Extending the Reach
Increasing Diversity in the Newsroom & the News
Hosted by Journalism Studies at Texas A&M University
Texas high school journalism students and advisors, as well as current Texas A&M University students, are invited to meet and learn from national reporters and multimedia journalists during the 2021 Extending the Reach journalism seminar hosted by the journalism degree in the Department of Communication. Advance registration is required for the free, virtual event and capacity is limited.
The Brown Bag webinar will begin at 11:30 a.m. when participants will hear from Arelis Hernández, The Washington Post; Marie D. De Jesús, The Houston Chronicle; and Rick Rojas, The New York Times. Audience questions can be submitted via Zoom chat during Q&A with the speakers.
After a brief break, participants will join either Session 1: Investigating Journalism, small group discussions with Hernández, De Jesús and Rojas; or Session 2: Sports Roundtables, with sports media professionals from NBC Sports, The Houston Chronicle, ESPN, 12th Man Productions and TexAgs.
Thursday, April 1 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Brown Bag webinar 1:15 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Choice of: Session 1: Investigating Journalism OR Session 2: Sports Roundtables
The Washington Post
Arelis Hernández is based in Texas to cover the U.S. Southern border. Previously, she covered natural disasters, breaking news and local politics for The Washington Post. She was a member of a team that created “Sin Luz,” an Emmy-nominated and internationally-awarded digital immersion, multimedia project that focused on life in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Previously, she was a crime reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and was part of the award-winning team coverage of the killing of Trayvon Martin. Hernández is co-director of AAJA JCamp, a premiere, all-expenses paid journalism workshop for high schools students. She graduated from the University of Maryland.
Marie D. De Jesús
The Houston Chronicle
Marie D. De Jesús is a staff photojournalist for the Houston Chronicle, producing still and moving images in the nation’s fourth-largest city. She has concentrated on developing relationships with the city’s diverse immigrant and marginalized communities. Those connections have helped power some of the Chronicle’s strongest projects, including “Denied,” a six-month investigation that uncovered the systematic denial of special education services to children in Texas. Another series, “Out of Time,” is chronicling the saga of Juan Rodríguez, a Salvadoran immigrant fighting to stay in the United States with his American family. De Jesús followed the story to El Salvador as an Adelante fellow of the International Women’s Media Foundation. De Jesús was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2017 and won the Scripps Howard Foundation’s Public Service Award that year. She is a native of Puerto Rico, and she developed her interest in multimedia journalism from her father, who until recently was a television camera director for nearly 30 years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in photography from the University of Central Florida in 2008. De Jesús has been national secretary of the National Press Photographers Association for the past two and a half years and recently became co-chair of NPPA’s Mentorship Program. She is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and was born and raised in Puerto Rico.
The New York Times
Rick Rojas is a national correspondent for The New York Times, based in Nashville to cover the South. Previously, he covered a range of assignments for the Times, including religion, several years on the Metropolitan staff covering law enforcement and the Police Department, and the broader New York region. Rojas graduated from Texas A&M with a political science degree in 2010, then joined the staff of The Los Angeles Times where he worked for four years before joining The New York Times.
Charean Williams is a sports reporter who has covered 26 Super Bowls and seven Olympic Games. She is the first woman journalist to enter the writers’ wing of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, to be Pro a Football Hall of Fame selector, and to be the president of the Pro Football Writers of America. She has worked for the Orange (Texas) Leader, the Bryan-College Station Eagle, the Orlando Sentinel and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She earned her bachelors’ degree in journalism from Texas A&M in 1986 and has been named to the A&M Journalism Hall of Honor, the Blackie Sherrod Award, the Dallas Press Club Print Journalist of the Year, the Aggie Women Legacy Award and Texas Sports Hall of Fame Media Award.
John McClain, a Waco native who graduated from Baylor University, is in his 45th year at the Chronicle and his 44th covering the National Football League, including the Houston Oilers and Texans. In 2006, he won the Dick McCann Memorial Award from the NFL for his long and distinguished coverage of the NFL. He’s a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Seniors Committee and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame Selection Committee. In 2015, he was only the third person to be named as a Gridiron Legend in Texas. He also appeared in eight feature films, including “The Longest Yard” and “Invincible.”
Director of Broadcasts
12th Man Productions
As broadcast production manager at Texas A&M’s 12th Man Productions, Justin Argo is the primary contact for the SEC Network and manages live broadcast events at Texas A&M. Argo, Texas A&M Class of 2008, returned to Aggieland in 2017 with more than 15 years of live television and post-production experience, including over 800 live events. Argo has trained producers, directors, editors, and on-air talent for televised broadcasts and he has won 8 Emmy awards. As a student at Texas A&M, Argo worked at 12th Man Productions before earning his degree in Telecommunication Media Studies with a minor in business.
Richard graduated from Texas A&M in December of 2019 with a degree in Telecommunication Media Studies and minor in journalism. Since beginning at TexAgs, the Flower Mound native has worked as reporter, publisher and radio personality. Richard is a diehard Dodgers and Red Wings fan, and he also currently serves as the treasurer of Hot Dog City. #TheTEAM
Graphics Operator, Motion Graphics
Samantha Gamez is native Texan currently living in the Northeast. Sam graduated from Texas A&M University in 2017 with a degree in Journalism Studies. She began her career at ESPN in 2018 as a Controller in the ESPN Motion Graphics department. Since joining the group, she has worked on studio and event productions including First Take, Get Up, the US Open Tennis tournament, and the first remote production of the Australian Open. In addition to her on-air work, Sam has worked on offline projects such as launching the “First Take, Your Take” radio show, the NCAA Tournament Bracket training, and the NFL Draft prep. Currently, Sam is preparing for the WNBA season and overseeing touchscreen maintenance.
Tyler is a Content Associate at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, specifically on the show staff of the Emmy-nominated series College GameDay. Tyler’s role on the staff centers around being the show’s Graphic Producer, but also includes producing all kinds of video elements and pitching segment ideas. Notable events Tyler has worked on include the College Football Playoff, The Rose Bowl Game, and the NFL Draft on ABC. Prior to joining the College GameDay staff, Tyler spent over a year as a Production Assistant on SportsCenter, cutting highlights for the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, College World Series, Daytona 500, and everything in-between.