By Nick McCown
San Antonio Express – News reporter and Texas State alum, Jason Buch, spoke to students Thursday as part of Mass Communication Week, discussing his journey from undergrad to hard news reporter.
After graduating from Texas State in 2007, Buch worked for two years as a reporter for the Laredo Morning Times, covering border affairs and court proceedings surrounding the competing drug cartels in Mexico.
The string of homicides and kidnappings attributed to cartels in that time period (2007), according to Buch, allowed him to establish himself in the field, but Buch credits his experiences at Texas State to launching his career as a journalist.
Among these was Buch’s work as a reporter and editor for the University Star as an undergraduate. Buch also took a trip with Susan Weill, associate professor for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, to post-Katrina New Orleans.
“It really was a fantastic experience,” said Buch. “The trip helped push me into wanting to do hard news.”
Alex Merced, mass communication senior, commented on Buch’s experiences.
“It was very inspiring to hear,” said Merced. “I want to make it in the field of sports reporting, and those types of experiences let you look back and say ‘This is where it all started.’ Those opportunities let you get a foot in the door.”
More recently, Buch has taken over the border affairs and immigration beat for the Express- News. Buch commented on his trips to Mexico and the possible dangers of this kind of reporting.
“Personally, I have never been threatened, but I have friends who have been,” said Buch. “I usually only go places where I know people or where soldiers are actively patrolling.”
Buch added that he and colleagues utilize Twitter as many citizens and reporters post developments in the cartels and trends of violence in certain areas, so they “could see where the shootouts were going to happen”
Buch also encouraged students to “write what interests you.”
“I usually go more with what I will get a kick out of rather than what is a good career choice,” said Buch. “However, I learned a lot of useful things working at the business desk (San Antonio Express – News), things like retrieving certain public records that journalists who have been doing this beat for 20 years don’t know how to do.”
“I might look for another beat in a couple of years where I can use the skills I am learning now,” Buch said.