A Day in the Life of a Journalism Major with Juana Norales

Journalism has always been a hot topic due to current events that are happening in our daily lives. A journalist is someone that everyone depends on in order to stay on top of the news trends across various news outlets and social media platforms.

Popular and Reliable TV News Channels & Outlets
Popular Social Media Platforms for Breaking News

For those of you who have heard the term but are not familiar with the exact duties in the field, according to WayUp Experts, a journalist plays many different roles such as researching stories (A LOT OF RESEARCH), interviewing people, and writing and editing.

Many individuals who I surround myself with, oftentimes bring up the question on which news/media outlet is the MOST trusted source. Well, it is hard to answer that since everyone has their own opinion on where to go. Some actually rely on Twitter, according to Forbes as it is the best place for breaking news. However, Business Insider’s statistics below will give you a peace of mind.

Among all adult Americans surveyed:

  • On average, 55% of adults found the nine outlets in the survey credible.  
  • 63% of adults said CBS is credible.
  • 61% of adults said NBC is credible.
  • 60% of adults said ABC is credible. 
  • 59% of adults said The Wall Street Journal is credible.
  • 53% of adults said CNN is credible, the same percentage as The New York Times.
  • 51% of adults said Fox News is credible.
  • 49% of adults said NPR is credible. 
  • 48% of adults said MSNBC is credible.

Juana Norales has always known that journalism was her passion at a very young age. She is currently attending Brooklyn College (CUNY) and pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. For a while, she has been tirelessly searching for internships. In my due diligence, I decided to go out of my way, to put on my career coach hat and touched up her resume & cover letter. I provided her tips, gave her my honest opinions and coached her in every way possible to the best version of herself. I made sure that she was able to land a role in her field and begin her journey towards her dream career.

First, she applied for a role at BuzzFeed and was really hoping to land that remote internship due to their strong employer brand (who doesn’t know what BuzzFeed is?), and because of its perks and it was a pretty good pay. And not to mention, it’s very rare to find paid internships nowadays… many just do not have the budget to afford it. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 situation, BuzzFeed’s 2020 summer internship program has been cancelled (just like many others, including the NYC Summer Youth Employment Program – which is the nation’s largest youth employment program, connecting NYC youth between the ages of 14 and 24 with career exploration opportunities and paid work experience each summer) and her application has been rescinded. This global crisis made a significant impact to our economy. Due to the uncertainties of the job market outlook, many companies are making plans in anticipation of revenue loss for 2020, with BuzzFeed being one of the many. The BuzzFeed leadership team has been highly focused on taking steps to ensure that their company is prepared to withstand a negative impact to their business and those steps included cutting costs in several places.

However, I advised her to not give up. Luckily, a few days later, she heard back from one of the employers that she applied for a role as an Editorial Intern at Access by NKC, a leading public relations and brand strategy agency for luxury, fashion, beauty, lifestyle, culture, art and design industry leaders. Although it was not what she expected, she was still very much content – since of course, experience matters more. And she loves fashion, beauty and lifestyle (which was a plus) therefore, that would make her an asset in this internship. The key to success is that we all have to start somewhere and to climb our way up the ladder.

Access by NKC has published a variety of articles that she has written. Feel free to check out her written pieces for inspiration!

Now let’s jump into the Q&A to learn more about Juana’s experience and what she has to say!

• How did you realize that journalism was the path to your dream career?

Growing up, I’ve always loved meeting people from different backgrounds and ethnicities and I enjoyed learning about them. I love learning about different cultures, languages and religions and I always believed that everyone has a story to tell. I knew that as a journalist, one of my goals would be to share other people’s stories along with my own. Believe it or not, when I was a little girl I literally had so many different diaries probably 5 or more. I would write in them. I’d write out my feelings, my secrets and just anything that I felt like sharing. My diaries were a safe and creative space for me. Whenever I would write in them I felt like everything was going to be okay because I felt like all I needed was my diary and when I felt like I had no one that’s what I normally turned to.

• What career do you want to pursue within this field?

