Role: Reporter on the Wealth and Poverty desk, American Public Media's Marketplace

1. How do you describe yourself?

I’m an Afro-Latina audio journalist. I cover Wealth and Poverty for Marketplace.

2. How did you end up at Marketplace?

I’m one of those people who knew from an early age exactly what I wanted to be – a writer, a journalist, a story-teller. I did my first journalism internship when I was 16 at The Times Ledger Newspapers in Queens, where I grew up. In college, I studied Political Science and Creative Writing and interned and wrote for Ms. Magazine. After graduating, I served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala. When I returned, I did a journalism program that focused on long-form narrative storytelling at Northwestern University and then got my masters at Columbia University where I studied broadcasting. I then worked at newspapers, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and the Miami Herald for a couple years. While I was in Miami, I regularly filed stories for WLRN, the public radio station in South Florida. I then worked at the public radio station in Pittsburgh, where I covered behavioral health. While I was there, I started filing for NPR network shows and Scientific American Magazine podcasts regularly. I received a few fellowships and left that job and spent a couple years reporting from locations abroad and from Pittsburgh for NPR, PRI, APM, BBC and for magazines. Then this position opened up at Marketplace.

3. What's the best professional decision you've ever made?

I think leaving New York to work in what were then unfamiliar cities was one of the best things I did as a young journalist. It gave me a deeper understanding of the U.S. and allowed me to grow as a journalist and tell stories I wouldn’t have been able to tell otherwise.

4. What's something you learned from a professional setback or challenge?

Even though I had studied broadcasting and had produced radio stories, the transition from working as a primarily print journalist to a full-time radio journalist was difficult. I had to get used to the technology, editing, field reporting, writing for the ear and voicing. I learned to ask for help- with everything. I still find myself asking for help. It’s all part of the process.  

5. How have you leveraged experiences you’ve had and connections you’ve made at the NABJ or NAHJ conferences?

I was hired at my first full-time journalism job at The Miami Herald out of an NABJ conference. I’ve made connections at NABJ and NAHJ conferences that have led to other jobs and to fellowships.

6. What event in your career are you most proud of?

I don’t know if I have an event – it’s nice to get awards and letters from listeners.  But I think what I’m most proud of is putting the voices of people that aren’t typically heard on the air.

7. What tips do you have for this year's NAHJ/NAJA, NABJ, and AAJA attendees?

Talk to as many people as you can…especially people who work in different mediums or cover areas you don’t.

Follow Erika: @Erika_Beras