Name: Gabrielle Arzola.
Hometown: I am from Miami, Florida.
Degree/Major: Bachelor of Science – Journalism (Minor: Communication)
Where are you working?
I am currently working at CBS 4 (WFOR) as a Reporter.
How did you get your job?
When I graduated FIU in December 2016, I got my first job at CBS 4 in Gainesville, Florida. Same name as my current station in Miami, but completely unrelated. It was an incredible first job. As a Miami girl, it was a culture shock to live in a place so rural. I saw my first wild deer! I also had a great news director, Andy Paras, who really helped me with writing, and how to navigate the news world. While I was in Gainesville, I reached out to a reporter who used to work at that station. I found her biography on a news station website—and with her help, she put in a good word for me and I landed my next job in Tampa, Florida. Tampa is the largest market in Florida—and luckily, I got in. I was in Tampa for 3 years, learning/refining my writing and TV presence—when I signed with a TV news agent, Josh Gropper with Napoli Management. With his expertise and guidance, we landed a reporter job here in Miami!
What was your greatest fear going into your first job and how did you overcome it?
My greatest fear was not being good enough to do this job. Being a TV journalist is not glamorous. It requires 10+ hour days, quick thinking, and tight deadlines—it’s not for everyone. What helped me overcome it was reminding myself that I was put in this position for a reason. In all honesty, there are many days when I still feel inadequate—but I always work on being kinder to myself. Being around positive and encouraging people helps, too! Also, my mom and dad tell me every night that I did a good job– and their opinions are the only ones that truly matter, right?
What surprised you the most about the job?
Even under tremendous stress and extremely tight deadlines—everyone at CBS 4 is so kind and caring. I feel truly lucky and blessed to have them.
What advice do you have for those beginning the job search process?
Definitely intern before you decide to do this! The idea of being a reporter, and being a reporter—are two very different things. Also, find a mentor in your internship. Christina Vasquez from WPLG was my mentor in college, and it’s surreal that I now get to work alongside her in the field.
What does a day on the job look like?
Well, every day is different! I work nightside (2:30pm-11:30pm) so I spend a lot of my morning trying to find stories to pitch. We have a meeting at 2:30 and our executive producer decides the stories we will cover. Oftentimes, there is breaking news all over Miami, so you’ll most likely be seeing me running around town doing live shots—most of the time, I go live at 7pm and 11pm. When I’m not live, I am trying to find interviews, writing, and working alongside my photojournalist to create the stories you see on TV.
How does your job connect back to your coursework?
Professor Jay Sandhouse truly helped make my first job easier. In Jay’s classroom, we learned how to edit in Adobe Premiere, and he constantly gave me pointers on how I could be better on camera. With the guidance of Jay Sandhouse, Fred Blevens, Lilliam Martinez-Bustos, and of course, Moses Shumow—they helped shape the journalist I am today!
How has your transition been from school to work? How do you balance your time?
The transition was very difficult! I thought having a large course load was stressful—which in many ways, it was. However, the real stress came in moments when I arrived at a breaking news location, and I had to be live in 2 minutes. Yes, that’s happened MANY times. I went from always having my weekends off—to having to work every Sat/Sun for years. Stress is relative! In this job, it’s very difficult to manage your time. Thankfully, with my family in Miami, I’m able to spend more time with them on my days off.
What’s been the coolest thing about your job so far?
The coolest thing about my job is how many incredible people I meet every day. There are so many folks who live in our community that are doing great things. My main goal as a journalist is to help others. If I can inspire my community—by showcasing wonderful people with great stories to tell, then I’ve done my job.