Editor’s note: This interview is part of our occasional “Meet the Beat” series, profiling our youth news team. Jackie Ramírez was interviewed by Boyle Heights Beat reporter Marlén Gamas, a senior at Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School.

Jackie Ramírez, 21

Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School High School, Class of 2015

Mount St. Mary’s University, Class of 2020

Boyle Heights Beat Reporter, 2013 to 2015

Why did you join BHB? 

I’ve always liked writing but I never thought that I was a good writer, so when I heard about this program, I thought I’d give it a try.

What do you most enjoy about Radio Pulso?

I never imagined myself co-hosting a podcast, so I get excited when it’s the last Friday of every month and I get to go and co-host the podcast.

Jackie Ramírez (left) and Andrea Galdámez during live broadcast of Radio Pulso.

What’s something specific you’ve learned about producing live radio? 

You have to be organized with everything, with the script especially. You can’t be doing the script last minute – I still need to work on that. There may be some times when things may go wrong while doing a live podcast, but the most important thing is to just keep going.

What’s something you’ve learned through the program about your community? 

You get to learn about the different types of people that live in the community. Boyle Heights is often portrayed negatively – the only times we’re on the news is when there’s violence. Working for a community newspaper, you get to see the good parts of Boyle Heights.

What’s something you’ve learned through the program about yourself? 

At the beginning I was really shy … I was kind of afraid to ask questions. Interviews scared me. They still kind of scare me, but it’s part of my job. I learned not to be afraid to do something.

What are your college and career aspirations? Do you think you want to continue working in journalism? 

Yeah, I most definitely do. I want to mostly emphasize radio journalism – I think that’s my absolute favorite thing to do. When trying to do a radio story, you get to spend one-on-one time with the person that you’re doing the story on. You’re able to build trust with them so you’re able to get better answers when you interview them.

Has the program helped you overcome any challenges or barriers? If so, tell us about it.

Talking to people was a problem. Now I’m more open going up to people and saying that I’m doing a story, and asking a few questions. It’s helped me in college, too, with my writing – the knowledge I’ve had writing and producing news stories has helped me with my essays.

What does your family and community think of the Beat and/or your involvement with the Beat? 

My family’s a big supporter of the program and me being a part of it. My dad to this day is always like – “You wouldn’t be where you are today without this program.” He knows that this program has changed my life in a good way.

All photos by Gus Ruelas.

The Beat team with Assemblymember Miguel Santiago. Photo by Jackie Ramírez.

The Boyle Heights Beat has become a go-to news source for community residents, civic leaders and policymakers. The Beat also opens new horizons for its youth reporters, providing them with unparalleled experience in civic participation, critical thinking and community leadership.

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