How Chicas Poderosas Miami helped find my groove back

It’s odd to say that a three-day local mediathon event helped me out of my long-winded depression period. And yet, it’s what happened to me starting on April 10, 2016 when I signed up for Chicas Poderosas.

Prior to this event, I was in a constant state of insecurity after experiencing the first week of 2016 dealing with internship rejections. It’s strange how I’m able to bounce back from dealing with an interpersonal rejection when I sense someone isn’t worthy of my time, energy or relationship. Granted, it took a lot of years of self-care and assurance that it is not my loss. Somehow I still haven’t applied these principles when it comes to career or job prospects. This is where the rejection woes kicked in, as I got three rejections from several newsroom internships I entered during winter break.

The email rejection letters were generic reply-alls with the same caveat: of how they received numerous applications, how competitive the candidate pool was, how they narrowed down their choices that weren’t you, and the well-meaning but cliché phrases of “thanks for applying and best of luck on your internship/career endeavors,” with the signature email listing their editor title and Twitter handle.

The first email I received, I played it off like the K.C. Green “This is Fine” dog meme comic. The first two comic panels feature a dog drinking coffee saying the titular phrase while his house is caught on fire in the background. By the second rejection notice, my inner emotions channeled the last two panels of the dog burning alive as he brushes off his misery. The third rejection was the hardest hit as I got a phone call, while I was out shopping at T.J. Maxx, from the managing editor at a local news start-up saying they didn’t pick me because I didn’t have enough experience. Never did I fought so hard to hold back tears in the women’s shoes department while simultaneously controlling my voice from croaking in the other line when I replied with “oh.” Just “oh.” What else was I supposed to say? I’m a college student with limited bylines so yeah, it was the truth I couldn’t defend and didn’t want to face. I paced back and forth in the size 9 shoe aisle to keep my momentum and still maintain a professional conversation of “thanks so much for the call-back anyway, have a nice day and good luck.”


I found out about Chicas Poderosas after receiving a forwarded email from Miami’s NAHJ chapter. After all, this event was organized by the FIU chapter division and the purpose of this nonprofit is, according to their website’s About section, “to bring Latina women in the Americas into the forefront of digital journalism and to increase the number of Latina women working directly with newsroom technology.”
Latina? Check. Working and pursuing career in journalism? Check. Technology-savvy? Check, please. An opportunity like this, I figured, is what I needed to get myself out of this funk since that phone call back in January. I read the itinerary listed on their website and was immediately sold: panels that range from being a woman of color in journalism to digital portfolio and podcasting workshops, after-party networking events and a finished multimedia product to showcase on Saturday night.

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I’m not a morning person and it showed when I woke up late on the first day despite my excitement of this event. With little time to get ready, I wore whatever I deemed as “comfortable but presentable,” which equaled to my black button-up, basic green tank top layered underneath, denim jeans and sandals. As my husband hit the carpool lane, I dug through my purse to find my travel makeup bag and I spent the entire drive down dolling myself up as we headed to Univision-Fusion Network’s headquarters in Doral for the first day event.

When I signed up and made my way up to the conference room for the first panel, “How to navigate salary negotiation, impostor syndrome and work/life balance,” I saw how full the attendance was at this event. I gripped my husband’s hand and stood behind him, using him as a literal and emotional shield while I move up to an empty corner of the room closer to the panelists.

While squeezing through, I couldn’t help but notice the girls in attendance staring at me with their flawless contour makeup, polished fashion outfits straight out of an upscale mall shopping spree, placing bets at how many of them know each other from taking the same classes and whatnot. And here I was, feeling out of place already and for an event called Chicas Poderosas, I bring my husband aboard too. He didn’t mind it though, he’d rather be amongst women than men anyway.

The panel ends with the moderator opening up a Q&A, and without hesitation, I raised my hand. I came here with a purpose of becoming better and being better so I asked my question in the most convoluted way:

“I want to know if you have any advice or tips on how to deal with rejection. Earlier this year I got rejected from three internships in a week and…”

Before I continued with my sentence, the memories ushered through of that T.J. Maxx phone call. Memories of how I was ignored and under-appreciated at the student newspaper. Insecurities about lack of support and encouragement. I lost it. I cried.

“…it broke my spirit and confidence and I’m not sure of what I’m doing is right, so yeah. How do you deal with rejection?” I finished asking, gasping for breath in between the last several words.

I got angry with myself because the last thing I wanted to be known for throughout this event is to be “the crying girl.” I kicked myself over and over while these women were telling me great advice.

