By Joe Contreras, Photos by Teddy Gomez, Latin Life Denver
It was a very special night as Latinas and Latinos from various media organizations came together to celebrate the advancement of Latinas in the newsroom and in other areas of media management. They all gathered recently at the Channel 9 studios for an evening of networking and sharing stories of their lives in the media business.
Anne Trujillo, News Anchor from 7News, Lynne Valencia from 9News, Elaine Torres from CBS4, meteorologist Belen De Leon of Channel 9, and many others joined Author and Latina Circle of Leadership founder Juana Bordas in welcoming keynote speaker Minerva Perez.
Perez was one of the first Latina television anchors in the U.S. anchoring in both Houston and Los Angeles. She recently wrote a book about her experiences in news broadcasting titled “I Gotta Story”. Perez has interviewed dozens of top newsmakers including the Pope and Fidel Castro.
Perez talked about the importance of having a local chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in Denver saying it would provide a voice for Hispanics in Media. “I do not see many Latinas nor Latinos in the local television media here in Denver,” she said. “Anymore they don’t stick around for long in any one market as they did in the past.
Perez talked about the challenges she has faced in television reporting from her horrible experiences covering the Waco standoff with David Koresh and the Branch Davidians for 56 days to her time with Fidel Castro and the Pope.
A review from Brazos Bookstore describers her book “I GOTTA STORY” as an autobiographical look at her 30 year career in TV News. A compilation of “her stories around the big stories of the day,” it covers the start of her career as a greenhorn intern/reporter in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas to her ascension to the biggest TV markets in the country.
Perez weaves her personal accounts of what happened covering the major stories of the day: Pope John Paul II’s visit to L-A; the death of Tejano Queen Selena; the Northridge Earthquake; Hurricanes Rita and Katrina; the Waco Siege; Fidel Castro in Havana; the Guadalajara gas explosion; among many others. She weaves tales about being out there in the trenches as a reporter and on the anchor desk and how it shaped a career and came at a cost to family, friends, and work relationships.
Her stories of intriguing news figures, ordinary people and historic events spell out a long journey that was sometimes bumpy, sometimes crude and sometimes comical and entertaining. I GOTTA STORY speaks to the incoming generation of reporters about the struggles, the redemption, and the rewards of being a broadcast journalist and it ultimately reveals what really happens when one seizes a great opportunity and runs with it all the way to the top.