Ten straight semesters, three and a half years. Oh boy, what a ride it’s been.
The first day I stepped foot into The Prospector’s office, I was an eager kid with a folder containing my resume and application to turn in. It was my first day of freshman orientation. I knew that the second I enrolled at UTEP, I wanted to leave my mark on student publications and grow as a journalist.
Today I sit, almost like a separate graduation, ready to leave and continue my career as a journalist. It was because of The Prospector—not classwork, not a specific professor or even the university—that I was given hundreds upon hundreds of opportunities to grow in my craft.
Through countless UTEP athletics events, Chihuahuas games, Sun Bowl matchups and a bit of national coverage, I found my niche in sports reporting. It is what led to my coverage of high school football for Texas HS Football and Town Talk Sports El Paso last year that helped me boost up my experience for my eventual job at 600 ESPN El Paso.
During my freshman year, I was given an opportunity to cover the media events surrounding the NCAA Final Four (2016), when Villanova hit a game-winning 3-pointer to beat North Carolina 77-74 in one of the more spectacular Final Four finishes. That springboarded an opportunity this past year in March to cover the Final Four again, but this time alongside two sports reporters (Jeremy Carrano and Mikey Flores) at The Prospector and when I was more seasoned in journalism.
There were intangibles that The Prospector gives to us, such as a first-hand glimpse on what it means to act and practice as a journalist, with real-time deadlines, managing a staff and putting together weekly papers. It is perfect for anyone that truly wants to spend time working toward being a journalist.
But there are some downsides that cannot go unnoticed. When I started at The Prospector, our weekly print publication was thick, filled with content and was an average of 12 pages per issue. Due to budget cuts, we were forced to cut down our size and limit our page count, which really limits how much content we include in our paper. This past summer was the first summer where we didn’t print our issues.
This isn’t intended to be a grim goodbye because the good outweighed the bad by a longshot. Our staff poured their hearts out semester by semester to get the most out of our publication. I gave everything I had to this publication and in turn, was granted success after hard work, won collegiate awards, earned notoriety, received great friendships and worked to leave my staple here.
So for my Prospector family, my special thanks to everyone I ever encountered at the office and spent time with. More specifically, thank you to Javier and Michaela for taking a chance on me and hiring me. I’ll always cherish the debates I had with Javier, who will go on to be a great professor someday and I’ll never forget all the productive work weeks I had with Michaela. She is currently working for the Salem Statesman and will have an incredible journalistic career.
My two advisors, Kathy and Vero, meant more to me than they will ever know. Kathy will forever remain a legend at UTEP for pioneering work in the communications department and will have a special place in my heart for how much she pushed me to do better. Vero took over for Kathy in the summer and juggled being the head of the department, our advisor and ran the advertising department without losing her head, which was amazing. Marcy Luna and Isabel Castillo helped us immensely in our front office and I can’t thank them enough for their support and kindness toward me.
I was extremely proud of the sports department at The Prospector during my time. Working alongside journalists like Gaby Velasquez, Jeremy Carranco, Jason Green, Mikey Flores, Curly Mendez, Augie Touris and Isaiah Ramirez was a blessing. Our spring staff comprised of Jeremy, Gaby, Mikey, Curly, Isaiah and myself might be one of the best sports departments at the student media publications in years. Gaby put out some of the best sports photography this city’s seen, while Curly kept everything intact in the sports department as acting editor since the summer. I’m excited that Isaiah will be succeeding us next semester and I know he will do a great job with the editorial spot.
My thanks to the past editors that helped groom me to become the reporter I am today, such as Luis Gonzalez, Amanda Guillen, Rene Delgadillo, Christian Vasquez, Elenie Gonzalez Maria Esquinca, Jasmine Aguilera, Jose Soto, Eddie Velazquez, Jacobo De La Rosa, Eric “Mike” Vasquez, among others.
To the current staff, I am proud of how we were able to push through adversity this semester and still be able to put out a product on time and consistently. The returnees, Gaby Velasquez, Gigi Flores, Brianna Chavez, Sergio Munoz, Curly Mendez and Isaiah Ramirez helped us shape what we did this year. I’m very proud of how they developed as leaders and continue to grow. The newbies—Andrea, Catherine, Valeria, Alexia and Christian—were pushed to the limit in terms of how hard they worked, but each rose to the occasion. I’m comfortable that they will step into editorial roles in a swift manner.
And finally, thank you to my mom, dad, sister, grandmother and girlfriend for their continued support. They are the reason I continue to chase my dreams and aspire for more.
As for me, no, I’m not graduating just yet. I’m set to graduate this May, but I have accepted a job with 600 ESPN El Paso that will demand more of my attention. I’ll still be in the Sun City, but focusing more on radio and reporting with KROD.