. I got down to about 30 books worth keeping, the rest I plan to donate. I’m not done with my books, but it’s a start.  I have to admit it was rather liberating. I figure if I do a little bit every day, by next year my life should be leaner.



If you’re like me you have hundreds of emails, lots of Facebook friends, and files all over the place on your computer. That’s another place where I plan to declutter my life, which is also connected not only to my personal side but my career as well.

Today I got rid of more than 1,000 emails that I had held on to for a long time. No idea why, but it just happened. I still have more than 3,000 to go and that’s just on one email account.  There was a sense of freedom when I trashed all those email.

It’s time to clean house on my Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts. I need to surround myself in the virtual world with  people who really engage with me, and are not just observing my life as I put it out there on social media. I know some people love to have thousands of followers and friends, but I want more than “numbers.”  So if for some reason you find yourself off my social media, I hope you understand. I probably didn’t hear from you in a while, and I’m sure you won’t miss me.

I will make progress every day as I work to simplify my life. Wish me luck!


Dallas Morning News recognizes Cara Mia Theatre’s ‘Zoot Suit’ as one of the top shows in 2014

Photo Courtesy:  Cara Mia Theatre

Photo Courtesy:
Cara Mia Theatre

Congratulations to the Cara Mia Theatre company’s directors, cast, crew and design team who made ‘Zoot Suit’ a huge success. The live show has been recognized as one of the best in 2014 by the Dallas Morning News.

Arts and Entertainment reporter, Nancy Churnin named ‘Zoot Suit‘ as one of her top 10 best shows this year.  I have to agree. Ok full disclosure, I’m a board member with Cara Mia. Maybe that’s why I feel like a proud mom today. I loved ‘Zoot Suit.’ I saw it twice and it made me cry, laugh and think of how similar the storyline was to situations happening today.

As Churnin put it in the DMN:

This 35-year-old musical proved eerily apt as the rallies it depicts protesting the treatment of Latinos in the 1940s opened in the midst of rallies protesting the treatment of African-Americans. It’s part of a strong year for Cara Mía, now in the midst of its first five-play season. (more)

I know nothing about acting, and I definitely can’t sing. What I do have is a passion for keeping Latino theater alive in North Texas.  I’ve learned a lot about the theater world in my short time as a board member.  Everyone involved in these live performances is deeply committed. Three of the hardest working people at Cara Mia are David Lozano (Executive Artistic Director), Ariana Cook (Administrative Director) and Casie Pierce (Development Manager).  Thank you for your passion, energy and hard work.

Cara Mia Theatre has more live productions in 2015. Don’t miss out on the live shows. Check out the theater company’s website and see what will be on stage next. Cara Mia Theatre



WBFF-TV’s “kill a cop” video was a big mistake, angered viewers, and hurt journalists

WBFF-TV has done major damage with a deceptive video it aired on Sunday.  The Fox affiliate in Baltimore apologized for the video on Monday, but viewers are still angry.

Gawker broke the story. It reported:

Baltimore’s WBFF aired a video of protesters chanting “kill a cop”– evidence, it claimed, of murderously violent rhetoric on the part of anti-brutality protesters in Washington, D.C. The only problem? The protesters weren’t chanting “kill a cop” at all, and there’s video evidence to prove it. (read more at Gawker)

Here’s the video of the Justice For All march:



Here’s WBFF-TV version of the event:





Facebook Screenshot

Facebook Screenshot




Facebook Screenshots

Facebook Screenshots



I’ve worked in TV news for more than 28 years. There are layers of producers and managers who oversee everything that goes into each newscast.  Managers usually sign-off on a scripts before the video is edited. How did this script slide by?  In TV news we’re all responsible for what goes on the air.

WBFF’s actions have lost the viewer’s trust. I feel for those on the news team who will be hurt by this video and had nothing to do with it. I’ve read posts on the stations Facebook page.  Viewers are to put it bluntly–pissed off and want heads to roll.

Let’s be honest, WBFF’s actions also hurt the rest of us journalists. We work very hard every day to be factual and fair  in our reporting. We can’t risk losing our loyal readers, viewers and listeners when we know they have many news sources to choose from.

With one video, WBFF left a trail of damage.

Now I hope the news director comes out with an explanation because the “honest misunderstanding” excuse is not good enough.  If people are not held accountable for this major mistake, then I hope news management provides the Sunday staff training to avoid any future problems.



DOJ will not force NY Times reporter James Risen to reveal confidential source

James Risen is probably feeling relieved today.

NBC News reports that Attorney General Eric Holder has decided not to force Risen to reveal the name of a confidential source. He wrote a book that detailed a botched CIA effort to sabotage Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Risen was also was facing jail time. Earlier this year, he told 60 Minutes he would never give up his source. Every reporter should watch his interview with Leslie Stahl.




Be thankful every day for everyone who makes a difference in your life

My wonderful husband & son

This year I decided to take the day off from cooking Thanksgiving dinner. We got a great meal at Boston Market, brought it home and enjoyed it together as a family. Since I didn’t have to cook over a hot stove and wash a bunch of dishes, I thought I’d sit down and talk about being thankful.

