Miguel is a reporter covering arts and culture in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for KERA, a fill-in newscaster for the station, and a 2020 New Voices scholar.
Tell us about your work/projects!
Currently, I'm compiling experiences for a voice montage. I'm looking for people who found "silver linings" during the pandemic: a new creative outlet, a newfound appreciation, love, etc. I'm also looking into audience and performance innovations within the North Texas theater community and whether the way we consume theater will change in the long run.
A piece of yours ( in any medium) you're most proud of that you'd like to share.
I had my first reported piece air on All Things Considered in March. The story is about the use of blockchain in the digital art market. I had to tackle a lot of complicated tech concepts, which took a lot of reporting, reading, and patience. By luck, the piece ended up being very prescient because a lot of major media organizations started reporting on the NFT market shortly after.
What is your favorite thing about being a New Voices Scholar?
My favorite thing is the community I've been left with long after the fellowship ended. I know that, even if I don't know another NV scholar personally, I can always reach out.
What draws you to storytelling?
I just like listening to people talk about themselves: their joys, fears, dreams, loves, and all the beautiful and ugly things in between. When someone entrusts me with their truth, I love the challenge of carefully crafting a vignette of their life that is both compelling and genuine. That's easy when I'm working on a human interest piece, but I think it's extra challenging (and fun) when it's a more technical story that might not lend itself to those humanistic components. Even a business story can be compassionate!
What’s playing on your radio/audio streaming service right now?
Thundercat, Deftones and Julien Baker. In terms of podcasts, I love Song Exploder, and I just started listening to Louder Than A Riot.
Hard-at-work-on-a-project snack of choice?
Giant handfuls of Extra Toasty Cheez-Its.
What’s the most underrated tool (technical or not) that you use in your creative process?
Late-night drives to nowhere! They serve as a sort of meditative moment where I can think more deeply about stories without any distraction. I can mull over themes, voices, structure and the "big picture." If a golden nugget of a thought comes to me, I just save it as a voice memo.
What is something you want to see more of in the industry?
More Black radio reporters. Public radio stations talk a good talk, but we need actual movement and change in hiring practices. Newsrooms need to hire their interns, full-time with benefits.
Who is your radio/audio idol and why?
I don't have radio idols, but I have a lot of people who I admire and greatly appreciate for their guidance and help along the way. Sam Guzman at Austin PBS, Bridget Kelley and Christina Cala at NPR, and my New Voices captains Elena Rivera and Tran Vu to name a few! They all gave me a chance in different ways, and they're great reminders to always bring others up with you as you climb up the professional ladder.