Univision journalist Maria Elena Salinas, one of the only two women anchors on television opposite PBS’s NewsHour, told me the most basic yet strongest advice: “Don’t give up. I got hundreds of doors shut in my face but if I’d given up, I wouldn’t be here doing what I love and ushering in a wave of other women with goals of becoming dedicated journalists.”

“I know it feels like the end of the world right now but trust me, the right opportunities will come. Then you’ll look back on all of this and see how far you’ve come,” Anne Vazquez, former Sun-Sentinel managing editor, reassured me that I still have light years ahead of my career.

The most unexpected, and hilarious advice, came from Univision’s music editor Nuria Net as she quoted one of DJ Khaled’s mantras: “Stay away from they. They wanna shut you down, they don’t want you to succeed.” This got a massive cheer out of the room. It got a gross sobbing and laughter combination out of me.

After everyone else asked their questions and spent their break time taking selfies with the panelists, it was surprising to experience how these FIU girls and even the journalist guests flocked to me with sincere hugs, emotional support and even sharing their own negative experiences.

I never thought I’d open up a Pandora’s box of sorts when I indirectly wore my heart out on my sleeve. All of these women I was so eager to listen to in these panels were stopping me and saying “It’s okay, I’ve been there. I had to cry in the bathroom when I didn’t get a promotion or had my story pitches denied,” or even the extent of “if you need a mentor or advice, here’s my contact info so you can send me your work.” While I still regret the crying bit, I don’t have any regrets on the aftermath that came out of my vulnerability in front of 60 women in that Univision-Fusion conference room.

I didn’t expect that by the end of this conference, it’d produce a butterfly effect of how networking and befriending these women would give me that push and drive to soldier on. I didn’t expect to get this intense level of inspiration in developing side projects onward. I didn’t expect that by gaining confidence and putting myself out there equaled landing freelance gigs with ease. Most important of all, I didn’t expect to leave the conference with my doubts lifted away, new support system and a wallet full of business cards.

It’s been a year and a half since that conference and I’m proud to say that I have my handmade cards ready to give out with no hesitation.


2016 Mid-Year Resolutions

Can’t believe I’m saying this cliché phrase but this year is passing by so quick. To double down on the cliché aspect, I’m typing this blog post outside a Panera Bread because I wanted to get out of the house and feel like a “real freelance writer,” whatever that means. I wrote down an updated new year’s resolutions list before summer ends about my goals for the rest of 2016, in no particular order.

  1. < b > learn to code < / b >: This is somewhat new to me as far as adding it under “list of new things I want to try/learn/do,etc.” With the journalism industry shifting toward digital media, I’m starting to figure out that coding is essential and I need to learn it as soon as possible. I signed up on Code Academy back in 2014 but barely checked in after I made my account. Like 90% of my reasons for not starting anything, I get intimidated and my anxiety builds up if I mess up on even the tiniest detail that might go unnoticed if I didn’t amplify it with my paranoia. Anyways, my goal is to do the Code Academy exercises as a beginner course and when I become more confident, go out to local meet-ups and learn more advanced techniques. Who knows, maybe I’ll build a new website from scratch.
  2. #SideHustle: Okay, so in my case my day job is my side hustle of being a freelancer, but that’s why I’m adding it to the list because it shouldn’t stop me from exceeding the limits of my potential. Basically, my side hustle consists of developing side projects such as a podcast and video series in the works so I can expand my portfolio clips, highlight my versatility as a journalist and most important—for me at least—to have fun doing what I love and share stories of what’s happening inside my community and the outside world out of my reach. I’ll definitely make an update post when said projects are finally live so stay tuned.
  3. Big Buff Cheeto Puff: I couldn’t resist adding a “Steven Universe” reference with this resolution (also, new “Steven Universe” coming soon yay!). Anyway, this one is all about getting fit and toned for the remainder of the year. I’m excited to start going back to the gym with my best friend and start setting up a routine of meal prepping, gym workouts, and fun activities like swimming while it’s still summer. It’s something I need to get back into since my Pilates class ended (took it as a class elective last spring semester) and so I want to keep incorporating those Pilates workouts with gym benefits of using their weight and cardio equipment.
  4. One more year: Based on my records and my university advising appointment, I have one more year left and then I’m finally done with college and will graduate with my Bachelor’s degree August 2017. This is on the list because last year, I made the unfortunate choice to withdraw some classes and ended up failing some too because of how understaffed we were at the campus office. Ever since I started college, I’ve always prioritize work over school because I need to pay my bills and make sure I don’t have any negative numbers in my bank account. Now, since all I’m missing are my core journalism classes and a language course, I just need to pass them no matter what because I refuse to delay my graduation date any longer. All I have to do is keep myself accountable of class assignments, attendance and…actually try to study…? Yeah, that’s it.
  5. Write [online] more: This one is tricky because I’m proud of myself for starting to write more in comparison to last year. However most of it is done using the old-school method of writing down my thoughts and ideas on my notebook. It’s a form of therapy for me and also a way to keep track of my concepts for my side projects, ideas for future pitches, or even jotting down what I did or felt that day. But I know that just because I’m writing more on my notebooks, doesn’t mean I should neglect this blog or have less work published online. I guess this goes back to the anxiety and intimidation feelings because I feel it’s more permanent having something published online. More pressure to produce and write seamless copy and prose. More eyes to read your thoughts by doing a simple Google search. It’s one thing to write and report on a hard news or features story, another to press the “publish” button on your own personal essays and thoughts about my life. Hopefully I’ll do better this year.