I’m thankful everyday for the people who have affected my life, past and present. And I make sure I let them know as often as I can.

Thank you to my family, especially my husband John. I would not be the success I am today if it wasn’t for his support, and for always allowing me to just be me. I don’t know how many times I have told him this year “I’m going out-of-town for a meeting” or “Sorry can’t have lunch with you this weekend I have a board meeting.” I’m also thankful to my son, Alex and “Pops” my father-in-law for just being loving people.

I’m thankful for dozens of friends who have my back through thick and thin, especially Bonnie Pardon, Joanna Hernandez, Genny Espinoza, Ann Bacchus, Saul Garza and Pam I. to name a few.

Thank you to board of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. They’re all volunteers who give their time to make NAHJ a stronger and better journalism organization. I’m also a board member and have learned a lot from leaders like President Mekahlo Medina and former president Hugo Balta.

NAHJ board & members

I’m thankful to all the NAHJ members who have been with us through good and challenging times. They are the backbone of the organization. I also appreciate everyone who voted for me to once again lead as VP of Online. Their trust and respect means the world to me.

I’m thankful to the board of the Society of Professional Journalists Fort Worth Chapter. I also serve on this board. Another group of journalists who volunteer their time to keep our business alive. We are a small board, but with the energy of a giant.

I’m thankful to all the journalists around the world who continue to push forward in this challenging business. I’m especially grateful to the journalists who put themselves in harm’s way to get to the truth, to get to the information they know the public needs to know. Whether you are a reporter in a small city or work for a major newspaper; remember our jobs matters, you matter!

The Texas Daily

The Texas Daily

I’m thankful to everyone who has kept me employed as a freelance reporter. From USA Today,  Latina Style magazine to Mercado Bilingue  to name a few.  After years of reporting car wrecks and house fires, now I can pitch stories that I think need to be told. These are stories that are often ignored by mainstream media.

It’s a nice feeling when media companies trust in what you believe are good stories. A big thank you to Phillip Morales at Mercado Bilingue who allows me to write op-ed (opinion pieces.) He realizes the voice of a Latina does matter. Also thank you KTXD-TV for hiring me to be a commentator on “The Texas Daily.” That was a dream job where I was able to freely give my opinion on “hot topics.” I was on there 13 times and nominated for a 2014 Emmy award. I’m very grateful, and sorry it got cancelled.

I’m thankful to the board of the Cara Mia Theatre. I’m fortunate to part of this group of volunteers who believe in keeping Latino theater alive. I’m proud of the work Executive Director, David Lozano. He and his team are making sure our future Latino generations will be exposed to everything from acting to screenwriting. I’m proud of the productions the theater company performs for the public. Coming soon–Zoot Suit! I can’t wait to see it myself.


Cara Mia Theatre

Cara Mia Theatre

I’m thankful for all the members of my virtual group “Wise Latinas Linked” on Facebook and LinkedIn. Thank you for coming on board to share your experiences, opinions, challenges, successes and advice. Together we are a powerful force. Together we can make a difference in the world of Latinas who give everyday to make us a better society. We continue being the largest Latina networking group on Facebook and LinkedIn with a combined membership of close to 8,000. Social media rocks!

Laredo High School students


Thank you to all the people have invited me to speak to their organization or students. Those who hear my message may think they are learning from me, but as I stand in front of a small or large group of people–I am constantly learning about the wonderful love of mankind. We are here for a purpose, and lets not forget that.

Lastly, I’m very thankful to my mother, Rebecca who has always shown me to have faith in God and everything will fall into place. Mom is never wrong.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Surround yourself with Mother Nature’s beauty through the Florida Wildlife Corridor

Photo courtesy: Florida Wildlife CorridorImagine exploring 1,000 miles over 100 days of Florida’s Everglades, wildlife habitats, and working on farms in ranches. That’s what they did on the Florida Wildlife Corridor‘s first expedition in 2012. The conservation advocacy organization is about to have another expedition in January 2015.

I just learned about this group today when I got an email from the organization about November being Manatee Awareness Month.  The manatee is an endangered species.

What I discovered is that the Florida Wildlife Corridors website is a great resource for journalists who do stories on the environment, wildlife, conservationists and more. It’s a mecca of great information on different topics affecting our environment, especially in Florida.

The Florida Wildlife Corridor is a conservation advocacy organization focused on connecting, protecting and restoring corridors of conserved lands and waters essential for the survival of Florida’s diverse wildlife. The organization showcases the need to protect the missing links in the Corridor, preserve Florida’s waters, and sustain working lands and rural economies from the Everglades to Georgia and Alabama. A dedicated statewide Corridor will benefit wildlife, watersheds and people for generations to come. ”



The organization will start a new expedition on January 10, 2015.   Here’s more from its website:

We will highlight stories of ecological importance, from Longleaf Pine restoration and the health of the Gulf fishery to the survival of the Florida black bear – expanding the statewide corridor vision west to Alabama.”



