People Magazine journalist speaks at Texas State University

By Shelby Stamper

Elaine Aradillas, a staff writer at People magazine, gave the low down on what it’s like to be a journalist for both a magazine and a newspaper at Texas State University’s Mass Communication Week.

Aradillas moved all around the U.S. for her career. She began in San Antonio, Texas, where she covered the teen department for the San Antonio Express News. After attending grad school at Columbia University, she landed an internship at The New York Times. She moved to California when she began her career with People magazine, and is currently in New York.

Aradillas stressed the importance of being willing to move and travel frequently.

“If your goal is to get to the top of the game, you have to be mobile and willing to go anywhere,” she said.

A story that effected Aradillas greatly was the three girls who were held captive for 10 years in Cleveland, Ohio. She was sent to Cleveland to cover the story, and met the people who lived in the neighboring house where one of the captive girls escaped to. Aradillas made a source out of the neighbors, and was able to keep up with the aftermath of the incident over time. She even had the opportunity to interview one of the three girls for People magazine. She said that what happened put things into perspective for her.

The list of people Aradillas has spoken with and interviewed is long. She covered Ferguson, met Prince William and Kate Middleton, and saw Heath Ledger’s hearse pull out of a cemetery.

“The access is one of a kind, you have something that no one else has,” she said.

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Elaine Aradillas shows a picture she took of a storm cloud over Ferguson Photo by Shelby Stamper

Aradillas also spoke about the importance of an interview. She said it is important to research on who you are interviewing for. Looking professional was another factor. She mentioned that the Columbia University website has a list of questions that are typically asked in an interview for a journalism job.

The students were extremely impressed with Aradillas’ story and advice.

“I really enjoyed hearing about her experience in the field. It was helpful to hear first hand insight,” senior public relations student Randi Berkovsky said.

“She was inspiring. I’ve never been to a presentation where I couldn’t stop listening,” senior journalism student Therasachristine Etim said.

 

Shelby Stamper is junior journalism major at Texas State University.

 

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