Posted Mar 06 2018 02:25PM PST
Updated Mar 07 2018 09:14AM PST
After living in five cities and two countries in 10 years, you could say I took the long way home back to the Bay Area.
I was born in Oakland. Some of my earliest memories include playing on the boot at the front entrance of Children’s Fairyland, riding the bus with my Mom to Eastmont Mall (back when it was still a mall) and catching Saturday matinees with my Dad at the Grand Lake Theater.
A career change for my Dad took us to Texas for a few years, but we missed the Bay Area so much, we came back. We settled in San Ramon a few months before the Loma Prieta Earthquake. I can still remember the ground shaking while I struggled to get my footing and throw myself under a table while it was going on. But the news story I remember having the greatest impact on me was the 1991 Oakland Hills fire. I distinctly remember watching a news reporter standing in the middle of a smoke-filled Highway 24, reporting on the fire’s devastation. It was emotional, impactful, important and brave. I wanted to do that when I grew up.
I had a chance to dip my toes in the TV news world before I went to college, working as an intern and later production assistant and writer for BayTV. After that, there was no turning back from TV news.
I got my Broadcast Journalism and Political Science degrees from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. While I was there I learned the definition of winter, the meaning of “wind-chill factor” and “lake-effect snow” and, more importantly, the power and responsibility of good journalism. I owe a lot to my alma mater in both a professional and personal sense. If it wasn’t for NU, I never would have met my fellow-alum husband, and we wouldn't have the son and daughter we’re raising now. Becoming a parent has made me a better person, and also, a better reporter.
I also received my Masters in Journalism from Northwestern, but before I did, I took time off to work as an online writer and production assistant at Univision’s Mexico City Bureau. I followed their news reporter and photographer all over the sprawling metropolis and to some of the more remote, rural areas beyond it. It was a fascinating experience seeing how news is gathered, presented and perceived in another country. On a personal level, my Mexico City adventure gave me an opportunity to spend four months living with my grandparents. The gift of that quality time with them was priceless.
I went from Mexico’s capital city, to ours. During school breaks, I spent several months in Washington, D.C., first as a researcher for CNN Productions (documentaries) and then, during grad school, as an on-air reporter for WDTV in Bridgeport, West Virginia, based in Washington, D.C.
After grad school it was on to Austin, Texas, where I covered the State Legislature (and some of their eyebrow-raising bills, like the one to ban “sexy” cheerleading routines at high school football games – it didn’t pass).
I traveled all over the state, and my reports on the impact of newly-drawn congressional districts and a story on “Tamale traditions” in South Texas earned me two AP Broadcasters awards. When the political season wasn’t in session, I was chasing Hurricanes along the Gulf Coast. I went to New Orleans to cover Hurricane Katrina and was en route to Baton Rouge when the levees broke. We made it into the city by shadowing a group of Salvation Army volunteers who would hand out sandwiches and water to thousands of people camping out under freeway overpasses every night. Three of my Hurricane Katrina packages were part of a station entry that won a Regional Edward R. Murrow award.
I’ve lived through Chicago winters, but I believe there’s no weather as extreme as a Phoenix summer. My experience reporting in the hottest metro area in the country, at KSAZ-Fox 10, gave me a front-and-center view of the national immigration debate, and also, the crash in the housing market. The desert can be a tough place to live. I learned a lot from the people I met and interviewed there, like the man who summed it up his rags-to-riches-to-rags and foreclosure story by saying: “It’s just a house, as long as I’m alive, I can start over.” His resilience made an impression on me.
Coming back home to the Bay Area was a breath of fresh, fog-filled air. I joined KTVU in 2009. I report for Mornings on 2 on weekends, and the afternoon shows during the week. Most people dread Mondays. I am really lucky to be able to honestly say I look forward to the start of my work week on Saturdays, and Mornings on 2 and the fun people I get to work with are the reason why.
Every weekend provides a new experience – whether it’s learning to row on Lake Merritt on live television, shaking hands with a 3-D printed robot, interviewing young, record-breaking runners, or TV travel guide Rick Steves (I was a little star struck for that one!) I like documenting the daily adventures my job provides on social media. My favorite, impromptu pic was when I had a chance to sit in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge while it was closed down to traffic.
That’s my story, in a nutshell. If you have an interesting story or tip to share, drop me a note on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. When I’m not at work, you’ll find me enjoying my number one job, as Mom, chasing my kids around the Oakland Zoo or one of the many great parks in the Bay Area.