WVNS-TV News anchor Dan Thorn’s dance moves go viral

Screenshot: YouTube

Screenshot: YouTube

When I saw Dan Thorn‘s videos on YouTube, I thought this guy likes to have fun.  The WVNS-TV news anchor doesn’t sit around looking through his scripts during a commercial break, he cuts loose.  He can dance and lip sync at the same time.

Who says news people are always serious. Not Thorn who has a lot of personality.

His co-anchor is more on the serious side, but he even gets her to crack a smile.


He even made CNN for his dancing.

Can you imagine Anderson Cooper, Matt Lauer or even Scott Pelley doing this?  Yeah, I didn’t  think so.  I can’t wait to Thorn’s next video. Stay tuned.



News Taco: For Texas Latinos, Voting Rights is Voter Education

Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Can you guess how many eligible Latino voters in Texas did not vote in the 2012 elections? 61%

I was surprised by that percentage too. Close to 4 million Latinos were eligible to vote in Texas, but 61 percent chose not too.  That was 2012, but now how do you get them out for the midterm elections?

Everyone knows Texas Latino voters could make a huge difference in many midterm election races if they show up to cast their ballot. But that’s the challenge, getting them to the voting booths.

To get some answers on voter education and motivating Texas Latinos to vote, I talked to the Texas Organizing Project and Civil Rights leader, Dolores Huerta who was in North Texas to make her push for early voting.  Here’s my story for News Taco “For Texas Latinos, Voting Rights is Voter Education.”

If you don’t vote you can’t complain. If you didn’t early vote, don’t forget to vote on November 4, 2014.


Vote Texas

Texas Organizing Project


Do your part on National News Engagement Day,Tuesday, Oct. 7

Photo courtesy: Saul Garza

Photo courtesy: Saul Garza

Get ready to get involved in the news!

Tuesday is National News Engagement Day. You don’t have to be a reporter to be part of this event. It’s the brainchild of AEJMC; a nonprofit, educational association of journalism and mass communication educators, students and media professionals.

Although the public has easy access 24/7 to news through the internet or smartphones, studies show that news is not a priority in the lives of many. I don’t know how many people tell me “I don’t watch the news, it’s too depressing.”  And while many young people may have their heads buried in their phones, that doesn’t mean they are reading the news. A  Pew Research Center survey revealed that 29% of young adults are “newsless.”

AEJMC wants to get the ball rolling and the conversation started about any news on October 7th.  I think it’s a brilliant idea. Think about it? News touches all our lives. Whether we are learning the latest facts about Ebola or even something more light-hearted story such as George Clooney getting married.

News can inspire, educate, empower and inform.   One more thing I have to share. The more you care about the news, the more journalists have job security. I’m not in the news business to get rich, but I love being a reporter. I enjoy being the messenger.

Now get involved. Tuesday, October 7, I am asking all of  you to read, watch, like, tweet, post, listen, comment and talk about the news on this day.  Use the #NewsEngagementDay. Here’s what I posted just now on Instagram.



Oct. 7 Nat’l #NewsEngagementDay How will you get involved?

View on Instagram


If you post an Instagram, I will share it on my blog and social media pages.  Here are some ideas. Take a photo of yourself or someone else watching the news, or maybe someone you caught reading the newspaper at the park. Let’s get involved.

A big thank you to AEJMC for a great idea. I know it will be a huge success!





Department Store pulls ‘Snuggle with a Struggle’ T-shirt

Facebook Screenshot: karen Kunawicz

Facebook Screenshot:
karen Kunawicz

Imagine going to the store to buy clothes for your kids when you see a t-shirt in the boy’s department that reads ‘It’s not rape, It’s a snuggle with a struggle.’ Writer Karen Kunawicz says that’s what happened to her.

Kunawicz was shopping at the SM Supermall in the Philippines. She was so disgusted she took a photo of the t-shirt and posted it on her Facebook page on Sept. 22, and then it went viral. I don’t know if the t-shirts have made it to any stores in the U.S., but the fact that such a piece of clothing exists is unbelievable.

The issue got the attention of the head honchos at the SM Corporate offices in Manila.  They pulled the t-shirt off the shelves and issued a statement. Company officials did not apologize, but said “We do not tolerate such action. SM does not support such irresponsible and malicious acts that mock important and sensitive social issues….”


Screenshot: Facebook

Screenshot: Facebook

photo courtesy: cafepress.comRAPE IS NEVER A JOKE

I’ve covered dozens of rape stories as a reporter. I’ve been in several courtrooms when the victims had to face their attackers.  I know many women and children today who live with the terrible experience of being sexually assaulted.

Did you know that one in 5 women in the U.S. have been raped, and 78 percent of female rape victims were first raped before they were 25-years-old? Those are the facts from the Centers for Disease Control. Also, 2 percent of men have been sexually assaulted.

Now that the SM Corporate bosses have removed the nasty t-shirts from their stores, I hope they replace the t-shirts with ones with strong messages that bring awareness to the issue.  How about ones that read “No means No” or “This is NOT asking For It.”

It’s a start, don’t you think?



