If you would have asked me ten years ago when I was a journalism student that I would not only be attending the fifth annual Latin Grammys but also have backstage and green carpet access (the “red” carpet is green at the Latin Grammys), I would have looked at you in disbelief, thinking I was too inexperienced to cover such a grand event. But, it happened. I remember everyone telling me the experience  was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It felt like the whole thing landed on my lap! Like I just…got lucky. But luck had little to do with it and it certainly was not a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.What got me to the Grammys the first time was hard work, ambition and of course opportunity. What got me to the Grammys the second time was not much different.

In 2004, I was one of four students nation-wide chosen by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) to participate in National Public Radio’s (NPR) Next Generation Radio program . I was working as an internal communications intern when I got a call from an executive at an agency telling me I was chosen to do this project. I did not even remember applying for the program so I was totally surprised. Turns out, I don’t think I ever applied for the program, but rather I was recommended by an NAHJ representative that had held on to my resumé after meeting me at a conference.

The conference I met the NAHJ rep at was one that I had to raise money for, volunteer for, and plan for months in advance to just to be able to attend so the opportunity that in the moment felt like luck, was actually one that I had worked for for an entire year.

Of the four students, I was chosen to work the green carpet and shadow NPR’s reporter Madelit Del Barco backstage.  The program included a visit to the L.A. NPR station, an intimate concert by Carlos Vives at the House of Blues and tickets to the Latin Grammys and the official Latin Grammy VIP party. It also included two live, on-air radio reporting for  various radio stations across the country. My radio station was WCAA-FM in New York City. It was fantastic!

(Photo of 2004 taken by who knows what- possibly a disposable camera, thank goodness for filters)

Backstage with Mandalit Del Barco of NPR

Backstage with Mandalit De Barco of NPR

The 2004 Latin Grammy experience was so good that it did feel like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So, you can imagine my excitement when I found out I would get to do it again. This time the opportunity came to me through Facebook. I saw a post, I respond, and voilà, I was in. Sounds easy right?  Well, sometimes it feels easy. But, the reality is that the reason I saw that post was because it was shared with a limited group of people (a pretty remarkable group of people if I do say so myself) that I get to be a part of because of my work in social media.  So just like the tireless work it took to get to network at that conference as a student, the time and effort I’ve put into social media  over the last five years has converted into a new channel for work prospects for me. Work prospects like the 15th annual Latin Grammys that I acquired via my work as a Verizon ambassador.

Thanks to Verizon, I got to see the show front stage and still be a reporter (follow #VZWBuzz and #LatinGrammy for more pics and videos). The hard work and ambition that it took to get me to the Latin Grammys the first time did not change, but what did change was technology and how the media reporting was delivered. In 2004, I shared my Latin Grammy report via radio and though possibly a million New Yorkers heard the broadcast, it was short lived and I had very little control over it. My voice was limited to minutes. Luckily, the internet was well established and my project mentor Doug Mitchell captured and posted one of my radio reports online. See 10 years ago, social media did not exist. Attending red carpet events and having backstage access is a still a privilege,but because of social media and technology, it is no longer the only way to capture and share interesting interviews or photographs. Now in 2014, my voice, photos and words have no limits. So even though I did not report from the media room last week, my updates from the event and trip were seen by many thanks to my smartphone(s).

(Photos of 2014  Taken with a Samsung Galaxy S5  powered by the Verizon Network)

(Photos of 2014 Taken with a iPhone 6 Plus powered by the Verizon Network)

When I agreed to work with Verizon, I had no idea that the collaboration would possibly include an undergoing to the Latin Grammys. Just like I never imagined a networking and educational conference would develop as it did. I suppose chances like getting to go to the Latin Grammys twice are a little luck. But mostly, I think it’s proof that when you like your work, the fun and flyness seems to just…happen.

 

(Disclaimer–I am a #VZWBuzz Verizon Ambassador. All opinions are my own.)

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