How many times have you been re-directed? I saw this quote, and it made me think back on times where my life shifted drastically.
I have always said being fired from a job in TV News was the best thing that happened in my life. I became my own boss as a freelance journalist. I no longer had to be in a toxic work environment. I wake up happy every day. I took on leadership positions on different boards of directors and got my masters and also became a guest lecturer. At the same time, I got to spend more time with my family and adopted four dogs, and I’ve had lots of time to mentor other journalists. Yes, being fired was the best thing that ever happened to me.
What was your redirection? Leave in comments, because I’d like to know.
Bailey Jean Matheson died earlier this month of cancer. Two years ago when she found out she had cancer, she decided to make several major decisions that she shared in self-written obituary.
My parents gave me the greatest gift of supporting my decisions with not going through chemo and just letting me live the rest of my life the way I believed it should be.
I didn’t know Bailey, but her death made me think of the recent deaths of my dear friends, Laura Brigante and Ana Real. I thought they would be around for a long time. Their deaths and Bailey’s obituary reminded me that we cannot predict where our lives are headed or when they will come to an end. We must enjoy our lives now.
Surround yourself with good people. Do a job that you love and make sure the people around you support you and not bring you down. If it’s toxic, leave and find something else.
Use your talents to help others. Volunteering is a good thing.
Don’t worry about what other’s think. Don’t let fear hold you back from taking a chance or speaking up.
Stop worrying about money. You can always live off rice, frijoles (beans) and tortillas. Stop trying to keep up with the Kardashians.
Laugh today and love with all your heart.
Find some kind of spiritual nourishment. Yes, I believe in God. Remember you are never alone. If you’re on my social media, you know I keep it real. I follow my own advice.
Feel free to share this message with someone who needs some inspiration today.
Regina King won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by a Supportive Actress in a Film for her work in If Beal Street Could Talk. On stage Sunday night, she challenged those with power and a platform to give more jobs to women.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association awarded one million dollar grants to nonprofit journalism organizations: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and Inside Climate News. The president of HFPA said it’s important to protect our freedoms.
Lady Gaga took home a Golden Globe for Best Original Song for A Star is Born. On stage she thanked her male co-producers for their support in a tough music business.
And an unknown water girl became the social media craze at the 2019 Golden Globes. The Fiji Water Girl gets the Golden Globe for “Best Photobomber” on the red carpet.
I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. Every year my goal is to be happy. Are there things I can do better? Of course. Are there good changes I need to make in my life? That never stops. Are there people I need to spend more time with on a weekly or monthly basis? The list is long. Is there something I need to take on to grow my professional world? I’m always looking.
Keep it simple.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with goals.
Meet new people.
Try something new.
Accept no one is perfect not even you.
Stop trying to keep up with the Kardashians.
Everyday write down your ideas, thoughts and accomplishments. You’ll see why.
Alicia Barrera is doing something you don’t see happen much in television news. The Emmy award-winning reporter is switching from Spanish-language news to English-language. She’s leaving Telemundo 40 and is headed to KSAT 12 in San Antonio.
I met Alicia a few years ago and realized she is in television news for the right reasons. It’s about news not about her being “on television.” Yes, some people get lost in that part of the business.
I also admired she grew up with immigrant parents who made sure she learned how to speak proper Spanish. It would come in handy when it was time to break into television news.
Alicia started in English-language news in high school in North Texas when she was part of the Coppell High School news team. After graduation she went to study at Our Lady of the Lake University in the Alamo City. During an internship at the local Univision station she was able to stay on to do freelance work. She later got a part-time job as a production assistant with Telemundo San Antonio while still a full-time student.
She graduated from college in May 2015 and a month later she landed a full-time job as an MMJ at Telemundo 40. For more than three years, Alicia covered a variety of breaking news stories on the border and also filled-in anchored. Along the way she won a few Lone Star Emmy awards.
My goal today is to get more Latinas in newsrooms around the country. We are still “missing in action” in English-language newsrooms everywhere. I started the Facebook group, Latinas in Journalism to help open doors. It’s a place where news managers can find Latina journalists from those coming out of college to veterans with several years under their belts.
