Tips for success from an award-winning reporter

Rebecca Aguilar takes a photo with a student after her discussion.
Rebecca Aguilar takes a photo with a student after her discussion. Photo by Adrian Hernandez.


By Adrian Hernandez

A classroom full of students gathered at Texas State Wednesday for a discussion on success with award-winning journalist Rebecca Aguilar (@rebeccaaguilar).

As a freelance writer and reporter for television and online, Aguilar has won 48 awards in her 33 years in journalism, including seven Emmys. She is also the vice president of online for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

“I think at my age, it is important to share my knowledge,” Aguilar said.

Her speech focused on all aspects of success, from initial pursuit to how to maintain success.

She stressed the importance of being a leader, saying it is important to be passionate about what you do, and to strive to be the best.

“Being mediocre doesn’t work,” Aguilar said, “so be the best you can be.”

Aguilar also discussed the importance of having mentors who provide honest feedback from different viewpoints, saying “Sometimes you’re not going to like it, but a good mentor will tell you truth.”

Aguilar focused heavily on paying attention to what is going on around you.  Successful people surround themselves with people who motivate them, and distance themselves from negative influences, she said.

While she acknowledged the importance and impact of social media, Aguilar cautioned students to “get your face out of your phone” in many circumstances. Social media posts should meet professional criteria of “empowering, educational, and decent.”

“Even if you don’t decide to be in news, observe what’s around you, learn from what’s around you, because your phone, you can do that while you’re in your bedroom,” she said.

Aguilar also spoke of remembering where you come from and learning along the way. She highlighted her background as the daughter of undocumented immigrants, and says she’s proud to claim it.

The discussion came to an end with questions from an audience that was clearly engaged throughout. Aguilar’s final piece of advice: Be confident, but don’t let your ego get in the way.

Adrian Hernandez is a senior at Texas State University. He can be contacted at

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