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Gabriel Sanchez

The non-traditional student talks about making the most of his education.
July 23, 2017

Gabriel Sanchez

Gabriel Sanchez
Photo by David Levitz

Hometown: Caracas, Venezuela
Track within the major: Professional journalism
Graduation: Spring 2017

Why did you decide to become a journalism major?
It started out as a pre-law degree. I wanted to learn how to research and investigate cases as a reporter, but I ended up falling in love with the profession.

What has been your favorite part of your experience at Hubbard SJMC?
My favorite part of the program, particularly as a non-traditional student, has been the capacity to work professionally in journalism outside of the classroom.

What journalism class or professor has had the biggest impact on you?
I don’t have simply one. Chris Ison, Gayle Golden, Professor Jane Kirtley and Professor Giovanna Dell’Orto have all taught me a great deal. Chris Ison taught me how to investigate. Professor Kirtley helped me understand the laws that govern the free press. Gayle Golden taught me how to write news, and Professor Dell’Orto helped me develop a global journalistic perspective.

Are you pursuing any minors, internships, or fields of interest outside your Journalism major? If so, how do you think these enhance your study of Journalism and/or your future career plans?
Though I am Venezuelan, I am what is called a “heritage speaker.” Heritage speakers grow up hearing a language but typically don’t read or write it. I took a minor in Spanish to reclaim some of my culture and to develop Spanish literacy. Now, I can cover our growing Hispanic and Latino communities with colloquial and formal Spanish.

How has being a leader in the Society of Professional Journalists impacted your experience as a student? What's the most important thing you've learned from it?
I’ve learned that professional journalism students are so generous that they help their competitors get jobs. For the members of my group, the pursuit of truth outweighs personal interest. We help each other via connections, training and skills.

What is something about the Journalism school that most people wouldn't know?
How to use their resources! The school’s office has myriad resources to help students with employment and professional development. Apart from that, students don’t use the wellspring of information their tuition pays for. The university and School have subscriptions to many databases they should take advantage of.

What journalism course would you recommend for other students on your track?
The practicums that allow students to work at newspapers and television stations in the Twin Cities. We live in unique proximity to a wealth of professional journalistic opportunities. Students don’t realize how good they have it here.

What advice do you have for future SJMC students?
Don’t give up. Facts matter now more than ever. The Framers considered the free press so vital to our democracy that they explicitly protected it in the Constitution. It falls to us to maintain journalism through its digital growing pains. Given today’s political foibles, the profession’s integrity and our liberties depend on it.