#MediaMonday – Jose R. Gonzalez
Today’s #MediaMonday feature comes to us from Jose R. Gonzalez, a breaking news and general assignment reporter at The Arizona Republic.
Jose, time to share!
Where did you grow up?
Born in the Lone Star State, I lived there most of my childhood and as an adult. My family and I moved a lot due to my dad’s line of work. We resided in a few cities in Central Valley California and Southern Cali.
But my all-time favorite memories were of the brief period we lived off State Route 77 and near Gila River here in Arizona. The desertscape expanded my imagination as a five-year-old and for several years I longed to return and now I’m here.
All these different places gave me unique perspectives that have been invaluable to me as a journalist.
How did you get your start in writing? Tell us your story!
Since I had a slight speech impediment as a kid, I found writing was easier for me to communicate with others. Writing always felt like what I could do best. My mom is a naturally gifted storyteller and I think I grew up wanting to emulate her skill through my writing.
Tell us about your outlet and/or beat. What types of pitches are you looking for?
I’m on The Arizona Republic’s breaking news and general assignments desk and have a focus on communities of identity, including faith communities, communities of color and the LGBTQ+ community.
The stories I’m always on the lookout for are those displaying people most other folks may overlook or simply misunderstand. National trend stories that can be localized are always satisfying to work on.
What are some of your favorite stories you have worked on or are currently working on?
Highlighting Afro Caribbean residents in the Valley and how music unifies them against the backdrop of Rihanna as the halftime show artist helped me take an intimate look at a major event. Depicting the defiance against Iran’s headscarf mandate by Iranian American women in Arizona helped illustrate the interconnectedness of world struggles. Peering into Phoenix-area Latino herbal shops showed how some long-held belief traditions endure.
What are some of your hobbies?
Enjoying a hearty meal with a friend over an engaging conversation is for me is one of the most fulfilling experiences. Exploring a museum and either seeing something you recognize or something altogether new makes for a great time. Listening to music on a loop is also a way I like to unwind.
Favorite movie? TV show? Book?
“Misery” is a strangely touching movie for me that speaks to the unrequited love many writers have for their craft. You’re never good enough, even with your number one fan.
Maybe the one show that inspired me most to be a reporter is “Ugly Betty.” As a journalist of color from a blue-collar background, I identify with the title character and all her adventures. “Golden Girls” is also a classic good time.
On the theme of writing, John Fante’s novel “Ask the Dust” remains a constant in my life. Fante beautifully captures love and longing in Depression-era Los Angeles while reminding readers that storytelling is the best antidote to loss.
Do you have any favorite local spots?
Standing or sitting at Hole in the Rock at Papago Park lets you view much of Phoenix, making you feel both big and small in the process.
What is the best way to reach you?
Tweet at me on Twitter, or X as it goes by now. Also, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If I don’t respond soon after, send me another email as a reminder.