Role: Radio producer, Gothamist, WNYC Studios
1. How do you describe yourself, Andres?
I am a radio producer who has been reporting and blogging for a local New York City site, Gothamist, for the past month. I’ve covered food, politics, culture, and anything and everything New York City related.
2. How did you end up at New York Public Radio?
I moved to New York after a disastrous year in Washington DC, and then a futile six months applying to MFA programs around the country. I worked in temp jobs, once at a cosmetics company uploading binders of CDs to their server and then wrapping thank-you gifts for three days straight. I ended up at a temp job at Sony, which turned into a full time job, which, after a couple of years, became worryingly close to a career I didn’t want. I looked at internships in everything from publishing to library science to bread baking, but applied to an internship at WNYC and was thrilled when I was accepted. Coming into that environment, watching how WNYC’s incredible programming was being made, and working with fantastic producers, made me feel very lucky to be there. I knew I wanted to do everything I could to stay. After my internship, I was offered a per-diem job, which luckily turned into a full time job.
3. What's the best professional decision you've ever made?
Quitting my job and taking the WNYC internship. I had to convince myself that I deserved to go after the things that I wanted, instead of just settling for what was within reach.
4. What's something you learned from a professional setback or challenge?
When I was rejected from every MFA program I applied to, back when I was convinced that this was where my life was supposed to be headed, I learned that failure is not that horrible. You can take it, and move on, and it’s fine. It’s the fear of failure that can invisibly shape your actions if you aren’t careful.
5. What's one thing you wish you had known "then"?
That your environment really matters. At least for me, I could toil away on a personal project and get exactly nowhere, because I wasn’t in an environment with the right kind of people who could help me get my work off the ground. That really changed when I started working at WNYC.
6. How have you leveraged experiences you’ve had and connections you’ve made at the NAHJ conference?
This will be my first time attending NAHJ, so I am excited to meet the journalists who are part of NAHJ.
7. What event in your career are you most proud of?
A couple of years ago I produced a series about office lunches, and it got me interviewing people in the office, getting tape from people waiting in line at food trucks, and I even went to the offices of the Bronx Defenders where a group of attorneys had been making homemade lunches for each other for over a year. It just this small and quirky interest of mine that grew into something much bigger, and even got picked up by a few outlets. It showed me that there’s nothing wrong with indulging in your interests, even if it doesn’t look like a “big, important story.”
8. What does your unique voice add to your media organization?
My interest is in food and culture, and the way it intersects with immigration, and I hope that with these stories I can highlight unique voices across New York.
9. What tips do you have for this year's NAHJ, NABJ, and AAJA attendees?
It’ll be my first time going, so I don’t have any tips. I hope that people come with lots of half-baked ideas, stuff that they are passionate about but haven’t figured out how to make yet, that they want to collaborate on.
Follow Andres: @Andresputnik