Hello, and welcome back to Gracie Meets…! I’m glad to have the honor of interviewing Mrs. Julia Morales from AT&T Sportsnet Southwest today! This is such a good episode for not only sports reporters in the making, but for podcasters and journalists. Go ahead and take a listen for lots of fun tips.
Show Music: 2019 07 25 cello pizz 01 by Morusque used under Creative Commons License CC BY. No alterations were made to the original composition.
Cover Art: Kyleigh Kinsey. Instagram: @ato._.noodle
Intro Music 00:00
Gracie Solomon 00:13
Hello, and welcome back to Gracie Meets…. I’ve been an avid baseball fan for many years now. And I’ve looked up to today’s guest all that time because of all the great work she’s done with Houston Pets Alive, and the Houston Astros. To be honest, she’s so amazing, she needs no introduction. I’m so honored to be given the chance to interview Emmy winning sports reporter Mrs. Julia Morales.
Julia Morales 00:37
Hi there. Julia Morales here. I work for AT&T Sportsnet Southwest, but I am mostly known to be the Houston Astros field reporter and I also occasionally work Houston Rockets games, doing their pre and post-game and those shows as well. I’ve been in the sports reporting business for almost 12 years now. And kind of worked my way up from the small market to the big market in a city like Houston. So I’ve been in Houston for eight years now and I absolutely love it and really enjoy my job.
Gracie Solomon 01:09
So how would you describe your job to a teenager like myself?
Julia Morales 01:14
Well, you know, for someone that’s watching on TV, maybe they have seen a sideline reporter in a way at a football game, or you know, someone that’s interviewing the MVP of the game, if you will, the best player in that particular game. After it’s over. You see it on the field you might have seen in the Superbowl, those are sideline reporters. However, for baseball, I call myself a field reporter because we don’t have the typical sidelines, like a, you know, NFL game or a football game would but as a field reporter for a baseball game and a baseball broadcast, there’s so many more things that I do for my job, then that one interview that happens for the player of the game, which I do and I absolutely enjoy, but there are a lot more things, a lot more responsibilities that I have. I gather a lot of content I gather a lot of information every single day on the team, news, notes, things that I can you know give to fans throughout the game to make the broadcast that much better and to tell stories about the close the gap between fans and their favorite team, you know, and bringing them what they want to know and what they want to hear about their favorite player or their favorite team. That’s what I do that’s where I come in. So storytelling is a big part of my job. Interviewing is obviously a big part of my job and I’m kind of the eyes and ears if you will of all the fans as I have very close access to the baseball team.
Gracie Solomon 02:43
So what is it like on the field?
Julia Morales 02:47
It’s amazing. It’s the best part of the job is that I have the best seat in the world. If you happen to be fan if you happen to be a fan of that sport and of that team. I really do have the best seat I sit, You know, during the game I sit just a couple of feet away from where the guys are in the dugout. So I get to see a lot of the things that most people don’t get to see it’s a very unique experience to be down on there. You know, before the game. There’s a lot of things going on pregame festivities every single day. Sometimes they’re celebrities, and really cool people that come down there to experience it as well. I mean, it’s just a neat thing to be on a major league baseball field. It’s a gorgeous place. You can just see how pristine the field is when you get down there and just how well manicure that it is and how well they take care of it and that that part of it’s really cool too. You can also see up and see how many people can be in the stands and just the atmosphere that it creates for someone like a player who is on the field and you know and like I said during the game for me to be so close to these guys, I get to see the reactions I get to hear what they say after certain things happen. You know, that’s another part of my job that I can, I can use on-screen and I can tell that the fans, there’s a lot of it that can’t be repeated and which is fun too. And then there’s in a case of an injury things that I see that I need to report on that I actually have to gather some information on before, you know, coming out and confirming anything, obviously, you know, I talk to the team and we talk to medical professionals before we get that far, but it is fun, you know, it’s a really fun experience every single day. I mean, you never know how the games gonna play out, which is the best part of the job.
Gracie Solomon 04:33
I would love to have that kind of front row seat to my favorite baseball teams games all the time. Does it take like a certain type of person to excel in this profession? Or can it just be anyone?
Julia Morales 04:46
Yeah, you know, I think someone that’s extremely dedicated to, to the business and to grow in themselves as a reporter. You know, the knowledge has to be there because of the things we’re asked to do. And I’m coming up with my own content and coming up with my own questions. You know, I do have people that could help me if I needed it but that’s not what they’re there for. I mean, as a sideline reporter, as a field reporter, I am expected to know the ins and outs of the game and what it takes to get a really good answer from a player and how to ask a really good question. So I think someone that is ready to work hard you know that that’s another thing is that these schedules for these sports reporters, not just baseball, but all sports. They’re, they’re not your typical nine to five, you don’t have weekends, you don’t get holidays off. There’s a lot of sacrifices that we make when we sign up for this. Knowing that the reward is that great, you know, it’s like I you know, I have missed so many birthday parties. I’ve missed so many weddings and functions and things that I wish I could have been a part of. However, I also at the same time was able to be in at World Series games and I’ve been able to cover Super Bowls and I’ve been able to go to NBA Finals for the job as well. So, for me, that’s absolutely worth it. It’s experiences that I would have never gotten without making those sacrifices. But, you know, I think if you’re someone that’s dedicated to working and dedicating to make yourself better, and someone that’s knowledgeable, I think you can, you can definitely find yourself in a situation where you’d be a really good sideline reporter.
