by Gillian Puma, Staff Writer
Have you ever wondered who runs the social media behind VICE News? The woman behind the camera for major cultural events such as the Women’s March and the Power to Puerto Rico March is none other than Manhattan College alumna, Victoria Leandra Hernández.
During her time at Manhattan College, Hernández was very involved with campus life. She was the Social Media Editor, Multimedia Editor and the Asst. Arts and Entertainment Editor for The Quadrangle. She was also a student host for the Manhattan College Office of Student Engagement, where she conducted weekly videos to promote events and activities on and off campus. She also took on some of the school’s volunteer opportunities, such as the Lasallian Outreach Volunteer Experience in Duran, Ecuador and the Leadership and Global Awareness program in Rome, Italy. Her success as a student academically lead her to be awarded a full-tuition merit scholarship, while also earning her place in Lambda Pi Eta communication honor society and Epsilon Sigma Pi. Hernández graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies with a concentration in journalism and a minor in digital media. She obtained a 3.8 GPA and graduated magna cum laude.
Prior to working at VICE, Hernández did work as the lead weekend social producer at TicToc by Bloomberg as well as a reporter at the New York Times Journalism Institute. She is not only the multimedia producer for VICE News, but she is also the developer and producer of “Currently Obsessed”, Vice News’ culture video series on music.
The Quadrangle: How old are you?
Victoria Leandra Hernández: I just turned 23.
TQ: Where are you from?
VL: I am from Puerto Rico. I lived in a town called Toa Late.
TQ: What made you come to America for school?
VL: I always knew I wanted to move to New York City specifically to be a journalist here. So it wasn’t about moving to the US, it was about moving to New York and being a journalist in the city. When you think about the media industry, New York is the epicenter of everything. There’s all the major publications and news outlets have headquarters here. So if you want to do journalism, it’s kinda like a no brainer to move to where it’s all happening. I knew I wanted to do something bigger than myself and Puerto Rico wouldn’t have been the place for that. At least, as I’m starting my career.
TQ: What made you pick Manhattan College specifically?
VL: The only way I could have come to the US to study was if I had a scholarship. So I applied to a bunch of schools but Manhattan College was the one that gave me the most scholarship. It was equivalent to tuition free. I just couldn’t say no to it. I believe it was the school that believed in me. I don’t do any sports, so the only way I could come was with a merit based scholarship and Manhattan College took me. It was the best move because it allowed me to be close to the city, but not in the city so it was perfect.
TQ: What was your favorite article you wrote for The Quad?
VL: I think it has to be one of the first articles I wrote. It was Fashion Week. That article was the start of my blog which was called “Sabor With Style” and that blog took off. With that blog I was able to apply for internships and that was sort of my first thing on my resume apart from being in The Quad. When I first had the internship at VICE I didn’t have anything else on my resume so that first article was the first article that lead to my blog and that lead to the internship at VICE. I would call it remarkable because it was my first start at everything.
TQ: What are some of the internships you’ve had and your experiences?
VL: My first internship was at NY1 and I was in the Arts and Entertainment Department as well as the VICE internship. So the first time I interned it was two internships at once in one summer. It was great because three days I was at VICE and two days I was at NY1. It felt like I had a full time job in the whole industry. I only had internships with two companies, but with VICE I had three semesters. I was a good intern, so they just kept asking for me back. I didn’t even apply the other semesters.
TQ: Have you ever broadcasted or been on some of VICE’s shows?
VL: I’m not an on-air person for VICE. VICE has had me on-air to represent VICE though. I have been on MSNBC and Cheddar on-air.
TQ: What do you do at VICE?
VL: My title at vice right now is Social Multimedia Producer. But that doesn’t encompass everything I do, so on a daily basis I am working with all social media channels of VICE News. So what you see on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, a lot of that is me behind that so that’s part of my job. The other part of my job is that I’m a Social Producer, so I do a lot of work in terms of going outside and being a social correspondent and it’s basically hosting on Instagram and Snapchat like sharing what’s happening at this location. For all the protests and marches they usually send me. I’ve covered Latin American politics, I’ve covered Puerto Rico, I’ve covered Venezuela, and I’ve covered gun violence stories. I also do a lot of panels representing VICE News.
TQ: Do you like living in Brooklyn or The Bronx more?
VL: So I’ve lived in The Bronx, I’ve lived in Manhattan, and I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn now. I think all of those boroughs have different personalities and I found something to like about each. I have a soft spot for The Bronx, but my favorite is where I am now. It’s more of my vibe.
TQ: What do you do outside of work?
VL: I do freelance writing, so apart from my role at VICE I also work with other companies doing freelance stuff. Stuff that I don’t necessarily cover for VICE. For example, I’m very interested in veganism and style and I’ve covered those things in Travel and Bustle and Mic. I also love eating so I like going to new restaurants and checking out their menus and booking classes of things I’ve never done before. I did axe throwing recently. I’m going to take a pottery class soon. Over the summer I went hiking a lot this summer. I think there’s always something to do in New York so you’re never bored.
TQ: Do you miss Puerto Rico?
VL: I think I’m so busy here that I don’t have time to miss it. But the main thing I miss about Puerto Rico is my family and I get to see them quite often so that also helps me not miss my home so much. Puerto Rico is the ideal place to live in terms of lifestyle. Life there is much easier. When I go home, it feels like a vacation like I wouldn’t be able to live there anymore because I like the fast pace of New York. I miss Puerto Rico, but I think this is the place for me now and for my career.
TQ: Do you have any advice for anybody looking to go into the news field?
VL: My advice is to start young. When I was in college I didn’t have any connections. I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t have a network of people or a professional network like some people do. I took the time of me being in college to do internships and attended a lot of networking events outside of Manhattan College. When I was not studying, I was at a networking event in the city. It was me meeting editors and producers and introducing myself to them. I was 17 and going into the city and meeting professionals and building my network. Google is your best friend to find networking events in the city.