KRWG

Las Cruces High Graduate Serves As PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs Fellow

Jul 14, 2020

This summer, KRWG Public Media partnered with the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs to offer a special experience for a Las Cruces student.

Xavier Dominguez recently graduated from Las Cruces High School and will be attending New Mexico State University.  He got an early start on his college education this summer thanks to a paid fellowship with KRWG.

The funding was provided through the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs.  Xavier previously took part in two summer programs with the Student Reporting Labs and KRWG Public Media worked with him in the Las Cruces High School broadcasting program.

But this summer was a very different experience.  As part of the internship, Xavier was assigned an in-depth feature.  He chose to cover how the labor market is being affected by the pandemic.  And while he had guidance with an outline and his final script, he also had great independence to develop the story, providing a “real world” experience essential for those aspiring to work in broadcast journalism.

Xavier says the effort required a lot more research than shorter stories he’s produced in the past.

“For me, the way I approached the story was to do it both locally and nationally, because I feel we should be aware of what’s happening nationally as well. So that was the way I wanted to approach it, especially it is about employment.  Employment affects everyone in the world.  And especially the U.S. right now, with COVID-19.  So the way I tackled it, I wanted to do both locally and nationally.  But I also wanted to get a sense of how it’s actually affecting people.  Because this is a day to day struggle for a lot of people who can’t find employment.  I definitely wanted to hit that topic more sensitive, so people do know they’re not alone and everyone in this country is facing this struggle as well,” said Dominguez.

KRWG Director of Content Fred Martino, Ph.D., speaking to students in Xavier's Broadcasting class at Las Cruces High School.

Fred Martino, Ph.D., KRWG Director of Content asked Dominguez:  “Since you are entering college in August, you’re getting a head start on something that none of us thought we’d ever have to do.  Here we are doing an interview with masks on.  You did all of your interviews for this story remotely.  Tell me how that’s helped you in terms of your confidence going into the fall, knowing that you have down here some of the techniques.”

Dominguez responded: “It definitely has boosted my confidence about going to NMSU in the fall because I actually do know what I’m going to be doing on Zoom.  I don’t really need as much training since I already learned it with the internship at KRWG.”

Watch Xavier's report below:

Earlier this year, Xavier was honored as one of the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs Student Journalists of the Year.  He received the award at The National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) conference in Washington, D.C. 

Xavier was honored as one of the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs Student Journalists of the Year at the NETA Conference in Washington, D.C.

“It was definitely a life-changing experience, because there was only four of us in the nation.  And for me, being able to represent the Western side of the country, especially Las Cruces, that I know of, not a lot of people have done that.  And we’re one of the first ever Student Reporting Labs Student Journalists of the Year, so it was definitely an experience I can put on my resume.  And I’m excited for my future and for what PBS has brought me, and being able to bring that into NMSU and try to be something different, and try to send out more, is definitely something I’m looking forward to,” said Dominguez.

Xavier’s in-depth report on how the pandemic is affecting the labor market will air on a July episode of KRWG-TV’s Emmy Award-winning “Newsmakers.”