Coachella Unincorporated Coordinator Returns to Broadcast Roots

May. 3, 2012 / By

Former Coachella Unincorporated Coordinator Gloria Rodriguez, now a morning anchor at KMIR 6, recently interviewed Andres Valencia and Berenice Venegas, students involved with The Hue Festival. PHOTO: Esperanza Navarro/Building Healthy Communities

By Aurora Saldivar
Coachella Unincorporated

Gloria Rodriguez knew she wanted to be a journalist at a very young age. She went on to have a career in broadcast journalism before helping to launch Coachella Unincorporated, a youth-led media outlet in the Eastern Coachella Valley, in early 2011.

Rodriguez, former co-coordinator of Coachella Unincorporated, recently returned to her broadcast roots by adding her unique voice and talent to the KMIR 6 news team.

“I missed the news,” said Rodriguez. “I thought this would be the perfect time to get back into it.”

No stranger to KMIR 6, Rodriguez had previously worked as a weekend anchor and reporter for the station before taking a break from television to explore other pursuits, including Coachella Unincorporated.

“I greatly enjoyed working with the youth of Coachella Unincorporated as we worked to raise awareness of important issues in the East Valley,” said Rodriguez. “More than anything, I enjoyed seeing the students strengthen their voices.”

Rodriguez feels she is in tune with the needs of local viewers, “helping the community through journalism, and being able to inform the community of what’s going on in the neighborhood.”

After graduating from Cathedral City High School, Rodriguez studied broadcast journalism at University of Southern California, and went on to receive a master’s degree from Columbia University in New York. During her time in New York, Rodriguez did free-lance reporting for the New York Times. After working in television news in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Rodriguez came back to her hometown.

“I urge students to be persistent,” Rodriguez advises aspiring journalists. “Often journalists go for easy stories.”

For Rodriguez, reporters hold a sense of responsibility. She stresses the importance of pieces that bring attention to East Valley issues.

“Shedding light on important issues is what journalism is about,” she said.

As an example, she recalls her coverage of the “Duroville” trailer park in the Eastern Coachella Valley.  Her passion is “covering stories, like Coachella Unincorporated does, on the conditions of residents and culture.”

Rodriguez’s strong voice still serves as an inspiration for her Coachella Unincorporated student reporters, who can now watch her informing the community every weekday morning on KMIR 6 from 5 to 7 a.m.

“I enjoy helping to form young voices and encourage local students go to college and dream big,” she said.

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Coachella Unincorporated

Coachella Unincorporated is a Youth Media Startup in the East Coachella Valley, funded by the Building Healthy Communities Initiative of The California Endowment and operated by New America Media in San Francisco. The purpose of the project is to report on issues in the community that can bring about change. Coachella Unincorporated refers to the region youth journalists cover but also to the unincorporated communities of the Eastern Valley with the idea to “incorporate” the East Valley into the mainstream Coachella Valley mindset.