“F#%k it, I quit!” reporter Charlo Greene has her 15 minutes of fame or shame?

Greene on KTVA assignment  Photo courtesy: Facebook

Charlo Greene on KTVA assignment in April
Photo courtesy: Facebook

If reporter Charlo Greene wanted her video to go viral. Mission accomplished!

So far her video posted by the Alaska Dispatch has close to 8 million hits and counting. If Greene wanted her name to be mentioned on national TV talk shows. She accomplished that too. Wendy Williams, The View, Fox News are just a few who rolled Greene’s video.

The KTVA-TV reporter in Alaska quit her job Sunday night while she was on-air. Not only did she shock her viewers with “F#@k it, I quit!”, but she also let everyone know she’s the owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, and she plans to help legalize pot in Alaska.

Greene told viewers “Now, everything you’ve heard is why I, the actual owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, will be dedicating all of my energy toward fighting for freedom and fairness, which begins with legalizing marijuana here in Alaska…”

Greene also told that she bought a business license for her cannabis club in April 2014. I noticed that around that time she was doing five-part series for KTVA-TV on examining marijuana legalization in Colorado, Washington, and Alaska.

OK interesting career change.

Lets be honest, we have all thought once in our careers of doing what Greene did…you know go out big. Some are calling Greene brave and bold, and of course her critics think she’s gone off the deep end. BBob70 posted on YouTube “Publicity stunt of a pot fan. This woman is no hero.”

Her supporters like Kross-Slash777 on YouTube shared “I can’t believe how many people are bad mouthing her. I love this chick honestly lol who else has the guts to do what she did?”


Greene has only been a TV reporter about three years. She graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2011. I often go to that university to speak to students majoring in journalism. It’s a great school with a good program and excellent professors. It’s too bad Greene didn’t think for one minute that her alma mater would be brought into her self-created-drama.

As a veteran reporter, I’m glad Greene has taken herself out of the news business. We need people who care about journalism, not self-promotion. Remember our job is about giving the news not becoming the news.

Maybe she really is on a mission to legalize pot. Someone has to do it.

But Sunday night Greene proved three things: She is about promoting herself, promoting her new business and the hell with anyone else who gets in her way.

It was unfair and unprofessional that she humiliated the weekend anchor. It was unfair to the producer who today may be questioned “how did you let this happen?” And it was unfair to her KTVA news director who was left to clean up Greene’s on-air mess.




Charlo Greene’s actions were also unfair to women of color in journalism. Greene hurt us too.

I know some of you don’t want to go there, but minority women do not have it easy in the news business. The facts are in  this report by the Women’s Media Center on The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2014. Not only do we have to break through a glass ceiling, but we also have to punch through a brick wall to mark our place and succeed in news.

Women of color in news have to overcome stereotypes that unfairly label Latinas, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Native Americans.  You can’t imagine how many minority women I have seen come and go in my 33 years in this career.

I wish Greene would have thought for one second of all the minority women in journalism who have fought for decades to create equal opportunities, build a strong voice, and secure our place in the news business. I’m one of those women, and we continue fighting today for our place in newsrooms around the country. In many cases we sacrifice our own jobs to be heard.

I don’t know Charlo Greene personally, but maybe she didn’t have it easy breaking into broadcast journalism. Think about it.  She had to leave her Texas roots and travel all the way to Alaska to get a job.  She was one of the fortunate UT-Arlington graduates who had a door opened by a news director in Alaska.  An opportunity that many women of color today wished they had been offered.

So to you Charlo Greene, may you finally find happiness pushing your pot platform, pushing to become famous and pushing to be noticed. Enjoy your 15 minutes of…

Can someone fill in the blank?




Apollos Hester: Texas high school football player who will make you feel unstoppable

Screenshot: YouTube

Screenshot: YouTube

Apollos Hester is not just any high school football player. This Texas teenager has a future as a motivational speaker.

Apollos was pumped up after Friday night’s football game when his team, East View Patriots beat the opposing team 42-41. In a post-game interview he told reporter, Lauren Mickler that his team started slow, but they knew they were going to finish fast.

Apollos didn’t stop there, he spoke from the heart saying “it’s an awesome feeling when you know you’re truly going to be successful.”

Watch the video, and get inspired.



Maybe I’ll send this video clip to a few news managers who could learn a thing or two about motivating their news team.

I predict you’ll be seeing a lot of Apollos Hester in the coming days on talk shows and morning shows. Well that’s if it doesn’t interfere with his football schedule.

Nice job Apollos and thanks for reminding us we can all be a success!





Lisa DeJardins out at CNN, but she has the last word on video

Screenshot Photo: YouTube

Screenshot Photo: YouTube

CNN’s Lisa DeJardins lost her job on Capitol Hill. The cable network decided to eliminate her position. Was she bitter? Was she angry?

DeJardins was classy in her goodbye video and even took a few sweet jabs saying “I’m sorry that CNN has decided to eliminate my reporter position on the Hill and cut back on congressional coverage. Of course, I’m also sorry that Congress is such a complete mess right now, but maybe that means that we should watch them more closely.”

