BUSINESS

Former Newswatch reporter enters the real world of journalism

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Daniella Oropeza sits at the Newswatch desk. Photo by Brantley Meaders

Brantley Meaders
Oxford Stories

Newswatch field reporter, Daniella Oropeza, recently received her degree in broadcast journalism. Daniella joined Newswatch as a junior in 2015.

Although she’s sad to leave, she has plenty to look forward to. “Through this program, I’ve been accepted for internships at WAPT in Jackson, as well as WTAE in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,” she said.

The University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media program is the reason she came to Oxford.

“Aside from that, Oxford is just downright beautiful,” she said. “There are so many things to do, people to meet, and places to visit. I love it here.”

Oropeza graduated from Clinton High School (a city near Jackson) in 2013. It’s her love of being in the know that led her to pursue a broadcast degree.

“I’ve always liked to know what’s going on, whether it’s local or global,” she said, “and being able to talk about events with people. I’ve always been engaged with my community. As a reporter, I get to talk to them and give them information about interesting topics. It’s perfect for me.”

According to Oropeza, her time at Ole Miss has been the “trip of a lifetime.” One moment really stuck out, however. Last year, she visited the White House for College Reporter Day as one of 50 reporters selected.

“After we spent all day meeting with members of the White House, we had a mock press briefing with Josh Earnst,” she said. “We all thought President Obama was in a whole different state. Then he walked in and surprised us.

“I was sitting in the very back row, but I stood out because I was the only one in red. I raised my hand to ask a question, and (President Obama) chose me. But before I asked my question, I said, ‘Hey. My name is…,’ and before I could finish my name, he jokingly said, ‘Hey’ and tilted his head with a big smile. It was an awesome moment.”

The video was posted by NowThis on Facebook and was viewed by more than 4 million.

“Because I asked a question, and because he jokingly said ‘hey’ back, I got interviewed by CBS News, Telemundo, and Univision. I will never forget that day,” Oropeza said.

Newswatch partner Colin Rivera has worked with Oropeza for a year. She prepares graphics for his sports segment.

“She’s really passionate,” he said. “Daniella is really good behind the scenes. She can get things done in a small window of time. That’s a good skill to have in the broadcast news industry. Daniella definitely has what it takes to be a great news reporter.”

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Daniella Oropeza at work. Photo by Brantley Meaders.

Oropeza plans to pursue a reporting job. “I would rather be a reporter than an anchor,” she said, “because it takes me out in the field. Yesterday, I got to go out and do cryotherapy. It’s something new every day. I love that.”

Broadcast journalism poses a different challenge than print journalism. Presenting news on air requires a certain engaging and charismatic delivery. Oropeza said one of the most important rules of broadcast journalism is to be conversational.

“My first time on, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing,” she said. “When I first started, I was on there with people who had been there for two years and knew what they were doing. I was so nervous.”

After learning the ropes, Oropeza said the program has taught her much about the broadcast industry, such as “being on air, all the producing and editing behind the scenes, as well as the sales and marketing aspects.”

“It has also taught me a lot about myself. I know my strengths. I’m able to do whatever it takes to get a story done. It’s my determination and passion. I also know what I need to work on.”

Newswatch airs on Channel 12 Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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