Former Daily Lobo editor in chief, Elizabeth Sanchez now enjoys sleeping in on Sundays instead of working fourteen hours straight to produce the state’s largest student newspaper.
Sanchez is now getting ready to graduate from the University of New Mexico with a double major in Spanish and Multimedia Journalism.
Sanchez said through journalism, she has expanded her knowledge of everything from beetles to medical devices. But her favorite part is meaningful connections and sharing the information she finds.
“It’s amazing when you get to talk to pretty much anyone you get to find a story within them,” Sanchez said. “Often it’s an inspirational or exciting story you would never expect to get the opportunity to tell.”
Sanchez is also majoring in Spanish to connect with her roots, her family has lived in New Mexico for generations, but she said she felt disconnected from the language.
“I wanted to discover a little bit more about my heritage also challenge myself and also be able to communicate with people,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez said her passion from journalism was rooted in love of writing poetry in high school. Her interest in writing brought her to a documentary journalism class to continue writing. It was in that class she met Robert Nott, the education reporter at the Santa Fe New Mexican, who encouraged students to write for the teen section, Generation Next. She enjoyed the flexibility of the position, reporting on teen pregnancy and suicide or lighter topics like Earth Day.
Sanchez said working at Generation Next inspired her to major in journalism and work at the college newspaper. She worked at the Daily Lobo on general assignment her freshman year. She headed the paper May 2017 to May 2018.
Her experience in the past four years is extensive. She’s worked as a mentor editor at Rising Stars, a leadership program for high schoolers. She’s written on LGBTQ issues in The Perspective Magazine as a freelancer.
At Bella Media Publishing Company she wrote and edited at a magazine covering the local art scene. She held a summer internship at the Rio Grande Sun in Española. She spent her last semester writing crime briefs for the Lobo and profiling people with disabilities and access issues for New Mexico News Port.
Sanchez said she is grateful for all the opportunities to experience different workplaces, and work for different places.
“Every single person I’ve come in contact with — especially at the Lobo — and in my time at UNM has benefited me in one way or another to help me learn and grow into a better person.”
Many people told the Daily Lobo that Sanchez has had an impact on their lives.
Daven Quelle, the business manager for the Daily Lobo worked closely with Sanchez during her time as editor in chief. She said that Sanchez was a conscientious leader who cared about the people, stories and environment of the paper.
“Elizabeth was always upbeat and positive, and worked really hard to create that environment in the newsroom,” Quelle said. “She even recruited her family to come in one weekend to clean, paint and reorganize the newsroom.”
Robert Trapp, publisher at the Rio Grande Sun had this to say about Sanchez’s time at the paper:
“Elizabeth was great,” Trapp said. “Wish I could have kept her.”
Her younger sister Katherine Sanchez, a freshman at UNM said Sanchez is caring and understanding person.
“She is super kind and dedicated, if anyone gave her any task she would do it in a heartbeat,” Katherine said.
A highlight of this semester included interviewing former Russian Ambassador Michael McFaul, which Sanchez called great public speaking experience and a foray into broadcast interviewing techniques.
“They kept asking me, ‘are you nervous?’ and I was like, well I wasn’t nervous until you asked me,” she said, laughing. “It was a big deal but when you have a big interview like that you have to treat it like an everyday person.”
The next step for her is a little uncertain, she’s waiting on some internships in and out of the state to get back to her.
Something on the horizon for Sanchez might be law school, because she said she’s not ready to stop building upon her knowledge.
“I’d also like to give myself options,” Sanchez said. “I love the media in general, so if I ever needed to take a break from journalism for a while, I wouldn’t mind practicing media law.”
Finally, Sanchez has a couple words of advice for younger students: get involved, take your time with school, and maybe write for your student newspaper.
“Write for the Lobo,” Sanchez said with a laugh. “But I also encourage people to try new things, put themselves outside their comfort zone and meet new people.”
Sanchez told me about sad happenstance on assignment, when she lost nearly all of the footage from a corrupted memory card.
Even though she had to re-do an interview in Socorro, she said the frustration reminds her not to get caught up in perfection.
“Experiences like that — which frequently happen — have taught me to be more aware of my equipment and that things aren’t always perfect, and that’s okay” she said. “You just have to push through what goes wrong and deal with it as best you can.”
Danielle Prokop is a senior reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @ProkopDani.