That’s it for my mid-year resolution list. I guess now that’s it out, I can be held responsible on whether or not I accomplish it all by the time December 31st comes around. What are your mid-year resolutions for 2016? Have you stuck with the New Near’s resolutions you made on January 1st? Let me know below the comments. Take care.



New Goals and Other News

After a long hiatus with the blog portion of my portfolio website, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands and utilize it for my own benefits. Basically, I’m pledging to use this blog outlet for starting critical essays, behind-the-scene posts on several projects, and being brutally honest with myself.

First, I’m traveling to Puerto Rico for spring break next week and while I’m excited to show my husband the beauty that is “La Isla del Encanto,” I’m nervous about some things. Sadly, I am traveling back after 6-7 years due to a family emergency so that is top priority and I pray everything turns out well for our family’s sake. Another is my distant connection with political events and culture back in Puerto Rico, considering I’ve been engrossed with U.S. media, politics and pop culture. Granted, that was always the case when I was growing up in Puerto Rico but now there is a concrete sense of detachment. I hope I don’t make a fool of myself when it comes to deep conversations or even messing up the irregular verbs when placing a food order (Spanish verbs have always been my weakness).

Once I’m in Puerto Rico for my visit, I need to start doing two crucial things: write more and read more. My abuela’s house doesn’t have Internet access, so I will go old-school and carry a journal so I can write down anything and everything I see, feel, and think. I want to jot down my husband’s reactions as we drive to the other side of the island and marvel at the beaches, scribble my thoughts on why a good old-fashioned Puerto Rican bakery’s mallorca bread is ten times better than the Starbucks counterpart, vent on any possible micro-aggressions I might come across during my stay because of multiple reasons. As far as reading more, I will stock up on books I bought last year that were finally unpacked after our third move (long story). I’m also on the hunt for Spanish-language books while I’m there so I can brush up on my already-weak-as-fuck Spanish reading comprehension. I mean, the brain is a muscle so if I warm up reading in Spanish, I can practice writing in Spanish, get better at both and expand my horizons career-wise. TA-DA!

After my trip, I will edit my journal entries and post them here alongside accompanying photos and videos. Almost forgot to mention: I want to incorporate video in some form during our trip so I’ve been studying some travel YouTube channels I follow as far as how they edit and produce travel content. Not that I’m aiming for a travel channel per-se (though it would be perfect and I won’t knock the idea down), but I’ve been itching to create a YouTube channel out of all my adventures just for fun. So with this opportunity happening, why not take advantage of it?

That’s all I have to say as far as an update and I hope I can find a sense of direction on both my website’s blog and also my life—as cheesy as that sounds.

Thanks for reading.


News Train Orlando 2015 Storify

Hey everyone, I did a thing!

So I attended this conference thanks to an email from my professor last semester. One of the panels talked about social media and recommended Storify, so after the event I made my account. After some struggling hands-on learning, I finished my first post related to the News Train Orlando event.

Take a look and see all the things that I learned alongside other pro journalists in the field. Since I use and they don’t support Storify’s embed feature, here’s my Twitter link instead. Enjoy!


Weekly Link Roundup 1

I know some blogs I follow have this as somewhat filler, so I’m giving it a shot. Hopefully I stick with it frequently and do it every week. If anything, it might benefit my journalism classes considering my professor adds general news segments on his quizzes.


The new 2015 AP Style added and made some changes, like adding “meme” and writing BLT as first reference.

