The Report on Reporters

Jun 28, 2019

For NPR Illinois podcamp, I’m Colin Curry.

Sometimes it takes a while to find out exactly what you want to do in your life. That was the case for NPR Illinois reporter Daisy Contreras.

  

Sometimes it takes a while to find out exactly what you want to do in your life. That was the case for NPR Illinois reporter Daisy Contreras.

“It was not very difficult. But, I come from a family that's first generation,um, I’m the first person in my family to graduate from college. So I didn’t really have a mentor, somebody to help me along the way on what I should do to become a reporter. So it took me a few years to find my way to becoming a reporter and I met other people along the way who helped me.”

She originally wanted to be a doctor and earned an associate’s degree in French, before she made her way into the journalism world.

“After graduation, I did have a degree in communications and I had studied a bit of journalism. I did not have many articles published under my name and so I started working for non-profit organizations in Chicago, that’s where I’m from. And I started seeing other reporters covering the stories of the organizations that I worked at. And that’s when I realized that I wanted to be doing that, to get myself together, apply to grad school, and this is how I ended up in Springfield.

So I came here for school and that’s where I officially became a reporter.”

Her varied background lends itself well to reporting.

“Journalism is something people can do if they enjoy learning, because it’s something new every day. And you have to learn things on the spot.“

It may be a trial by fire, but Daisy feels it has made her better at her job.

“I have grown a lot. Here in Springfield, you have so many different stories, especially when covering the state house with lawmakers. You just do it, if you don’t do it, you don’t learn from your mistakes. So I have made lots of mistakes, but I have learned so much from feedback from everybody else around me.

While Daisy enjoys covering politicians and elections, some of her favorite stories are the ones take her off the beaten path.

“Last October, right before Halloween, sometimes we have pumpkin patches all over Illinois, and I wondered where all those pumpkins come from, so I interviewed a farmer who grows  all those pumpkins, and last year it was very wet, so people were worried that the pumpkins would not grow or rot, and it was interesting what this man had to say about this farm being in his family for many generations.”

Daisy says she loves to bring unique stories like this to life, helping her local communities understand each other a little bit better.

For NPR Illinois podcamp, I’m Colin Curry.

 

Colin Curry and Daisy Contreras
Credit Chloe Bellot / NPR Illinois