Senior journalism and Spanish major, Natalie Van Hoozer, is not just celebrating the success of earning her degree this May, but also the many accomplishments she has had along the way, including being the first bilingual reporter for Reno Public Radio (KUNR). Van Hoozer began doing part-time reporting work for KUNR as part of a partnership between the station and the School of Journalism's Noticiero Móvil, a multimedia news outlet. That partnership encouraged her interests in reporting on immigration and Spanish news. The station never had a bilingual reporter before and was intrigued by the idea of offering news in Spanish and English.
Van Hoozer's interest in the Spanish language grew in high school and it was then that she decided she would double major in Spanish and journalism while in college. After completing a study-abroad trip to Madrid, Spain last year, it helped to bridge her academic skills with her conversation skills to become fluent in the language.
As Van Hoozer did her first few news stories in Spanish, she had colleagues go out with her in the field to help her with the interviews. "Having those types of alliances is really helpful, coming from colleagues who have the native cultural background," Van Hoozer said. She explained that the conversations with native speakers weren't nearly as difficult as building a trusting relationship with those she was interviewing. Having colleagues help provide cultural background and narrative really helped her to become a successful reporter.
From stories on immigrant Latina entrepreneurs to the latest on DACA regulations, Van Hoozer said it's been a bit of trial and error trying to understand how the local Spanish community wants to receive the news and the best medium to communicate to them. "A large part of that newsroom [Noticiero Móvil] is building that trust in the community. We do community events and get feedback from them on the stories we've already done. Trying to get ideas of what they want to learn or need to know in Spanish," said Van Hoozer.
Currently in the Reno area, there is a lack of Spanish news about the local community and for them. Not only does Van Hoozer report news in Spanish, but she also reports on Spanish news in English. She said depending on the medium, some audiences wouldn't have any knowledge of immigration or Spanish stories. She believes she has created a niche for herself as a bilingual reporter with knowledge of Spanish news that she can communicate to both English and Spanish audiences, while providing local attention.
After graduation, Van Hoozer said she plans to pursue a career in reporting. She would especially like to continue using her Spanish skills and possibly find an opportunity to report from abroad. She believes having bilingual reporting is a huge benefit to any community. "I'm not only reporting news about the Latino community, but for them," Van Hoozer said.