Ask the Expert – Luisa Alvarez

June 22, 2020

Did you choose the journalism industry? Or did it choose you?

I think it chose me. Right out of high school I had my heart set on getting my degree and going to Law School but I decided to take a year off to travel first and moved to Madrid, Spain to teach English. While living in Spain I realized how much I loved traveling and meeting new people and most of all hearing their stories. My mother always told me to be a journalist because as a child I would ask countless questions to everyone. When I realized I didn’t want to go into law anymore and instead wanted a career that would allow me to move around and meet interesting people, my mom once again reminded me journalism was an option so I listened.

What is your favourite story you reported, and why?

There are so many to just choose one but I think if I had to choose it would be a recent one actually. About a program pairing senior cats with senior citizens to combat social isolation in seniors and help older cats that don’t usually get adopted to find their companion. I adore animals especially cats so any feel-good story involving animals is always fun for me to do.

Tell us about a milestone in your career

Finally getting to move back to Vancouver and being the traffic host for CTV Morning Live in my hometown has been a huge milestone for me. When I graduated journalism school at BCIT I was fully prepared to move away in order to start my career, and I did that. I got my first job in Thunder Bay, Ontario and was there just over 9 months. I thought I would spend the next five years moving around, to a bigger market each time but I was fortunate to get back to B.C right away. I worked in Victoria for two years before finally making it to Vancouver in October. I’ve been really blessed it happened so quickly for me but I also know how hard I’ve worked to be where I am.

What are some challenges you have faced, in your career?

Rejection. While I was in school and about to graduate I sent out countless demos and resumes with no response. Finally, I saw the job posting for Thunder Bay, Ontario and the news director took a chance on me. It just takes one person to jump-start your career.

How important is Public Relations to your career/job?

Extremely important. As a reporter, I would always count on PR people to get me information or set up an interview with someone I need. A good PR person is so valuable to us journalists!

What are 2 tips you want to pass along to PR professionals that send pitches?

a) Have a clear focus! Why would people care about your pitch? Anything with a clear focus that can be linked to something timely is what we look for.

b) Make sure you are available. There is nothing worse than getting a pitch and wanting to set up the interview and then not being able to reach the contact person provided. Always make sure when you send out a pitch whoever you put down as the contact will answer their emails right away or pick up their phone!

What is your favourite animal?

Cats. I am a proud cat lady and mama to my fur baby, Archie.

Favourite movie?

How to lose a guy in ten days or bridesmaids. BOTH are hilarious and I die laughing even if it’s the tenth time watching them.

Dream destination?

To work: New York City (who doesn’t wish they could take on the city like Carrie Bradshaw?)

To vacation: Colombia, I was born there and am so proud of my heritage but I haven’t had the chance to explore it all and I know it has so much to offer! Definitely on my bucket list to see and visit everything my beautiful homeland has to offer.

If you could have coffee with anyone (living or dead) who would it be, and why?

I don’t drink coffee but I would love to chat over a cup of tea with Oprah. She is just so wise and I would love to sit there sip and listen to her wisdom.