Telling the Story with Polo Sandoval

Polo Sandoval chats with Texas State students before his speech

By Daniel Fickman


Aspiring journalists and news reporters sat in room 320 of Old Main waiting in anticipation. Polo Sandoval, (@PoloSandovalCNN) a Texas State alumnus and now a national correspondent for CNN was getting ready to take center stage and address his overly excited crowd.

Before Polo came on I overheard part of a conversation between two attendees. “He’s just like us, and he made it!” one student proclaimed. “It’s pretty inspirational,” his friend replied. Indeed it was an inspirational speech all around.

After graduating from Texas State University in 2007, Polo Sandoval spent seven years working in a local market at KRGV-ABC in Rio Grande Valley, TX.

At KRGV Sandoval worked harder than ever so he could continue to advance his career. He “researched and reported hard-hitting, in-depth news stories covering topics including spill over violence from Mexico, human trafficking, immigration issues, serious feature pieces, and ongoing government benefit fraud.

No one could have predicted his jump from small town Texas news anchor to big time CNN news correspondent, not even Polo. It’s like being plucked out of nowhere to come play in the NFL. But how did Sandoval make such a huge career jump?

I’d say Sandoval’s most important tip to his audience was for all of them to become great storytellers. “Honing in on storytelling skills gets you on the national radar,” Sandoval revealed. “What’s going on behind the story?” is Sandoval’s biggest concern. The funny thing is that Sandoval almost lost his job at KRGV when he first got there because he wasn’t taking time to think about the story. A colleague of his sat him down and told him this and Sandoval never took his stories for granted from then on.

“If I give you the facts, you’ll notice it, but if I give you a story, it’ll stay in your heart forever,” Sandoval added.

Here’s a video of Sandoval chatting with Wolf Blitzer.

Daniel Fickman is a senior at Texas State University. He graduates in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism.

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