Member Spotlight: Karina Bazarte
By Antonio Marquez, communications committee member
Karina Bazarte is president of the NAHJ San Diego State University chapter and when she’s not reporting, being a DJ for local college radio or dancing to Selena, you will find her in school finishing up her senior year.
NAHJ SD-TJ: Why did you decide to become president of the NAHJ SDSU chapter?
Bazarte: Because I believe that having a family in this journey is always something that should happen. I feel that becoming a journalist and being by yourself without getting into an organization/familia would be twice as hard. But with NAHJ, I feel that we can help each other out and that’s what I want. I want to help other people so their dreams can shine and come true.
NAHJ SD-TJ: How has the chapter changed with the pandemic?
Bazarte: I feel it hasn’t really impacted us. Before a lot of people couldn’t make it to the meetings because of a class, but Zoom was better for us to see each other. I know we wanted to see each other in real life, but even through Zoom we were still there for each other.
NAHJ SD-TJ: After graduating this year what is the legacy you want to leave behind?
Bazarte: I feel like I am going to leave with more open doors, for example, being part of the first Spanish broadcast for Mundo Azteca. So I feel that I have experience now and I want more members to join the familia. As of now we have more than ten members, but we are planning to go to classes and events so freshmen and sophomores can carry on the familia legacy.
NAHJ SD-TJ: How important is it to work alongside other journalism organizations like NABJ?
Bazarte: It is definitely something that should continue. I feel like the more cultures that are involved is a plus. I love to learn from other cultures and give each other support. We have the same dreams, so helping each other out is key.
NAHJ SD-TJ: What do you hope to focus on after college?
Bazarte: I want to be the voice of the voiceless and to have that space for somebody to say “my story needs to be shared” and I want to be that person who is willing to investigate and research. I want to show the struggles that San Diego communities are going through and shed light to the special stories they have. It doesn’t matter what culture or ethnicity you are because every story matters. I am big fan of crime scene investigations, so I want to go in to investigative journalism because I’ve been through a lot of things with friends being murdered and I never really got to share or know their stories.
NAHJ SD-TJ: As a woman of color, do you feel there are barriers in journalism for you?
Bazarte: I don’t get offended, but it is hard to deal with the language barrier and having to prove that I do speak Español and English well. After all, I was born and raised in San Diego. As a woman, I feel there’s people that intimidate others, but we shouldn’t be like that. We should just acknowledge we share the same dreams.
NAHJ SD-TJ: What is one thing you hope to do when you come back to NAHJ as a mentor or professional?
Bazarte: I feel that once I graduate and become a journalist I will come back and mentor someone like my mentor Vanessa Nevarez, who is part of the NAHJ SD-TJ chapter, and pay it forward. She has been training and polishing me to be better. I want to do the same and be truthful and real with students that are barely coming in.
NAHJ SD-TJ: What advice would you give to those new journalists following in your footsteps?
Use your time wisely, have time for yourself. It doesn’t have to be all about journalism all the time. Be yourself because at the end of the day if you try to be like some other journalist it won’t feel right. If you’re yourself then it will be more fun. Be truthful.