I asked Alicia if she was interested in going to San Antonio. She knows how to shoot and edit her own stories. She does excellent “Facebook Lives.” I thought I’m sure she can do it in English too. I asked Alicia to put together a video reel (audition video) in English and the rest worked out. Alicia starts this month as a reporter at KSAT 12.
I am not a TV agent. I’m just a freelance reporter who volunteered my time and efforts to help a fellow Latina journalist get a better opportunity with a top-notch boss. I hope I encourage other journalists to open doors for other in the business. News managers don’t know what they are missing if you don’t put the person in front of them.
The bully boss is insecure and lacks confidence. They hide behind bully tactics and other bully managers to rule a workplace. They teach bad habits to managers who are lower in the company food chain. As someone who has worked mostly in newsrooms, it happens there too. And don’t get me started on the enablers of bully bosses. That is a future blog.
Former news director, Kevin Benz talked at the 2018 Excellence in Journalism conference about bad bosses. In his “No More Assholes Part 2: The coward’s guide to conflict in the newsroom,” Benz reminded journalists that there is no room in a newsroom for an asshole boss. In my opinion, asshole managers don’t belong anywhere.
I’ll be sharing more of Kevin Benz’s tips on good and bad management in the future. He tells it like it is.
On this National Boss Day let us celebrate those who are doing it right. Give them a pat on the back. Give them a shout out on your social media, even those from your past.
Remember you are a success today because of those good bosses.
Sometimes in the news business we have bosses who can’t even say “good job.” Sometimes we work in newsrooms where there is no manager to motivate or inspire us.
We get beat up more often than given a pat on the back. This probably happens in many other professions. My advice is to seek out the motivators and surround yourself with them. Often they don’t have a title. They are just good people.
Create your own circle of empowerment.
They will hold you up when your bosses don’t ever lift you up. Believe me, I have a strong circle of motivators and that is why I am still standing today after more than three decades as a journalist.
I’ve been to dozens of journalism conferences. I have lost count. But throughout the years, I have been able to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
I have made many professional connections and developed great friendships from my visits to NAHJ, IRE, RTDNA, EIJ and AEJMC conferences. I have also found 90 percent of my jobs from my networking at those conferences.
Here are my 15 tips to help you get the most out of any journalism conference you plan to attend this summer.
1. Comfy shoes are a must. For you ladies, sure heels make your legs look great, but after a few hours walking the conference floor you’ll beg for comfort. Pack a pair of flats in your bag for later. Men, comfort matters for you too.
2. Get out of the “pack” mentality. We often get into the habit of hanging out in groups. It’s our comfort zone. Be adventurous and roam on your own. It forces you to meet people. This also includes when you go to the after conference parties and hang-outs. I know a lot of people, because I love to walk around alone and just talk to everyone and anyone.
3. Start a conversation with anyone you see hanging out by themselves. He could be your next boss, or she could have that next opportunity of a lifetime. I say hello to everyone whether I meet people when they get in an elevator with me or walk by me. “Hi! How’s it going?” Is a great way to start a conversation.
4. GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR PHONE. Sorry, I had to say that very loud. When you have your head buried in your phone, you miss opportunities to meet people. Also people, including news managers won’t approach you, because you look busy and preoccupied with your phone. Your text and Facebook can wait. Put your phone away, look up and enjoy the view. And please DO NOT take your phone out and start gazing at your Instagram, especially when you’re in conversation with new people and in a group. It’s rude.
5. Look happy and smile. Those two things make people want to get to know you. Sometimes you see people at conferences and they already look tired and miserable. Don’t be that person.
6. Business cards matter. Yes, it may sound old school, but it’s easier to hand someone a business card than a resume. It’s even better if it has a photo of you. There is no way they can forget your face. Also when you collect a card, write a few notes on it to remind you of that person.
7. Invite people to join you. If you see someone alone, who looks like they need someone to hang out with, don’t hesitate to invite them to join you and/or your group. Another great way to get to know people. I do it all the time. Many of those people have become good friends.
8. Find a mentee. I usually leave a conference with more than half a dozen mentees. Remember it’s about paying it forward. There are people who need your expertise and guidance. Be giving with your time.
