Elis Estrada knew local news was her passion even before she became a student at the CUNY graduate school of journalism in the fall of 2010. Born in Mexico and raised in Raleigh, N.C., she ahd spent a year assisting low-income families in Brooklyn as an AmeriCorps member and was greatly dismayed at the lack of media coverage in their neighborhoods.
Today, she had not one but two jobs that fulfill her passion: covering news at th 24-hour cable channel NY1 and teaching secondary-school students how to sort through information at the News Literacy Project.
Estrada’s entree into NY1 was through her summer internship, a requirement for all CUNY J-School students. She continued interning for the station in her third semester and upon graduating, she applied for a writer position – and got it.
Now she is associate producer for the consumer investigative unit, NY1 for You, responsible for assembling two story packages a week.
Estrada provided much of NY1’s coverage on Superstorm Sandy – and is still focusing her attention on the aftermath. Many of her stories concentrate on landlord issues, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) activities, repairs, and insurance.
Estrada also works with NY1’s education reporter, producing breaking news and enterprise stories about New York City’s public education system.
It was her interest in education that brought her to the News Literacy Project, where she server as New York program assistant, helping middle school and high school students decipher fact from fiction. The organization believes it’s important in today’s digital age to teach children to consume and create credible information.
Estrada works 20 hours a week with De La Salle Academy in Manhattan and Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, sharing her experience as a journalist and taking the students on media-related field trips(most recently on a tour of the "60 Minutes" studio at CBS).
Estrada credits the CUNY J-School with teaching her the skills she uses daily, such as framing, shooting, editing, and writing for TV. It also helped her to understand what makes a story newsworthy. “CUNY prepared me to handle anything thrown at me,” she said.
Estrada encourages budding journalists to be a voice for others. “I thought it was important to direct my focus on communities that aren’t getting a lot of coverage,” she said. “I think CUNY students should consider that too.”