It can’t be easy losing such a prestigious job in D.C. DeJardins hasn’t been the only one at CNN to go out the door. She even took a closer look at a pattern in the goodbye emails from her former colleagues.

DeJardins’ video departure is not only classy but funny. Here’s hoping someone else will offer her a job.



As expected, her YouTube video has brought out the CNN critics. The classy correspondent continues to keep it classy even in her responses.

Screenshot: YouTube

Screenshot: YouTube

Good luck Lisa!


Tips from the professionals, get the most out of the next journalism convention

2013 EIJ convention

2013 EIJ convention

Journalism conventions are where you can find new jobs, mentors, and workshops to help your professional development. They are also a great place to meet new friends.

But to get the most out of a journalism convention, YOU have to get involved and be active. Basically put yourself out there and not sink into the wall. Whether you’re a student or a veteran journalist, every convention counts.

I’ve put together a list of tips that I hope will help you make your next convention a huge success. Thank you to my friends on Facebook, most of them journalists who shared their advice.  I have edited a few to get to the point. Feel free to print out this blog and take it with you to the next journalism convention.


*Make it a goal to meet at least 5 new people each day and get their business cards. – Vicki Adame

*Say hello to each person you encounter.  – Zamna Avila

*Network, don’t stalk and become annoying. – Mary Benton

*Don’t stay silent if you’re attending a workshop at the convention. Ask questions. The presenters have made time to be there. So make time to learn something new. – Shelly Conlon

*With an open mind, learn as much as you can from as many people as you can:) – Kim Pewitt-Jones

*My tips are all about business cards: Bring business cards but don’t hand them out like candy to literally every person you encounter. I often print new cards with my social media info on them for conferences where people are more likely to want to be following you online on different platforms. (Most corporate cards don’t have your social info on it, so I bring those but hardly pass them out.) Try to have an actual conversation with someone and then give your card. Don’t just shove cards in someone’s hands if it doesn’t make sense. On the back of every business card you collect, be sure to write what you talked about with that person and where you met/what you might want to follow-up with them about. And finally: DON’T use business cards as a way to add people to newsletters without their consent—it’s bad etiquette and considered a spammy practice that no one appreciates and that can actually get you in trouble. DO use business cards to create useful lists for yourself on social media—such as a Twitter list (public or private) of all the people you met at the convention so you can see them in a separate stream in your TweetDeck or HootSuite (or whatever you use). – Maura Hernandez

*Look professional, look people in the eye, firm handshake, smile, make it easy for recruiters to look at your work. Don’t just give people a link to your website, leave them with something. – YvonneLatty

EIJ Convention Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

EIJ Convention
Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

*Business dress. I put everything on a portable thumb drive, 2gigs are cheap and hold stories well as they also hold resumes and references. – Brian Karem

*Nice jacket and slacks. I agree with Brian on the thumb drive. Make sure you keep all your conversations professional, positive, & intentional! – John Sparks

*Think business casual. No tie necessary. I wouldn’t do jeans. Suit with no tie or jacket and slacks are fine. – Gio Benitiz

*If you’re looking for a job – dress like it. – Miguel Almaguer

*Take full advantage of everything the convention offers,especially the networking. Comport yourself with thought to the image you’re projecting – you need know who’s looking. Whatever you do, don’t abuse the free booze. Don’t get stupid drunk, your peers have long memories! Have a wonderful time. – Ernest Gurule

*Take resumes in paper form AND on a pdf on a thumb drive. Some news managers will download it right then and there. Business cards! Yes, they still like them. And ladies, leave the skirts up to your behind and tops showing all “the girls” for the evening events. If you must wear them. During the day, look polished and professional and yes comfortable. Leave the “clubbing” attire for the club not job interview or daytime networking. Last year I saw a lot of cleavage. — me, Rebecca Aguilar

*Leave the hoochie stomper heels at home – Paula Gonzalez

*Comfortable but professional looking shoes and outfits because you are going to walk a lot, and don’t forget a charger for all your devices. – Luz Gray

*Don’t be shy. You’re not shy while doing your job so why are you shy in a social situation?  Make yourself walk up to a stranger.  Introduce yourself and make conversation for at least 5 minutes. – Manny Ramos

*Do not interrupt others people’s conversations, Girls do not wear clothes that you can barely move in…You need to sell yourself if you are doing an interview, however you don’t want to sound like a salesperson. If you have any social media please make sure the pictures are descent before adding some professionals to your social media.. Have an email address that conveys your name so that the recipient knows exactly who’s sending the email to… Never use email addresses (perhaps remnants of your grade-school days) that are not appropriate for use in the workplace, such as “…” or “ –  Astrid Rivera

*Make it easy for recruiters to see your work.Don’t rely on WiFi in the Expo Hall, make sure you have a thumb drive with all your clips, videos and resumes.I like to be dressed up in suit and tie on the first day, because that is a great first impression.On the second day I’m business casual, then dressed to the nines for the Gran Baile. – Sergio Quintana