9. Find a mentor. Some of you may feel that you need someone to guide you in your career. The conferences are a great place to find that person who you feel can help you on your journey. There are many people waiting for the chance to be a mentor. Don’t be afraid to ask. And if they don’t seem interested, move on…there are plenty of others.
10. Plan your conference, and even schedule in your networking time. There will be dozens of panels and workshops. Sit down and write out your day and schedule in your networking time during conference hours. It will help you not miss a beat.
11. The best time to meet news managers is when they are taking a break from the recruiting booth, walking around the conference hall or getting a cup of coffee. I learned that tip a long time ago. When you get to the job fair, check out who is recruiting at your target company. Make a mental note. If you see them later taking a break, don’t hesitate to approach them. “Hi there! Aren’t you with ABC News? I saw you at the booth. I’m Rebecca Aguilar. How’s everything going so far?” Start the conversation. Get to know them. Sometimes they are more relaxed and may invite you back to their booth to continue the conversation. Once again, be the person outside “the pack” standing in line.
12. Make time to put on your sneakers and walk outside and enjoy the fresh air. Sometimes we’re in such conference mode that we forget just to relax and breathe. Yes, conferences can take a toll on you, because networking takes effort and being out late sucks up time to sleep. Get out and relax and get some sunshine. It makes a difference.
13. Act like a professional even at the after-parties. Do not forget that recruiters and managers go to the after parties and hang out at the hotel bar too. What I’m saying is don’t do something that can end up “going viral” for the wrong reasons and hurt your reputation.
14. What not to wear. A journalism conference is still a professional setting. What you wear says a lot about you. Don’t kid yourself, it does. Before you leave that hotel room, look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are dressed to meet the Pope, the President and would your parents approve. Give your outfit my “3 P’s” test. Believe me it works. What I’m saying is leave the mini skirts and muscle shirts in your suitcase.
15. As soon as you return home, don’t forget to send out a few thank you cards. Yes, old school again. Send them to people who made your conference experience very special and who took the time to give you advice.
Most of all enjoy the ride!
Bonus Tip: Start saving for next year’s conference when you get home. It helps to plan ahead. Whether you’re a professional or a student, it’s okay to start saving right away. Put $10 cash in a jar every week. It will add up by the time the next conference rolls around. No need to start a GoFundMe or beg people for a donation. Do it on your own.
Bonus Video. You can pack everything for the conference in a carry-on bag.
I have something to share. How I turned something unexpected into a fantastic experience. I was invited to speak at the Latino Media Summit in New York City over the weekend. One of the best conferences I have been to in my career. More on that in a future blog.
I thought I was going to be on a panel with others, but Friday morning, an hour before the panel, I learned I would have to speak for 10 minutes alone. Say what? Yes they had told us weeks in advance, but I messed up. All the other speakers had fantastic, informative slide shows.
When I hit the stage, I said, “God give me the words, in Spanish too.” I had written down a few notes, but honestly I spoke from the heart. Not to brag, but it was one of the best presentations I have ever done in my life. I laughed, I teared up, and I shared. I talked about creating change as individuals, making a difference, and not being selfish with your time and knowledge. To be authentic.
So remember, speak from the heart when you have to, and it will be ok. Again thank you to Graciela Mochkofsky and her team for inviting me to the summit at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. A blog is coming soon on the Summit. Go out and inspire!
Jen Herrera says “I feel amazing you guys” as she fights back tears. She posted a video on YouTube letting the public know how she is doing since removing her breast implants in November.
Herrera is the co-host of “6 in the Mix,” a daily lifestyle show in Miami.
Five years ago, Herrera was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease. She underwent treatment and decided to go the holistic route. She even left her television career for a while.
She says she was never diagnosed with a breast implant illness, but she had similar symptoms related to that illness. Her research on breast implants lead her to the decision to remove them. Herrera calls this journey “Back to a B Cup.”
Follow Herrera’s journey. She starts from the beginning when she decided at 18-years-old to get her implants. More on her website>> Back to a B Cup
Kudos to Herrera for sharing her story and I’m glad she’s feeling healthy again.