You get out what you put in: Catalina Trivino

Photo Credit: Catalina Trivino
Photo Credit: Catalina Trivino

Catalina Trivino graduated from the University of West Georgia with her degree in Mass Communications in May 2012. While Trivino concentrated in convergence journalism, she now works as the lead reporter for the CBS News affiliate (WAKA-TV) in Montgomery, AL.

Trivino traded in her pen and paper for film equipment when she made the switch from journalism to TV broadcasting during her senior year at UWG.

“I thought forever that I was going to be a print journalist,” says Trivino. “Then, it was my senior year and I walked into Fundamentals of TV Production with Professor Sonja Barnes. We went around introducing ourselves, and afterwards she took me aside and told me, ‘Girl, you need to be on TV.’”

From this interaction, Barnes became a mentor for Trivino. They developed a strong student-teacher relationship that later blossomed into a great friendship, and Trivino credits Barnes for all her success.

“I always told her, ‘You’re like my mom!’” says Trivino. “Absolutely everything she taught me was right and I use it everyday. To this day, we talk all the time, I tell her about my life and even get her thoughts on stories.”

During her senior year, Trivino juggled jobs at The Times-Georgian and WUTV, reporting at The West Georgian and her active role in her sorority in addition to her class load. Despite having just joined the WUTV team, Trivino was offered the position as Assignment Editor during the fall semester and became the News Director in her final semester. Even with this success, Trivino felt there was more she could do as a broadcast reporter.

“I thought to myself, ‘One day I should probably learn how to report for the news,’” says Trivino. “So just for the heck of it I put together a couple of packages and made my own reel.”

Trivino continued to grow as a broadcast journalist before getting wind of a job opportunity from a fellow UWG alumnus. The position open was for a bureau reporter in Greenville, AL. In addition to their main office in Montgomery, WAKA-TV has field offices in Greenville, Selma and Troy.

“People have this idea, I know I did, that TV is a glamorous job,” says Trivino. ““It’s not for whiners, it’s not for complainers, and people don’t last. It is some of the hardest work, and it takes a lot out of you, but it’s really rewarding too. It’s a totally different beast than newspaper.

“You have a minute and twenty seconds to tell your whole story,” Trivino continues. “That was probably the hardest transition coming from a print journalism background. You wake up everyday and ask yourself, ‘What the heck am I going to report on today?’”

After paying her dues in Greenville, Trivino was promoted to the lead reporter for the Montgomery station and also fills in as an anchor. Her day starts with a morning staff meeting where reporters pitch ideas to management for approval. Typically, Trivino focuses on hard news style stories like crime or city and state issues.

“I’ve been able to see with people I interview and some stories that you can really make an impact, even on the state level,” says Trivino. “It’s awesome when someone can call you up and say ‘The Department of Corrections wants to sue you because they’re upset about you digging into them.’”

Trivino takes a break from her broadcast journalism life every year to visit her alma mater for Media Day. This year, Trivino will be featured as a panelist.

“I feel like I’m young enough where the students can still relate to me,” says Trivino. “So I’m excited to be able to come back and talk to everyone.”

Trivino hopes she can inspire otherwise discouraged students who see their future in journalism as bleak. While she may not be working for a newspaper like she always planned, Trivino is a successful 25-year-old with ambitious intent for her career.

“You get out what you put in,” says Trivino. “For everyone who has doubts and thinks ‘Oh I can’t do this, I can’t do that’ just stops doubting yourself, because that’s going to be your biggest barrier. If you’re up for the challenge, you will get there.”



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