Senior Gets Hands-on News Experience
During her freshman year of high school, Monica Pastores received an assignment to write a short essay about her life goals. She knew she wanted to work in television in a capacity that would help people, so she wrote about her desire to become a journalist.
“I had always been an avid news-watcher, whether it was paying close attention to Peter Jennings on his ‘World News Tonight’ program on ABC or following Christiane Amanpour on CNN covering tensions in the Middle East and other parts of the world,” explains the senior media studies major.
“At 13, I did not quite grasp or understand the news the way I do now. Still, I knew that these reporters, especially in war-torn areas, were responsible for delivering the truth behind these news events to the public.”
She wrote for her high school newspaper for four years, eventually becoming co-editor. When she came to Catholic University, she started writing for The Tower her freshman year. Eventually, she got her own column in the paper.
The summer following her junior year, after a semester of studying abroad in Paris, Pastores worked as a digital media intern for A&E Television Networks in her hometown of New York City. She assembled photo galleries for the channel’s website, attended weekly meetings with the digital media team, brainstormed about marketing and website content, and wrote questions for cast members of various shows that were featured on the channel’s website.
Last fall, she got a chance to work with some well-known national correspondents when she interned at ABC News in Washington, D.C. On a daily basis, she worked with Jim Avila, Pierre Thomas, and Lisa Stark on stories focused on food, drug, consumer, and transportation issues.
She was involved in all aspects of production, including researching developing stories, reporting, booking and conducting interviews, and shooting footage in the field. She had the opportunity to attend press briefings at the White House and Pentagon. Some of her stories were published on the websites of ABC News and other network affiliates.
“The correspondents and I had to work together every day to make sure everything was accurate and in on time,” she explains of the high-pressure environment. “Most importantly, those correspondents were also my mentors. I was able to ask them for advice as an undergraduate student trying to break into the field of journalism. The advice and tips they gave me are things I will always keep in mind.”
She says her most memorable moment came when she was able to get a tour of the White House. That same day, President Barack Obama was leaving the White House to go to Camp David in Thurmont, Md.
“It was a really exciting experience to be surrounded by fellow members of the press and the Secret Service as we watched the president board the helicopter,” she recalls.
Pastores will continue to develop her journalism skills during the spring semester with an internship at National Public Radio (NPR).
“I love radio, especially NPR, because they have a long reputation for their expert deliverance of the latest breaking news, informational podcasts covering a wide variety of topics, and I believe they foster a community of intelligent and fine reporters,” she says.
After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career as an international news correspondent.
“My passions are writing and helping people. I believe that journalism encompasses those two beautifully. If I am able to deliver the truth to the public and lend a helping hand to whomever needs it, then I believe my role as an international news correspondent will be fulfilled,” she says.
Major: Media Studies
Favorite Journalist: Christiane Amanpour