*DON’T party too much. DO network, network, network! Oh and did I mention … Network! – Zayda Rivera

*I would say scan the layout of the job fair and then make your connections. You don’t want to look lost. Have your stuff ready. Be courteous, nice and also have something to say about your work. Go to the panels or seminars. Sometimes you get to know “people of power” in those gatherings, rather than at the booth. Bring your iPad and send a thank you note that very same night. And yes, remember that what happens in San Antonio, most likely won’t stay in San Antonio, so.. have a good time. You don’t want to be the beginning of something like this: “Do you remember, what was it, Houston or Fort Worth, when…so and so did…this ..”Jacket and slacks like Gio Benitez suggests.  – Sal Morales

*Brush up your resume….less is more when the clock is ticking. – Hugo Balta (more Three Tips for a Better Resume)

*If you are speaking, Keep It Simple. This is a situation where it is better to receive than to give. – Eddie Griffin


Even though I have been a reporter for more than three decades, I have never stopped going to conventions. Why? Because you never know when your professional life will change overnight. You never know when you might be laid off or let go. I’ve been there, and thanks to my friends I have made at past conventions, I have never been without work.  My friends came through for me in time of need.

Conventions have nourished my professional life.  Not only have I gotten new jobs, but have also been offered speaking engagements, invites to be a panelist or moderator, and have built my “journalism brand.”  Journalism conventions have also helped me build life long friendships with people who I respect and admire.

Now go out and sign up for the next convention, have fun and build on your career. Good luck!


Fox News On-Air Clinic and NPPA Boot Camp at 2014 NAHJ Convention

Photo courtesy:  Saul Garza, Fox 4 News

Photo courtesy:
Saul Garza, Fox 4 News

Fox News and NPPA are bringing their expertise to the NAHJ convention next week. They will be holding a clinic and boot camp for those registered.

Fox News is offering an on-air clinic. Learn some of the best tips in the broadcast business from Fox News professionals. Sign up to get a one-on-one session. Here’s the link–make your appointment now.

NPPA is offering a photojournalism boot camp. Learn how to use photos,video and audio to produce great multimedia projects. Get there early on Thursday, August 7th. Your NAHJ convention registration will cover the cost of this workshop for you.

In journalism you constantly have to grow and that means watching and learning from the best. For veterans in the business, a refresher course is always a good thing.

See you at the convention. Don’t forget you can still register in person. For more on our convention visit

Rebecca Aguilar
NAHJ VP of Online

Travel Europe with an open mind and heart

Visiting the Coliseum

Visiting the Colosseum with my son

I just spent 14 days in Europe. My husband and I saved up for this trip for 10 years. Thanks to credit card points we had collected we were able to take our son on the trip.

Before I went to Europe I asked for tips from my friends on places to see in Paris, Venice, Rome, and London. I got some awesome advice.  I will keep the list forever.

I also got a lot of warnings about pick pockets in Italy, and rude people in France who would refuse to speak in English, and cab driver who would jack up the prices.

I went to Europe with an open mind and heart.

The people in France were charming and kind.  I must have had the “pick pocket” repellant on because they did not approach us in Italy. One cab driver outside the Vatican did not have a meter, but he was fair when he took us to our hotel.

My advice, don’t walk around looking like a “paranoid wanna-a-be victim.”  Whether I’m in the U.S. or a foreign country, I’m always aware of my surroundings but I also enjoy myself.

When I’m out discovering, I don’t bury my face in my cellphone. I don’t walk around looking down at my feet. I walk like I own it. My body language says “I belong here.”  I also smile at people. Sometimes they smile back and sometimes they don’t. But at least I look like I enjoy life.

I met a lot of Europeans and Americans during my vacation. Most times I would start the conversation. Everywhere I went I met people from Texas and right from my backyard in Dallas.

I’ll be sharing my experience in Europe in the coming days and weeks. And most of you know me, I do everything on a budget.


TV host walks off set during Michael Sam’s “kiss” debate and is invited to Fox News

Screenshot: The Broadcast

Screenshot: The Broadcast

Amy Kushnir’s life changed overnight.  The stay-at-home mom turn TV host became the target of haters on social media this week, but now she’s headed to talk on Fox News.

Tuesday, her Dallas television station posted a video of her walking off the set of her show The Broadcast. Haters started pounding Kushnir and co-host Suzy Humphrey’s viciously on social media.

The controversy actually started on Monday, when the pretty blonde unleashed her disappointment in ESPN’s coverage of Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend after he was drafted into the NFL. Kushnir  and Humphreys verbally duked it out with the other co-hosts about the “kiss.” Here’s Monday’s video- Instagram



#AmyKushnir defends her point-of-view on @ESPN coverage #MichaelSam "kiss"

A video posted by Rebecca Aguilar (@msrebeccaaguilar) on

My gut tells me producers were looking for ratings and that’s why they continued discussing Sam on Tuesday. The show needs help to stay on the air. According to Dallas media critic, The Broadcast gets on a good day just over 400 viewers.

