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Wednesday, 01 January 2020 14:47

A Ten Year Path to Journalism

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By Gaby Muro

The start of a new decade is something exciting for some as it is for me and how far along I’ve came in my journalism journey. It’s when I truly found my passion and decided to pursue it no matter what anyone told me.

 

 My interest in writing for journalism kicked of in 2009/2010 while I was a 14 year old Freshman in high school and started started taking creative writing classes. I found something fascinating about walking into class everyday and writing until I was told to stop or until the front and back of my paper were full. I knew then that I wanted a career involving writing but I also loved speaking in front of people. You’d think a young teenager would fear public speaking, but to me that is something I never feared. I also had a great interest in technology that at one point my nickname at home was Tecna, a technology fairy from a popular early 2000’s cartoon called Winx Club. 

 

In 2011 I was a sophomore in high school taking more English and creative writing classes. At one point I remember my school had an assembly about finding your career path and how to pursue it. The school asked us to write an essay about our career path and submit it for a chance to win two movie tickets. Of course, I submitted an essay and won the two movie tickets! That essay was the first time I mentioned I wanted a career in journalism. I wrote about getting a degree in journalism or communications and working as a local broadcast news reporter. Now, I didn’t make that up on the spot. News was something I always had to watch growing up in a home that never had cable TV. Sometimes the news even came to my neighborhood as I grew up in the South part of Stockton. I first had an interest in meteorology because I was better at math, but taking writing classes really helped me find that I enjoyed writing in some way although I wasn’t great at it. 

 

2012 was the year I took my first video production class. I learned how to edit videos. This was when I realized, I could be a news reporter who shoots, writes and edits her own stories. In the news industry this is called an MMJ, a Multi Media Journalist. I couldn’t wait to go off to college and actually do this as my high school did not have a journalism department.

 

I finally graduated high school in 2013 and for financial reasons I decided community college was my best option. I decided to stay in Stockton and enroll at San Joaquin Delta College. 

 

In 2014 I was finally a student at Delta College which had and still has an entire Radio, Television and Journalism department. Throughout my time there I met people who actually worked in the news industry and they helped me become part of the journalist I am today. I took real tv journalism classes and found that local news was my true passion. During my time at Delta some of my work was submitted to the Student Emmy Awards. This year I also met Carlos who owns Central Valley TV, at a fire. He decided to take me along some of his journeys as a local Emmy award winning news photographer. He taught me how to set up a live truck and run a live shot. I remember the day August 17, 2014 clearly. Carlos sent me a text and said there was a homicide at a Chevron on Lower Sacramento Road in Stockton and he asked if I wanted to go with him. I said yes. We get to the scene and there is crime tape all around the Chevron and the body is still at the scene. Carlos looked at me and asked if I was scared. I looked back at him and said no. Unfortunately this wasn’t my first time seeing something like this as I grew up in South Stockton but it was my first time covering a homicide as a young journalist.

 

2015 was the year I covered my first wild fire, The Butte Fire which burned over 70,000 acres of land, destroying over 400 homes and killing two. Carlos and I went for a few days and I remember finding an area which appeared to be a parking space but had cars completely burned to the ground and all that was left was burned metal. I remember standing there thinking about the people who had just lost their homes and cars. I wanted to talk to them and tell their stories. Something I remember more clearly was my near death experience with Carlos while covering this wild fire. A fire engine drives up to us and a fire fighter tells us in a loud scared voice there is no way out of the fire and that it was coming our way. Carlos looked at me and again, asked me if I was scared. I looked at him and told him no. Being around fire crews gave me some sort of peace believing they would stop the fire before it reached us and they did. Those fire men saved our lives that day.

 

2016 was a big year for Black Lives Matter protests and riots in the Bay Area. This year I covered my first riot. Carlos and I decided to go for a few days. I remember seeing protestors outside of the Oakland Police Department chain themselves to the doors of the department, people burning stuff, breaking windows and even shut down I-80.  Officers where in full riot gear and I saw several people get arrested. I couldn’t believe my eyes what I was seeing. This was stuff you would only expect to see in a documentary from a different country but it wasn’t. It was happening close to home. I knew I had to talk to someone protesting. I walked up to a girl and asked her if she would talk to me on camera and she looked at me and very aggressively told me no. Yelling at me, she also told me that all of us news people just make them look bad. Any other journalist would have probably walked away but very calmly, I told her not me and that this was why I was here. So that she could tell me their story. She calmed down and agreed to do an interview with me in Spanish. I remember asking her why stuff was being burned and windows where being broken. Her response stayed with me till this day. She told me that a broken window doesn’t compare to the cost of a broken life and that this was the only way their voices would be heard. The next day my interview was used by a local news station. This same day Carlos and I were almost arrested for simply doing our journalistic jobs and forgetting my credential. After being stuck with protestors and other journalists for almost an hour, an officer recognized Carlos and let us go. 

