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UTEP graduating senior Sarah Franco ventures into an unpredictable field

Photo courtesy of Sarah Franco
Sarah Franco is graduating from UTEP and she aspires for a career in journalism.

Sarah Franco began her college career with a passion for journalism, which led her to valuable internships and opportunities. Fast forward four years later, her passion continues, but the landscape of journalism, as well as the world around her, is changing and evolving in various facets.

Franco will be graduating from UTEP in December with a major in multimedia journalism and a minor in film. Her work as a student journalist has been published in Borderzine, an online magazine at UTEP that bridges the classroom and the newsroom.

“I love writing and that is what got me into journalism,” Franco said. “I love connecting with people so anything having to do with person-to-person connection is what I want to do in the future.”

The journalism department at UTEP is home to professors like Dino Chiecchi, a multimedia journalist whose career has taken him to many places from Austin, Texas to Hong Kong. Chiecchi also severed as the adviser to UTEP’s National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) student chapter.

Franco recalls traveling alongside Chiecchi to Houston, Texas for a journalism print convention. The convention helped expand her opportunities in the field of journalism outside of a conventional classroom setting and structure her writing as an emerging professional journalist.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic a large majority of courses have transitioned to strictly online leading students in the journalism department, like Franco, to adapt to covering stories in different measures. Virtual interviews have replaced face-to-face interaction, as remote means overtake the field.

“There have been a lot of limitations and you are not able to go out as freely,” Franco said. “I think what has been great is everyone has been working well with each other and understanding that we are very limited.”

Franco believes the current pandemic has shed light on the importance of journalism relating to concrete facts and accurate reporting.

However, like many aspects of the work force, the pandemic gas also led to numerous layoffs within the already scarce employment field that is journalism. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for reporters, corresponds, and broadcast news analyst in 2019 was $46,270 with an hourly pay of $22.25.

“I think I have always thought about the salary and job outlook within journalism and during this pandemic you have to find reporters that really understand and want the truth,” Franco said.

In preparation to life after graduation, took part in various internships and academic experiences including working for local non-profit , serving as senior ambassador within her study abroad program , and being a part of (NAHJ).

“In the beginning of freshman orientation this woman had told me that when you graduate you should have two internships at best four, which I keep at the back of my mind,” Franco said.

Through her internships Franco has strengthened her public speaking skills and is more comfortable conducting interviews.

She hopes to continue strengthening her skills by pursuing a master’s degree in writing. Franco hopes to go as far as becoming a journalist in a foreign country.

“I knew that graduating in the fall you either jump right into the work field in the spring or you take your time into the field and I wouldn’t mind a little break to not over exhaust myself,” Franco said. “I really love learning and traveling, unfortunately, I cannot do that due to the pandemic, but by Spring I will know exactly where I want to be.”

A key piece of advice Franco has for fellow student journalists is to take advantage of the many opportunities college has to offer and always put generosity first. . .

“The best advice I can give is making the person you are interviewing comfortable and try to be as sincere as possible,” Franco said. “People have a specific idea of how journalist act, acting in a generous and nice way will help.”

Isaiah Ramirez may be reached at [email protected]; @_IsaiahRamirez1 on Twitter.

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About the Contributor
Isaiah Ramirez is a senior multimedia journalism major at the University of Texas at El Paso. Isaiah has worked for the university’s paper The Prospector since Spring 2018 and has held the position as a sports editor and is currently a reporter at the publication. During the fall semesters he also works as an on-air reporter for Football Friday Nights a weekly radio show showcasing local football games broadcasted by 600 ESPN El Paso. He covers local news as well as local and UTEP sporting events such as football, men’s and women’s basketball, and has covered the annual Hyundai Sun Bowl game and two-time NBA champion Danny Green’s basketball camp here in the Sun City.
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UTEP graduating senior Sarah Franco ventures into an unpredictable field