Tuesday the conversation got louder and louder about Sam’s public affection on TV. Suddenly, Kushnir quietly picked up her papers and the video tells the rest the story…

TV host #AmyKushnir walks off set during heated debate about #MichaelSam "kiss" on #ESPN

A video posted by Rebecca Aguilar (@msrebeccaaguilar) on

Once the video was posted, got it.  Hundreds maybe thousands on social media started attacking Kushnir and Humphrey’s for their views. They were called every ugly name you can think of.  I just find it surprising that KTXD posted the video. They had to go know the haters would surface once they saw the video.

Today Kushnir was not on The Broadcast because she was headed to Fox News to be interviewed by Megan Kelly. Another group of co-hosts will be on Hannity on Fox.

My sources at the KTXD-TV say Kushnir doesn’t have much television experience. Just a few months ago she was a stay-at-home mom who blogged about food.

I’ve watched Kushnir for several months and I must admit she does a decent job on cooking segments and fashion shows.  But her walk of the set proved that she doesn’t have the experience yet to handle controversies, heated debates, and hot tempers.  Hopefully KTXD will give her the training she needs


I’ve been a broadcaster for 32 years. When you’re paid to give your opinion on TV, you have a bigger responsibility to the station and the viewers. The airwaves should always be used to educate and empower, not to discriminate or to hate. Those are also my views on social media.

FYI, I used to work at KTXD-TV on a different television show. I met Amy Kushnir one time and she was very kind and friendly.  I also met Suzie Humphreys and she too was kind, friendly and outspoken.


Dallas TV co-hosts upset with ESPN’s coverage of Michael Sam’s draft-day kiss

Photo courtesy: @MichaelSamNFL Twitter

Photo courtesy: @MichaelSamNFL Twitter

By now everyone knows that Michael Sam is the first openly gay player drafted to the NFL.But his reaction – kissing his boyfriend after being drafted by the St. Louis Rams had the women on Dallas morning show The Broadcast in a battle of words on Monday.

Co-host Amy Kushnir thought the ESPN segment was not appropriate for children and co-host Suzie Humphreys thought the affection was an “exhibition.” The other two co-hosts defending Sam’s kiss on “live” television would not back off.

Here are my Instagram highlights from the show. These women are not journalists, they just get paid to give their opinions between cooking segments and fashion shows.  At least they are being honest.


Dallas morning show host not happy @ESPN aired #MichaelSams & boyfriend kissing

A video posted by Rebecca Aguilar (@msrebeccaaguilar) on


#Dallas morning hosts have heated talk on @ESPN #MichaelSams coverage during #draft. #NFL

A video posted by Rebecca Aguilar (@msrebeccaaguilar) on


#Dallas morning show host says @ESPN "not sure set good example" airing #MichaelSam draft.

A video posted by Rebecca Aguilar (@msrebeccaaguilar) on


Dallas Morning hosts says doesn't need to see "exhibitionist" @ESPN #MichaelSam #NFL

A video posted by Rebecca Aguilar (@msrebeccaaguilar) on


#Dallas morning hosts duke it out on @ESPN TV coverage of #MichaelSam kiss #NFL

A video posted by Rebecca Aguilar (@msrebeccaaguilar) on

I was on a show The Texas Daily earlier this year and it was produced in the same studio as The Broadcast. I know a few of the people behind the scenes on The Broadcast are gay. I kept wondering what were they thinking as these women stood their ground.

Dallas TV critic, Uncle Barky has reported the show struggles in the ratings on a good day it can get about 400 viewers.



Washington Post: Showing Michael Sam kiss was not up for debate at ESPN, NFL Network

Huffington Post: Talking to your kids about Michael Sam shouldn’t be hard at all

Rolling Stone: Michael Sam made history as the first openly gay player drafted; now comes the hard part:

Happy Birthday Cesar Chavez

Graphic Courtesy: National Museum of American History

Graphic Courtesy: National Museum of American History

Today is the birthday of Cesar Chavez. Most Latinos I meet know the Chavez legacy, but it’s amazing how many non-Latinos I meet who don’t know anything about this labor leader.

I was fortunate to meet him when I was a child and then again as a reporter in Phoenix, Arizona. When he died in 1993, I was put on the story too. At the time I was working in Los Angeles at KNBC-TV.

Chavez inspired my parents in the 1960’s when they fought for union rights, equal rights and the rights of migrant workers in Ohio.

Here’s a short documentary on Cesar Chavez. A man who committed his life to improve the lives of others.



More facts on Cesar Chavez on Biography/Chavez

The Texas Daily fades to black in Dallas

Many of you know that a few months ago I joined the TV show, The Texas Daily.  Tuesday I got the news that station bosses cancelled the Dallas program. Friday they will tape the last show.

That’s the TV business – here today, gone tomorrow.  You just have to roll with the changes. 

When I joined The Texas Daily I  thought it was one of the most unique television concepts in the Dallas/Fort Worth market. Finally a news-discussion program aimed at the baby boomer/generation X audiences. 

The show had former journalists and current reporters like myself on to give their opinions and thoughts on “hot topics” trending locally and around the country.  We discussed many stories that were usually given a minute or less on the evening news on other local stations.