 

In 2017 all the on camera work I had done led me to becoming the first female emcee for the Stockton Heat Hockey team. Very different from news but I still loved the adrenaline rush hockey gave me just like breaking news does. 

 

At the beginning of 2018 I received a scholarship to go to Israel as a journalist. This award was only given to the top 40 student journalists in the country. I was in Israel for 10 days but my most memorable day was the day I went to Sderot, an Israeli city near Gaza. We visited the Legacy Heritage Park of Good Wishes, a park which has a caterpillar shaped bomb shelter for kids to run to in case they hear air raid sirens or even bombs. Since this play ground is closer to Gaza, children would have 15 seconds or less to run to a bomb shelter. 

 

In May of 2018 finally graduated from Delta and received two AA degrees. One in Radio and Television the other in Interdisciplinary Studies: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. 

 

In 2019 I wanted to put more time and dedication into covering more breaking news. So, I quit all my jobs in 2018 including my job with the Stockton Heat. This decade I have realized that journalism is my true passion and I will continue to tell untold stories and be the voice for those who no longer have a voice because of crime. I am more than just a journalist, I am a human with feelings, empathy and a camera covering stuff that will someday be part of history.

 

Today you can find me listening to police scanners, covering breaking news and writing out documentary ideas for Central Valley TV. 

 

If you or anyone you know has ever been affected by a major crime or a homicide and would like to share your story please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

 

Friday, 27 December 2019 15:19

Turlock Fair Event to be Featured on Disney Plus

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TURLOCK - A popular Stanislaus County Fair event will be featured on the National Geographic Show “The World According to Jeff Goldblum” on Disney Plus.

On July 16th, 2019 Goldblum and crew attended the motorhome destruction derby event to shoot for their episode about RV’s. The reality series is available on Disney Plus and the episode is releasing on December 27th.

 

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The crew was at the fair for a full day to shoot the episode. The Turlock Lions Club provided special motorhomes for Goldblum.

The Disney Plus website mentions “Each episode is centered around something we all love - like sneakers or ice cream.”

On this episode, viewers can expect to see Goldblum at the RV Derby summer show, touring an RV manufacturing company, and riding with a family who lives in an RV.

The Stanislaus County Fair opens July 10th 2020 for a ten-day run. Discounted tickets and deals such as fair season passes and wristbands will go on sale April 25th.

 

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Thursday, 19 December 2019 20:01

Downtown Festivities Kick Off Latest Star Wars Premiere

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MODESTO - Downtown Modesto was filled with characters from the popular Star Wars movies Thursday evening to celebrate the release of the latest chapter of the space saga.

Star Wars Episode 9, The Rise of Skywalker was ushered into Modesto’s Brenden Theater with members of the Central California Garrison of the 501st Legion. The group is an international Star Wars costuming organization.

Scott Simpson, a member of the Central California Garrison, says the group has been involved with the downtown theater to host events like this one since 2002. 

The celebration continued into the evening with live music as well.

The characters will return to the theater Saturday afternoon from 1:00pm to 4:00pm, where guests are encouraged to take photos.

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MODESTO - Jasen Bracey may seem like your average 14 year old junior high student, but this week he and those who know him are celebrating a big accomplishment.

Just like any 14 year old boy might have an interest, Jasen plays football. Saturday he scored his first touchdown of the season, with a little help from his team and a lot of encouragement and support from all who know him.

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”I was a little skeptical and concerned on how I would coach him up and get him involved,” said David Nichols Sr. who coaches Jasen on the Modesto Raiders football team. “We are a non-profit organization and have to take anybody that signs up.”

Coach Nichols’ concern comes from Jasen’s visual impairment. He cannot see at all, however it is apparent that this is anything but a disability for the teen.

”He does everything with his teen and is guided by his teammates and coaches voices during practice,” Coach Nichols said. “During the games he has a little speaker to help him out when he is playing that his dad talks to him through.”

Coach Nichols says Jasen loves the sport and brings a motivation to the team unlike any he has seen in his ten years of coaching youth football. Every player lends a helping hand to see that Jasen enjoys the sport just as much as they do.

”They are definitely brothers,” said Coach Nichols.

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On Saturday, Jasen had his big chance. Although the opposing team knew there was a visually-impaired player on the Raiders, they had no idea when he would be put in.

The Raiders had made their advance to first and goal. The coaches and the team had formulated a plan to ensure Jasen had his moment. Using a modified “wedge play,” the team put Jasen in position with the ball and good blocking. Every offensive player pushed hard against the opposing team and made sure Jasen made it across the goal line.

When the crowd realized the special moment that was happening, they erupted in cheers.

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Jason ran off toward the sideline, shared hugs with his coaches, and was celebrated for his accomplishment.

”We as parents admire his courage to play this sport,” said Melissa Macias Cisneros. She captured the moment on video and shared it with CVTV. “He gives it his all and doesn’t want any special treatment out on the field.”

Cisneros and other parents have become instant fans of Jasen’s courage. With children on the JV team, they often stay after watching their own children play to watch Jasen during his games.