Gracie Solomon 06:27
I never knew how much sacrifice was needed to put into this job. When is the best time to decide to pursue this career path? Like, would you still need to be in high school?
Julia Morales 06:40
That’s a good question. And, you know, it’s one I guess, if you’re aspiring to be a sports reporter at a young age like I was, um, you think it’s never too early to really start because the you know, that industry is so competitive. And, and you’re right about that the competitive part is every bit of real as you imagine it, you know, there’s just, there’s only so much you can do until you get the opportunity to start practicing your skills and so you know, up until a point where maybe you could put yourself on camera or start writing or start taking photos, whatever kind of journalism maybe that you want to pursue before that, it’s just having the knowledge reading and it’s not just knowing about one sport or one team you know, I bounced around from city to city and covered lots of different teams and lots of different pro teams and lots of my friends who are in journalism programs went all across the country and you just don’t know where you’re going to end up, or what you’re going to have to cover. So the best thing the best advice that I was probably given when I was younger and that I can share that you know something about everything, you know, read whatever you can get your hands on, watch sports, watch sports news, watch different anchors and how they act and how they transition and things that they say. And you know, it’s not just sports news. It’s the right you know, the regular news. And you can learn so much from them too, because it really is the same skills. They’re just reporting on different things. When you do get to a point where you can actually start practicing skills, like I mentioned, being on camera, writing stories and reading highlights, then it’s just reps at that point. It’s just reps and being able to practice on your own having your own podcast and things like you’re doing now is exactly what you should be doing because that’s what’s available to you. And then as you start your college career, there’s internships and there’s obviously things you can do after that. I mean, just, you just start where you can you just, you know get your hands on whatever you can that would make you feel like you’re preparing yourself for a job. I don’t think it’s ever too early, but I also don’t think it’s ever too late. If people have changed careers, you know, well into their, you know, mid 20s, 30s you know, it’s never too late, either. This is a world is a really cool place. And we can pretty much do whatever you set your mind to. So don’t ever count yourself out no matter the age, because it’s all possible.
Gracie Solomon 09:10
Those are great tips. Do you need to have any specific skills to do this? Or is there one skill that you must have?
Julia Morales 09:18
I’m would say, you know, depends on what you really want. I wanted to be a television reporter. I wanted to be a news reporter first before I realized I could work in sport. And, you know, for that it was my writing skills had to be good. I had to be good on camera, I had to be able to tell a story. And so those are very important skills that translate to sports as well. So I would say those are the things you need to be able to do. The writing half is a huge part of this and being able to create a story and write a story and get your point across and then there are different ways to write a story. Newspaper and television are two completely different things. You know, there’s two different ways to write that. So that’s something that you’d have to learn. And then the telling the story is the biggest part is like how do you gather the information to tell the story and that’s what makes a really good reporter. So I would say those are the skills being able to I mean, you can’t be shy you can’t just nothings ever really given to you in any of this, you know, stuff you have to work for. So I would say those are the skills that you need in order to succeed at this in these professions.
Gracie Solomon 10:25
I love that. How is your job changed in the past five years?
Julia Morales 10:30
I would say, you know, the, the meat and potatoes of the job have been similar I have because I’ve become more advanced and because I’ve been doing it and just had more experience. I’ve been able to expand a little bit on certain areas of the job and I’ve been I’ve been asked to do more, which is really great. You know, starting out with just maybe reporting I’ve been hosting a little bit more which means you know, you’re sitting on the desk and anchoring the show and you’re the voice of the show, and that was something that I’ve gotten better at over the year. I was a little bit of a boost in my career. It’s just one more thing I could do and being versatile. And then I would say the social media side of it has been so huge. And you know, people are watching their Astros games, and people are watching sports in many different ways. Now, it’s not just on the television. And we have to keep up with that. And what I’ve learned is that there’s a big need for the social media presence, and there’s a way to do it. And so that has been a learning curve for me as I’ve tried to kind of follow what fans have wanted. And that’s changed. That’s changed year to year. And it’s you know, people ask if they want more, they want more and how can I give them more and so I’ve had to learn and find ways to do that and adapt. But other than that, you know, baseball is baseball and that part hasn’t changed. There’s been rules that I’ve had to get accustomed to, as those have changed a little bit. But um, other than that, yeah, I mean, the broadcast is still what it is, and I enjoyed that part of it. Because I am so comfortable on that job now I can I can pick up and run with it.
Gracie Solomon 12:04
I’d like to thank you so so so much for being on my show today. I know your schedule is full of meetings right now. So thank you so much for giving me a portion of your very important time.
Julia Morales 12:14
Yeah, of course. Thank you for having me.
Gracie Solomon 12:18
Being on TV, talking to famous sports stars, and having the best seat in the house seems great. But it takes a special type of person to become a sports supporter. You’d have to give up a lot of personal time and have a special love for the game to be able to excel. One would have to be a dedicated person to do this. A normal person could never shine in this profession. But then again, show me a normal teenager. Thanks for listening.
Outro Music 12:39
Gracie Solomon 12:49
Thanks for tuning in. If you like Gracie Meets… subscribe so you can listen every time a new episode is dropped and follow Gracie Meets… Instagram @gracie.meets (gracie (dot) meets). Tune in next Saturday for a stunning interview with a luthier. If you would like to know more about Houston Pets Alive, or donate to them, go to houstonpetsalive.org. That’s houstonpetsalive.org