Reporting for daily radio news in New York City
Photo caption: José Olivares edits audio for the daily news at WNYC’s The Takeover.
Reynolds School alumnus shares his journey of getting a job at WNYC’s The Takeaway
As Reynolds School of Journalism alumnus José Olivares prepared to become a bilingual broadcast journalist, reading journalism, non-fiction and history fostered his unique perspective of the world. It also helped him understand how other journalists cover news.
“I would try as much as possible, when I wasn’t in school or when I wasn’t studying, to read journalism trends of the world with a journalistic lens,” Olivares said. “How did this journalist get to this conclusion? How did this reporter end up getting to the end where this article has been published?”
Born in Mexico City and raised in Nevada, Olivares is a 2017 graduate of University of Nevada, Reno, where he dual-majored in journalism and sociology. At the University, he participated in Our Town Reno through the Reynolds Media Lab, the National Public Radio (NPR) Next Generation Radio Nevada Bootcamp and Noticiero Móvil, gaining experience print, broadcast, digital and bilingual journalism.
After graduation, he became a digital news desk intern for NPR in Washington, D.C., and in January 2018, he moved to New York City to complete an editorial fellowship at The Intercept, an online investigative news publication.
“I got to learn a lot of really awesome research skills that I was not able to learn in other places and put them into practice for some of my journalism reporting,” Olivares said. “The work that I did at The Intercept was a little more intense, but it was incredibly rewarding since it was long-form, investigative [journalism].”
While at The Intercept, he investigated many stories, including the Mexico and U.S. national security relationship and the questionable human rights track records. He also recently published a freelance piece for The Intercept about a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee with schizophrenia who died in solitary confinement.
In his current job, Olivares helps prepare the audio and digital content for the Takeaway’s daily news show. His job entails pitching stories, scheduling sources to be interviewed, conducting pre-interviews and writing scripts. Although he is not assigned to a beat, Olivares tends to report on certain topics.
“I’ve been focusing on more Latin American coverage, immigration stories, but also the past couple weeks, I’ve been focusing on policing,” Olivares said.
He shared two segments he has produced since working at The Takeaway: one segment that looked at profits for migrant detention and another segment that looked at the effects of family separation, with an exclusive interview with a migrant father who was separated back in 2015.
Olivares’s bilingual journalism abilities are put to good use as he produces segments and interview sources.
“With the Spanish, it has been incredibly helpful because I’ve been able to interview folks who have been dealing with family separation,” he said, adding that he’s also interviewed people from Mexico about the Mexican elections.
For those students looking to follow in his footsteps, Olivares recommended that students participate in internships and fellowships during college.
“Try to do as many internships as you possibly can. Especially if you are interested in news, try to set up a national one as well just to try and get ahead of the game and get experience so when you do graduate, you’re not starting out on your first internship or your first fellowship,” he said.
He also advised working to pitch and report on quality stories before leaving the University.
“It is a competitive industry. And you are competing with students who are based in big cities like Chicago or New York who have more readily available access to large national publications,” Olivares said. “My advice for students would be to try and pitch as many stories while you’re in school as you possibly can.”