People Magazine writer gives journalism advice to Texas State students

By Kelsey Daubner

SAN MARCOS — Elaine Aradillas took time away from her job as a staff writer at People Magazine to give tips to Texas State students on becoming successful journalists based on her own real life experiences in the field.

Aradillas has a variety of experience. She had a career at San Antonio Express News covering the teen department. With Different opportunities after that, such as interning at the The New York Time’s arts and leisures section, and finding a job reporting crime at the Orlando Sentinel, Aradillas says it is important to be mobile.

“I was willing to go anywhere the job took me,” Aradillas said. “That sort of advanced what I was doing.”

Aradillas said she never stayed at a job for more than two or three years because it was all about being mobile and taking on new tasks. With that she has now gained plenty of experience.

Aradillas has covered some major crime stories during her career. For example, she received a call at four in the morning to fly to Aurora, Colorado at the time of the “Dark Knight” shooting, and she recently covered the rioting in Ferguson, Missouri. She said it is important to still be a human and have compassion for the people you are interviewing.

“You are talking to people on the worst day of their life,” Aradillas said.

Along with being compassionate, she says it is important to source in order to get your story out. Sourcing provides reporters with access to a source that could be really helpful for a story.

“I made a source who knew what was going on, and that source helped me for a year,” Aradillas said.

In order to source correctly it is best to work on your people skills and not be afraid to talk to anyone, Aradillas said. “I’m a shy person, and so I make myself work on that skill,” she said. Texas State student Rikki McNabb agreed with that advice.

“I know that is a skill I need to work on,” McNabb said. “Hearing Elaine bring that up encouraged me even more.”

Aradillas ended by saying the most important skill of all is learning how to write and report. Every medium requires the skill of knowing how to write a simple sentence, she said.

“That is why I am glad I came to listen to this,” Junior, Laurel Dees, said. “When it comes down to it, it’s about something as simple as learning to write a good sentence.”

Elaine Aradillas speaks with a student after her presentation Photo By Kelsey Daubner

Kelsey Daubner is a journalism student at Texas State University. You can contact her at

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