By: Jessica De La Cruz
Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Sonia Nazario engaged in a meet-and-greet with members of the NAHJ chapter at IU on Tuesday, April 15. School of Journalism students sat down with Nazario and enjoyed coffee and baked goods on her first night in Bloomington, learning about her career and the details behind being a good journalist.
Nazario attended Williams College where she received a bachelor’s degree in history. With very little to no experience in journalism Nazario was hired to report for the Wall Street Journal — the youngest reporter hired by the Wall Street Journal at the time. Instead of simply writing the basic business articles she was expected to write, she focused on social issues, writing compelling articles about diverse communities. She eventually left the Wall Street Journal and made her way to the LA Times.
Her passion for reporting on social issues let her to pursue the story of “Enrique’s Journey.” Nazario found herself riding on top of trains and running from thugs in Latin American. In order to adequately describe the hardships of crossing the border Nazario made the same trip Enrique had from Honduras to the United States, twice.
“My job as a journalist is to use every tool I’ve got to get you to trust me,” Nazario said.
Nazario writes about issues that seek change. When she is choosing a topic, there are 10 requirements the story idea must meet. Two of the requirements are that the story must move the reporter on an emotional level, and that there has to be great characters.
Without an emotional appeal an audience will not care as much about the issue, according to Nazario. Journalists must step outside of their comfort zone in order to find the stories that matter.
“We need diversity of voices in the media now more than ever,” Nazario said. “May this give you determination in exposing great stories.”