6 Differences between Digital and Print Journalism—same difference, right? Depends.

News, Features & Essays:

Anybody remembers MTV’s Spring Break era? Gawker made a timeline of that provocative-for-its-time seasonal segment from the ’90s until early 2000s. Let the nostalgia roll.

Not gonna lie, but this compilation of teens freaking out about Zayn Malik leaving One Direction made me laugh so hard. Hang in there, tweens of the world.

New Sailor Moon clothes for sophisticated adults are on sale in collaboration with Isetan department store. Too bad I skipped out on visiting Shinjuku during my trip (of course, not being there period is just as sad).

Engineer has to sell his home after two months because of Comcast’s lies. This scares me because it’s another “Comcast horror story” out to the masses and how much of a monopoly they have in America. Save the Internet.

Puerto Rico drops opposition on gay marriage—small news brief about a huge step forward in my home country.

[SPANISH] Alexandra Lúgaro and cardboard feminism—an interesting, critical essay on the local public’s misogynistic commentary on the first female governor candidate for the Independent party in Puerto Rico.

Have a nice weekend, everyone!


Opinion: Brian Williams should not return after his six-month probation is up

DISCLAIMER: The following piece was originally written as a research assignment for my media ethics course. Since I got an A for this paper, thought it’d be interesting to share complete with edits suggested by my professor. Thank you.

After signing a new five-year contract for $10 million a year, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams got suspended for six months without pay following false news reports, according to Poynter Institute.

Considering the public relations crisis NBC has endured with this scandal, it’s only fair for the sake of ethical journalism to fire Williams after his six-month probation.

Williams claimed he was on board a helicopter that was shot by enemy fire in 2003 when he served as a foreign correspondent in Iraq for NBC. Turns out he was inside a completely different helicopter that was not attacked, but behind the main aircraft that got shot.

Once his erroneous statements came to light, Williams apologized live on Feb. 4 saying “it was a mistake.”

When the lies surfaced about which helicopter Williams was on during the Iraq coverage, media outlets started digging through other possible fibs from past news events.

New York magazine’s tell-all reporting on the inner workings of NBC goes so far as to list Williams’ authenticity in meeting seal Team Six on a military flight into Baghdad to seeing a dead body float along the French Quarter in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

“I did see a dead body. Talk to the editor of the [New Orleans] Times-Picayune,” Williams said defending himself to NBC chairwoman Patricia Fili-Krushel.

By stepping up to his own bosses who sign his paychecks, it’s questionable as to why he hasn’t done so with audiences and journalists alike about his white lie.

There’s a reason reporters started digging through his timeline in search for the truth. If he was able to get away with it for over 11 years, what else has he lied about? Can we trust him now?

As a journalist, no matter which medium, there are ethics that need to be taken into consideration to avoid harm in both reputation and society. The most important one is truth and accuracy in news reporting to inform the public.

However, when someone like Williams crosses over as an entertainment brand, there is temptation to bend the rules.

From movie cameos to television appearances in “30 Rock,” “Saturday Night Live” and “The Tonight Show”—all three on NBC nonetheless—it’s clear to see that Williams kicks it up with comedic timing next to Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon.

In past interviews, Williams expressed his interest in taking over “The Tonight Show” and his endeavors in becoming a late-night comedian star. As his fame grew, he wanted to be part of the cool kids and was rubbing elbows with David Letterman, Jon Stewart and Lorne Michaels.

The “Brian Williams brand” extends beyond him and into his daughter, Allison Williams, who is a main actress on the HBO series “Girls” and starred in the Peter Pan musical that aired on NBC during the 2014 holiday season.

Out of all this fiasco, there are some good news. Lester Holt, Williams’ stand-in at NBC Nightly News, received 9.4 million viewers during the first five days since the scandal broke between Feb. 9 and Feb. 13, according to Variety.

A popular brand can make a mistake with their products and can come under scrutiny from consumers and critics alike. Depending on the severity of the mistake, a brand can lose the people’s trust and scramble to make up for its costly mistake.

But at the end of the day, Brian Williams’ main role was first and foremost a broadcast journalist, but instead ended up like Crystal Pepsi.


Introduction Post

Hello world, I did it. I finished my own website after a year of sustaining the domain name and account.

In case you didn’t tackle the rest of my website, my name is Lynnette and I’m currently an undergrad pursuing my journalism degree. In the meantime, I’m getting a head start by currently freelancing and interning for several websites.

Blogging is still new and odd for me, so I’m probably going to keep it topical and post my thoughts on journalism inside and outside of classrooms, links to some of my favorite news articles of the week, and anything else related to it.