”His passion and knowing the game of football without sight and his instincts to overcome has others on the team believing they can do anything,” Coach Nichols continued.

”He has no fear, what he brings to this team is something like no other I have coached for.”

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Thursday, 05 July 2018 10:54

Family Fun Night Event Returns

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MODESTO - The 12th annual Family Fun Night returns to the Apostolic Jubilee Center for two nights this year. 

The event is a combination of family fun events and games, as well as a community resource fair. The goal of the event is to build relationships and provide information and educate members of the community on various resources available.

There will be bounce houses for children, student performances, free haircuts, snow cones, food and games and more. There will also be giveaways and raffle prizes such as backpacks for first through eighth grade students, as well as bicycles and laptop prizes.

During each event RJ and Charlene Tapia, hosts of the CVTV show Home with the Tapias will be raffling off a 50 inch smart tv at their booth. Attendees can visit their booth for details.

Family Fun Nights will be held at the Apostolic Jubilee Center at 821 Lassen Avenue from 6:30pm to 8:30pm on July 6th and July 13th.

MODESTO - A car show fundraiser set for Saturday morning is set to kick off Graffiti Summer in Modesto.

The third annual Show and Shine at Parkview Christian Estates is expecting 110 pre-registered cars. The yearly event features cars as old as the 1920's up to newer vehicles. The event is a fundraiser for the low income senior housing facility.

The show brings various cars including a Model A club, Corvettes and others. The first year saw 38 pre-registered vehicles with a total of 70 arriving. Last year saw 68 pre-registered with 100 showing up. This year 110 vehicles have pre-registered.

There will be 45 awards to be presented at the show, as well as sponsor items and vendor booths. For lunch, tacos and burritos by Taqueria Modesto will be available as well as Ice Cream from Velvet Grill and Creamery.

Cars are expected to arrive beginning at 7:00am, with the show going until about 3:00pm. Last year's event raised approximately $5,000 for the senior living facility. The money raised is used toward food for the residents.

For more information, you can click the link HERE.

The car show will be held in the parking lot at College Avenue and Rumble Road.

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CERES - A 9 year old boxing champ is preparing to attend the Silver Gloves national boxing tournament in Kansas City, Missouri in February after dedicating his most recent win to a special fan.

 

Andre Flores began boxing competitively at eight years old in 2016. A young focused athlete, he uses boxing to build his confidence. In total, he has won eight fights, one exhibition where he was awarded a belt, and two walkovers.

His first fight was in Stockton against an opponent from Salinas named Soto. Andre never showed any signs of nervousness during the event.

“When the fight was over, he came out of the ring and asked who won,” said Andre’s father Damian Flores. Andre re-entered the ring to be announced victorious.

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Damian is Andre’s strength and conditioning coach. His routine running is three miles. He runs up and down stairs. He sprints with resistance bands. He attaches two pound weights to his wrists and legs and jog and punch. Andre doesn’t tire out and has outrun other athletes nearly ten years older.

At the gym, Andre is very focused. He does three rounds of shadow boxing, then three rounds on a speed bag. He spars with other athletes, often times older than himself. After the gym, he goes home to complete all of his homework. Andre’s ethics are described as respectful and loving, and has even made the honor roll at his school.

In addition to boxing, Andre played baseball as an all-star pitcher, and football for the Ceres Junior Bulldogs. He made 16 touchdowns in eight games. It was through his time playing football, where fate would have Andre meet his biggest fan and touch her heart in the most unexpected way.

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Dinia Beltramo’s son played football with Andre two years ago. She connected with his father Damian via social media to see if he might have taken photos of her son at any of their games.

Dinia has suffered devastating major losses in her life recently. She lost her father on September 17th to a terminal cancer. She was due to be married the next day. She received word of his passing at 2:00am.

On Friday, September 30th, her husband passed away from cardiovascular disease. He showed no symptoms, as the disease may have disguised itself as heartburn.

On Monday October 18th, her grandfather passed away. He was 99 years old.

Dinia was in a very deep grieving stage from back to back losses when she received a phone call. It was Andre’s dad Damian checking in on her. They spoke briefly when he passed the phone over to Andre.

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“He expressed his condolences to me then he said he was going to win the fight for me,” Dinia said.

Andre kept his promise and won his championship match that night.

The act brought a lot of encouragement and strength during what Dinia described as a pit of grief. It made Andre feel good about himself.

Reaching the championship was not as easy as it sounds. Andre had to compete in the valley division of the tournament, which began in Fresno. He advanced through the regionals which included seven states. He defeated Ronald Plata from Arizona and Danten Kaheaku of Hawaii, who had won the nationals twice in previous competitions.

So from February 1st through the 4th Andre will find himself in Kansas City, Missouri competing in the national championships. While everyone will be rooting for him, he has his one biggest fan who will be cheering a little harder.

If you would like to support Andre on his trip, his family has established a GoFundMe account for him. You can donate by CLICKING HERE.

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