by KATIE HENEGHAN, Staff Writer
Victoria Leandra Hernández
Victoria Leandra Hernández is an English and Spanish speaking multimedia reporter and digital producer with an extensive knowledge of the Millennial and Latino markets, currently working as a Social Multimedia Producer at VICE News in Brooklyn. Not only is Hernández a successful Manhattan College alum, she is an alumni of the New York Times Journalism Institute and Bloomberg alum as well.
With a passion for innovative forms of reporting and storytelling, live Interactive journalism, video production and social media strategy, Hernández has created a uniquely successful name for herself as a MC grad of the class of 2018.
Her work has been published in The New York Times Journalism Institute, Bloomberg, VICE, VICE News, Bustle and El Nuevo Día.
Quadrangle: When did you graduate from Manhattan College? What was your major?
Victoria Leandra Hernandez: I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Manhattan College this past May 2018. I was awarded a full-tuition scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Communication and Media Studies with a concentration in Journalism and a minor in Digital Media.
The day after graduation, I started at The New York Times Journalism Institute as a reporter. I worked alongside Times editors and photographers to produce online and print content focused on the New York metro area. My story about medical marijuana access in New York became the front-page story of our newspaper edition.
Q: What is your current position? Where is it located?
VL: Social Multimedia Producer at VICE News. The VICE Hq is located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Before this position, I was the lead social media editor at TicToc by Bloomberg, the first and only 24/7 global news network on Twitter, establishing the weekends as a top driver of engagement, audience growth and revenue for the brand. I started my position at Bloomberg during my last semester in college (Spring semester) I had a full-time job even before graduation! I worked 40+ hours a week AND studied full-time. There, I built and executed social strategy behind major events like March for Our Lives, Winter Olympics, Women’s March, FIFA World Cup, Equal Pay Day and more.
After this, I landed my current role at VICE News.
Q: Can you describe what a typical day at work looks like for you?
VL: Everyday is different! That’s the beauty of news. I develop my own ideas and make them happen at work. My favorite assignment so far has been covering the Power For Puerto Rico march on Hurricane Maria’s anniversary in NYC, where I had a LIVE exclusive interview with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that was distributed across all social media platforms.
I’m currently working on developing a new culture video series for our website that will feature the top music artists in the entertainment industry. We also launched a space show on Twitter last week and I’m the social producer for that so a lot of cool projects going on at once which makes every week interesting, also very hectic.
Q: How did Manhattan College help you reach your current position?
VL: Its location! In college, I networked all the time. For me, it wasn’t about partying but about building my network of professionals from very early on. Manhattan is a train ride away and there’s always panels/mixers in the city where you can meet like-minded individuals. The Center For Communication events are great if you’re looking to get in media. Send emails to the professionals you admire, most of them are willing to get coffee with you and walk you through how they got to where they are now. The mentor program at MC also paired me up with my first mentor ever, Lindsay Goyette, she’s an MC alum. But the ultimate best way to get your foot in the door is by doing internships. I did 4 while in college, including VICE.
Q: Was there anyone at Manhattan who influenced your experience and helped you determine your career path?
VL: Two experiences at MC that influenced my career path were actually abroad in Italy and Ecuador.
The Lasallian Outreach Volunteer Experience in Duran, Ecuador where I helped children at three after-school programs run by Rostro de Cristo including Valdevia, Semillas de Mostaza and Manos Abiertas and met with patients at Damien House, a hospital for people affected by Hansen’s Disease. This opportunity fueled me to pursue meaningful stories in journalism. And as my journalism professor used to say “Go where the silence is.”
The second experience was the Leadership and Global Awareness program in Rome, Italy which was very special to me because it broaden my vision of the world and allowed me to connect with fellow Lassalians across the world including Brazil, Mexico, Spain and the Philippines!
Q: What advice would you give to current Jaspers trying to determine their own career path?
VL: Best way to jumpstart your career is to actually start doing what you envision your dream job to be since very early on! I developed my own blog when I first landed in NYC 4 years ago, this allowed me to show companies the content I creates and the audience I had developed, which ultimately showed them I could also do that for their brand!
I have more than 15K followers across social media, as a bilingual storyteller and content creator focused on lifestyle, travel and food. I’ve covered New York Fashion Week, product launches, exclusive movie premieres, and has partnered with brands like Kat Von D, Clinique, Neutrogena, Bumble, Godiva, Century21, Zac Posen and more.
Q: How did being on the Quadrangle help develop your skills and qualifications that lead you to your current position?
VL: At the Quad, I reported on issues affecting the Riverdale community in The Bronx including breaking news, entertainment, Manhattan College sports and student and alumni features. I extensively covered the Latino community on campus, especially the Puerto Rican community and their families after Hurricane Maria which is what I’m actually doing now full-time.
If you’re looking for further advice, contact Victoria through her social platforms and get coffee with her! Instagram @VictoriaLeandra, Twitter @LeandraReports”
Landing a steady job in your field less than a year after graduating is something that most college students dream about, but for Ally Hutzler, this dream has now become a reality. After graduating from Manhattan College this past May with a double major in communications and English, she began writing for the magazine Newsweek, finally becoming a staff writer there this past September.
“It’s been a crazy time. I work on the politics team, so that’s just frustrating but also great. I feel like there’s no better beat to be in right now,” Hutzler said.
For Hutzler, joining Newsweek’s politics team has been an exciting experience, full of opportunities to learn from the rest of her team.
“I’m learning a lot,” Hutzler said. “I didn’t come here [to MC] and major in politics or anything like that, so there’s a learning curve and I’m taking it all in.”
Hutzler’s position at Newsweek mainly requires her to focus on digital content, which involves writing a few relatively short stories for the magazine’s website each day.
“I get into work and it’s kind of a half hour of perusing what’s already on the news being covered, and we have a London team, so you have to look at everything that they’ve already done,” Hutzler said. “A lot of times I do three hits a day, and those are things like ‘Donald Trump tweeted…’ and I have to write it up really quick. From there, if I get my three hits done and it’s early in the day, I get to do longer reported pieces … so it’s balancing between something breaks really quickly and I have to work on it to writing on something that I know won’t be published for two months.”
Because Hutzler’s job focuses on online content, finding her work in the print version of the magazine was never something that crossed her mind until it happened. After writing up multiple drafts of a story about Republican support for the legalization of marijuana, it soon snowballed into being Newsweek’s cover story this past August.
“First the assignment was just going to be an online feature, and after the first draft they said ‘we’ll put it in the magazine, but it will only be 1,000 words, it will be two pages,’” Hutzler said. “Then after another draft they were like ‘wait no, we want it longer, we want more,’ so I didn’t write it or report on it for four weeks until it became a cover story, and then it did.”
For Hutzler, her experiences at MC have greatly influenced her ability to do her current job so soon after graduation.
“[What I’ve taken away from MC is] the ability to think clearly, to write clearly, and a little bit of confidence, that luckily Manhattan College nurtured in me since I was a freshman,” Hutzler said. “Just the fact that your professors listen to you and care about your work and give you constructive feedback, that instills a certain confidence in you that you are worthy of producing something right out of college.”
For those looking to follow in Hutzler’s footsteps, her main advice is to be open to whatever experiences may present themselves.
“Be flexible in your career goals,” Hutzler said. “I always knew I wanted to do print, and I’m still not totally in print, I’m online, which is something to adjust to, but even when I was a student here, I did a lot of broadcast internships. I even [briefly] worked at NY1 out of college as well, so … just be open-minded, and everything relates back to each other.”