Paula Hernández, a future journalist with values

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We meet her shortly after she has finished her final exams, and the first, obligatory question is: «How did everything go? Do you already know your results?«.

Paula Hernández has just finished the third year of the degree in Journalism and, as she tells us, has passed it with honors. Just one year before finishing her studies with us, she tells us that she is already making her way through a Valencian media and that she hopes to continue it. We sat down to chat with her about her vision of the profession and her current experience at 99.9 Valencia Radio, but also about her collaboration with the Pastoral Service of the university.

Student of Journalism at CEU Valencia
Paula, student of Journalism, in the centre of Valencia

Hi Paula, you have just told us that the third year of your studies was a pure success. Right now for many students the time has come to decide about their future. Almost four years later, do you remember what motivated you to choose Journalism?

Rather than look four years back, I would look back even further because my vocation for journalism comes from afar, almost from the cradle. And I have been fortunate to know, since a very young age, the pros and cons of this profession. I remember, being still a little girl, playing at being a journalist and preparing myself directly, attacking my parents with the news that I heard or that I wrote myself… I have always had the soul of a journalist!

Undoubtedly, when the moment of choosing your studies comes, you need to think it through. At the end of the day, the stake is your future. However, in my case, the decision had been already taken long time ago. My family quickly accepted my decision and the choice of university was simple for me since CEU Valencia has earned a fine reputation in the word of communication studies. At the moment, as a student of Journalism, I realize the university offers a vast range of opportunities for both professional and personal growth. Today I can say that both the degree and the university were an excellent choice.

Now, when you have been taking your first professional steps, tell us: is being a journalist the way you imagined it?

It is clear that life is full of surprises. When it comes to the degree, it all comes down to studying and, when it comes to putting your knowledge in practice, it is true that I am already working as a journalist in media. As you work, you realize the processes may differ, you face new situations which may be confusing at the beginning even if you are well-acquainted with the world of a journalist. To be a journalist is to always learn, to evolve and to adapt to a constantly changing environment.

It is true that as the audience changes, its habits of media consumption change as well. Nevertheless, as you told us, you are collaborating with a radio station at the moment. Looking ahead, would you like to explore other media?

I sincerely believe that it is too soon for me to settle. I genuinely consider the radio a discovery seeing that you are unable to grasp a complete understanding of it until you enter its universe. Yes, I would like to explore other media of communication such as television or written press, but I would not like to miss a chance of working in digital media. Without a shadow of a doubt, the future belongs to the Internet and digital media. It is crucial to bear in mind that nowadays, the audience operates from mobile phones, is informed through Twitter and applications that publish informative alerts or headlines…

“I FEEL THAT CEU VALENCIA IS A LARGE FAMILY, A COMMUNITY WHICH HAS NURTURED ME ON A PERSONAL, CULTURAL AND PROFESSIONAL LEVEL.”

We should never lose the sight of the traditional, but we need to be aware that the Internet has it all: television since we watch videos there, radio since there is a a whole world of podcasts; and there is also a written press, because we can access texts there. It is clear that we should reach out to the Internet and we, journalists, need to explore all the media and learn about each of them. At this moment, I am not going to reject any media.

Let’s talk about your inspiration. You have already mentioned your family background. Nevertheless, I am sure that you admire some professionals currently present in media, that you have some model to follow which is beyond your immediate circle…

Apart from my family, I met journalists who, while not being very well-known, brought me closer to the profession of journalism in its authentic form. I think that, for instance Ana Cuesta, a journalist from La Sexta, which I had a chance to met has influenced me. Needless to say, I admire renowned professionals of Spanish television and radio such as: Susanna Griso, Matías Prats, Mónica Carillo… Or Julia Otero, Carlos Alsina and Carlos Herrera, who inspire all journalism students.

Nevertheless, as I have already told you, I had an opportunity to meet journalists who are not as popular in media who enriched my view of the profession with a different perspective, the perspective from the streets, form the editorial office…. whose work, while not being very visible, but is no less important.

Besides being a brilliant student, Paula emerges at a profesional level in 99.9 Valencia Radio, with which she has collaborated for months. She is also very committed to the university and collaborates with important services of our university such as Pastoral.

Paula, which functions have you perfomed at the Pastoral Service for the last months?

My primary function has been informative. I have worked, above all, on social media and I have written various articles for their blog. I was engaged in communication. It was an enriching experience, which was closely related to my profession: encouraging students and, in general, the community of CEU Valencia to participate in the events organized by this service.

In which of the specific events are organized by the Pastoral Service did you have an opportunity to participate?

Many activities are organized year-round. Some of them are cyclical and are offered continuously, and others are more adjusted to specific moments and themes.

Student of Journalism, in front of the cathedral
Paula has been working with our Pastoral Service these last months

Fundamentally, we provide information about the eucharistic celebration, which is celebrated throughout the course and is open to everyone, and, about the catechesis of confirmation and Bible catechism. There are other types of activities that fall within the Dies Academicus and that are more circumstantial, and whose theme varies every year. We also celebrate the party of the patrons of each degree and participate annually in the Congress of Catholics in Public Life, to which we go with other CEU colleagues to celebrate those values which unite us.

On the other hand, we also inform others about activities outside the most immediate CEU environment, such as talks in the Palace of Colomina, activities in the Cathedral, in the Basilica… The informative path is open to events of interest that occur in Valencia and are related to faith, ethical and Christian values, it is also our duty to communicate them.

“FROM PASTORAL, I HAVE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO live my FAITH IN A DIFFERENT WAY, WHICH has MADE ME GROW A LOT AS A PERSON.”

All this informative work has been performed from digital media, social networks, and blogs. In your opinion, does digital world match the Pastoral?

The future is digital in any field: we must constantly evolve and we know this is true in the case of Pastoral Service. We have obviously not abandoned traditional formats, such as posters and brochures, but the internet is fundamental. We, young people, are connected and, seeing that I have always used Facebook, Twitter, and the blog to share information and launch our messages.

The fundamental values of our university pivot around the Christian faith but include certain universal elements: ethics, forgiveness, compassion… Do you think that receiving a spiritual accompaniment, together with formal education, exerts a positive impact on CEU students?

In my opinion, the aim of the Pastoral Service is not to train professionals, but to create people with values. Undoubtedly, we cannot negate the existence of the values which nourish us and let us grow. Here, at CEU Valencia, there are many opportunities for reaching out to those kinds of values that teach you about basic questions about life, its moral and ethical aspects that you will face every day.

What is offered here to students, also from the Pastoral Service, is a nod to life, to the future. I would recommend going to the service and discovering everything it offers because, in addition to embracing the faith, it allows members of the CEU community to explore life from other perspectives.

And, at a personal level, what has Paula learned in these months from our chaplain Jesus, from his closeness and from all the people who you have met this course?

I have learned from absolutely everything. I cannot think of anything in particular, it has been a journey of constant learning. From the beginning, Jesus has held out his hand and he is a fantastic chaplain. I have had the opportunity to meet people within the service, students who have participated in the activities and, in the end, we have all been under the same sphere in which we have been able to live this university stage from another point of view. I have also experienced new things because, although I have always been linked to the church, I now see everything in differently.

Journalism student in front of the Palace of Colomina
Paula in front of one of our buildings in Valencia city centre

I am an active catholic but, thanks to my collaboration with the Pastoral Service, I have been able to live my faith from a different perspective. It has been a very fulfilling personal experience, that is possibly what I value the most.

Thank you for your time and attention, paula. We wish you the best of luck and we look forward to seeing you on television or in the radio!

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