That’s still undecided. For a really long time, I wanted to be a journalist for entertainment news but, as I get older and witness what’s going on in today’s world, I realize that I really want to share my thoughts along with other peoples perspectives on important topics and things that we face today. So many different topics need to be brought to light and there needs to be more awareness. I want to be able to teach people so many different things, I want people to be able to relate to me or feel like they can tune in or read my work because it’s meaningful. As for now, I’d say I would like to do my own thing. Maybe create my own blog, start my own podcast, and I even have my YouTube channel so that will definitely help me in the long run for future opportunities!

• Did you have any role models who inspired you to major in journalism?

One role model that has inspired me to major in journalism is Zuri Hall. She is an entertainment reporter and co host of Access Hollywood. I love her drive, ambition and hustle. Hearing her stories about college, love and life really inspired me and in some ways I really felt that like I could relate to her. I love people that I can relate to.

• What do you like about journalism? What do you dislike about it?

What I like about journalism is that there are so many different ways and paths that you can take when it comes to this field. You don’t necessarily have to be a writer. Everyone automatically thinks journalism relates to writing. Although writing is an important aspect in journalism, as a journalist you need to make sure that you know how to do everything – edit, write, report etc. You need to make sure that you know how to speak. With journalism you can be a writer, TV anchor or host, and even a YouTube Creator. You can do whatever you want and find your own path. What I don’t like is that as a journalist you must state the facts and not be biased. There are so many things that are going on in the world that I feel so passionate about or that I would want to give my opinion on, however if I were to work for a news media outlet I would only be able to state the facts, nothing else. That can be hard.

• How do you know when to distinguish between fake and real news?

I know when to distinguish between fake news and real news because fake news to me usually comes off of an untrustworthy source. For example, many people get their news from social media and everything that you see on social media isn’t always accurate. Whenever I see the website that the information is coming from I can tell it’s fake, just by the title or name of the website. People tend to fall into that trap where they believe the news that they see on social media. Real news to me comes from a trustworthy source, usually the more familiar news media outlets. One thing I learned being in college is that you always want to compare articles and it’s always good to see how different news media outlets report on certain topics.

• Recently, you’ve started an internship. How has your experience been so far and what do you enjoy about it?

Ahh yes.. my internship. I love it! My experience has been amazing. I love being able to write about whatever I want. Being able to write editorials for a boutique PR agency and having my work published on their website makes me extremely happy. The feeling and rush that I get whenever I see that my work is being published is such an exciting feeling. I know that this internship is going to take me so far. I am excited for what’s to come! My internship allows me to be creative in terms of my writing and I love creativity. I am blessed, especially because this is my first internship ever and so far it has been the absolute best!

• How does journalism work?

Journalism works when everyone is coming together and doing their part. Think about the articles you read from news media outlets like The Daily News, The New York Times, CNN, The New York Post etc. How are they getting their news? There’s a reporter who goes out and gets the information. They are interviewing people or even making calls. The reporter is making sure that they get quotes from the people they are interviewing. The reporter is also making sure that they have multiple sources and usually they have a photographer, if not I believe sometimes you are your own photographer. Once you have all of your information, quotes and any other sources, there’s your story. Hopefully I’ve summed that up as best as possible.

• How would you tell someone who asks “Should I major or pursue a degree in journalism?”

I would tell them do it because we need more journalists and we need a different variety of journalists. We also need people who are willing to put themselves in the front lines. I would also tell them that journalism has so much room for creativity and you can choose your own path. Make sure that you are doing your research, see what stories and topics need the most coverage, find what inspires you and find out how you want to bring light to these topics. Create your own way and be genuine and authentic because that is how you will get people to listen to you. Once you find your own way, everything else will follow.

Journalism is actually a great career to pursue if you love to write, talk and meet new people who are actually passionate about their work. It gives you the opportunity to turn your curiosity, penmanship (if you’ve been writing all your life) or your passion into a living rather than working at a miserable job just to live off of a paycheck! If you want to be challenged and work on something exciting all the time, this could be the career for you! Oh, and the perks are – you get to travel as well!! That’s a full package right there.

A BIG THANK YOU TO JUANA FOR SHARING HER INSIGHT! You are much appreciated and wishing you many success in your future endeavors, wherever your path may take you.

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