Talking "Hot Topics" on The Texas Daily

Talking “Hot Topics” on The Texas Daily

The Texas Daily started 18 months ago and had gone through a few transitions. It just never caught on. Station managers have decided to concentrate on other programs on KTXD and future programs. Read more details on Uncle Barky’s blog.

Today viewers have too many choices on television.  If you don’t grab their attention in the first few months after the launch of a show – it’s an uphill battle.

Even though I joined The Texas Daily at the tail end, I’m glad that I was part of an interesting television experiment.  I thought the station did an excellent job of  putting together a team of former reporters and anchors who had worked before at other local stations.  They had experience and credibility.


(L-R) John Sparks, me and Jeff Brady

(L-R) John Sparks, me and Jeff Brady

The station also made sure the on-air talent was diverse on The Texas Daily. African-American’s and Hispanics were part of the show. The team reflected the diversity in Dallas/Fort Worth.

I have to admit, when I applied for the job I told the General Manager that I thought the show lacked the perspective of a Hispanic woman. The Texas Daily had been syndicated in many Texas TV markets with growing Hispanic populations, and I thought it was important that we had representation at the table. Maybe that got me a spot at the news desk. I don’t know. I am thankful I was able to give my views as a journalist and a Latina.

OK on to the next opportunity. Thanks for the memories KTXD-TV.  It was a fun ride!

Give us a reason to “like” your Facebook Like page

Everyday someone on Facebook asks me to “like” their Facebook Like page, but the biggest mistake they make is they never tell me why.

Right now there are 672 requests waiting on my Facebook to be “liked.”  They are businesses, reporters, nonprofit organizations, different causes, but not one person who invited me over –told me why I should “like” the page.

What’s in it for me if I “like” the page? A simple reason can help me make a decision.

And once I “like” your page, you need to make sure it’s a two-way conversation. Social media is not just about what you post, but what your followers post on your page is also important.  Many people with “like” pages make the mistake of not engaging with their followers.


If a follower posts a comment on your “like” page, you should respond with at least a thank you for the contribution.  A reaction is a good thing. If a follower stops by your “like” page and asks a question–they deserve a response from you.  Remember they took the time to come to your page.

With millions of people on the web and a billion on Facebook, you have a lot of competition.  Here are my tips on getting people to get through that first step–to “like”your page, and to get followers to stay with you.

  • When you send a request, give the person a real reason to like your page? For example: “Rebecca I hope you like my page, because I think as a reporter you’ll find some good ideas for stories.”
  • Find people to “like” your page who have something in common with you, the product or service you are pitching.  Let’s say you make organic cosmetics. Obviously you want women to know about your product.  Maybe you run a motorcycle shop. Find people who love motorcycles or love road trips on motorcycles. Find a personal connection because those followers will stay loyal and will stay with you.
  • Don’t make your “like” page just about “YOU.”  It’s not about you.  People especially strangers  don’t care how many products you sell. They don’t care to hear every day “Watch my story at 6pm.”  And they definitely don’t want to feel like you’re using them to make money.  No one likes to feel used.  Make it about them.  What’s in it for them? How will your “like” page empower them and better their lives.

So the next time you’re going to ask someone to “like” your page, think about it and tell them why they should join you on Facebook.  Give them  a reason to connect.  FYI, I don’t have a Facebook like page, but that doesn’t mean I won’t have one in the future.

Spirit Airlines gets in on the Justin Beiber “egg throwing” scandal

You have to give the marketing department at Spirit Airlines points for creativity.  They’re not about to let a juicy scandal get by them, especially if it involves Justin Beiber. 

I got an email from Spirit Airlines today about some special deals.  It got my attention with “JustIn time” and “before you get egg on your face.”

Smart marketing? Definitely.

Spirit Promotions

Spirit Promotions

Love SPJ internship description, very honest, wimps and “a***s” don’t apply

Logo courtesy Facebook

Logo courtesy Facebook

Today a student, a journalism major sent me a link to an internship being offered by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). Full disclosure, I’m a Vice President with the SPJ Fort Worth Chapter.

I love this description for this internship.  I don’t know who wrote it, but I appreciate the honesty.

Here’s what SPJ wrote under “What we’re looking for.”

— Someone who is so organized, they know the birthdays and anniversaries of all their relatives.
— Someone who is a whiz on social media, has experience with marketing and is capable of sharing information in ways that make people listen.
— Someone who can jump from task to task with cat-like nimbleness.
— Someone who knows stuff about journalism, even a little.
— Someone who isn’t an ass and gets along with just about anyone.
— Someone who asks a lot of questions, but knows when to shut up and get to work.
— Someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously.
— Someone familiar with AP Style.
— Someone who cares deeply about the quality of their work.
— Someone who isn’t a wimp.

I want to work with the person who wrote the description.  Clever, honest and to the point. Now the applicant will know what SPJ really needs in an intern.

If you’re interested in this internship follow this link and apply : Communications Postgraduate Internship

The deadline is January 29. Good luck!


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