Rock n' Pop

Embedded in the newsroom

In Rock n' Pop

By Debra Peña
July 25, 2017 at 10:45 a.m.

Another great dream job! Have you evewondered what type or place of employment would be like if employers offered the best and inviting environment for their employees? The Victoria Advocate Newsroom is this awesome job! I had an awesome experience. 


The Victoria Advocate: How do I begin? The employees: Amazing! The aura of the newsroom: Comfortable. Inviting. Family-like. 

Several genres of music bring comfort to my soul. The Advocate’s newsroom is like relaxation of mind and body through the feeling of music. Here’s the story. 


As an English teacher returning to teaching high school, I wondered what aspect of a Summer Externship Program I would choose to instill into my students’ minds to motivate them. This program is hosted by Workforce Solutions of the Golden Crescent. 


What’s an externship? To put it simply: a temporary training program in a workplace, especially a project teacher and employer agreement.” Some of the businesses’ roles heighten teacher/student awareness of career opportunities (entry level to executive) in the participating business field and provide “real world” examples and problems for teachers to use with their students to show the connection between school and employment. The teacher’s role among others, is to interview employees at various levels about their jobs to gain information that will be used to broaden the teacher’s scope of career information and to perform some actual duties so that s/he can gain experience about a variety of skills associated with the business. 


My assignment: The Victoria Advocate Newsroom. To begin, Ms. Carolina Astrain, one of the Advocate’s former reporters and now editor, made me feel extremely comfortable as she explained my role, guided me as we toured the building, and introduced me to the reporters. Every reporter made me feel right at home while she explained her/his job description. I was given my own space to “shadow” and write notes. Everyone from Maintenance to Upper Management always had a positive attitude. Wow! Even Maintenance gave me some great advice about some useful teacher material ideas. No money needed! Nice. 


The Newsroom: sometimes, I’d hear the clicking of reporters’ fingers clicking keyboard keys or voices of obtaining news from conversations over office phones. Also, having their cell phones on all the time, was allowed. Of course, this is expected in the journalism field. Even though all have her/his job duty and office area, reporters are comfortable with open space; no cubicle separates one from the other. How awesome! Reporters come and go; work is accomplished. No micromanagement needed here! This team works together to produce the daily newspaper or other media. While I observed different personalities, everyone remained positive, whether in meetings or in collaboration with one another. Everyone respected each other’s opinions.  Also, attending a webinar with the reporters and their supervisors was a neat learning experience. Lastly, one extremely important element of this newsroom: the ambience of chuckles and humor can be heard among the newsroom reporters. What a team! 


Part of my externship was to go out with a reporter into the field. The morning was a hot one. No excuses about the weather. A newspaper reporter must go out and get the facts. That morning, my privilege was to observe her photographing different areas of West High School’s marching band without getting in their way. And interestingly, the interview process sparked an interest in me. This field experience will definitely help me to connect real world experiences with my students. Thank you to the Advocate’s reporter for allowing me to shadow her today!  


Interestingly, the following morning, another reporter drove me with her to Yorktown. Yay! We’re going to a bed and breakfast in Yorktown. I had no idea where we were going. All I can say is that we were traveling somewhere out in the boonies. All of a sudden, a beautiful scenic place of “out in the country” can be viewed. Even today was a hot, seething day. However, because the reporters love what they do, and I surely did, the weather is over-looked. Just the excitement of getting photos and information occupies the mind and “the feel”.  Yes, what a method to make this memorable experience inclusive in descriptive writing. Again, many thanks to another reporter for allowing me to shadow her today!   

A final realization. Many events and places exist, which are not known, in and around the Victoria, TX area. If the newspaper isn’t read, some miss out on excitement. The Advocate’s reporters keep everyone “in the know”. Just read the paper. 


The few days I spent in the Advocate’s newsroom ended. My thoughts filled with a sense of leaving a comfortable place because this didn’t feel like a job. Reporters love what they do!  Thank you, Carolina Astrain for guiding me. Yes, The Victoria Advocate is this awesome job! Thank you, Victoria Advocate! 



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