Jennifer Hurtado is already involved in voter outreach programs in minority areas, so when the 2016 presidential debate was announced for UNLV, the senior journalism major knew she was going to be involved in a big way.
As an intern for Fox 5 (KVVU), Hurtado has to get up at 2:30 a.m. to work on the morning broadcast. But come debate night — really, for the Sunday through Wednesday of that week — she’ll be up with the big leagues, working as a runner for national Fox News. Network personnel, along with thousands of other journalists from around the world, will work from the debate’s media filing center at the Cox Pavilion starting on Oct. 14.
Hurtado volunteers for Voto Latino, a nonpartisan voter registration group that focuses mainly on Latino areas. Immigration and student issues are important to her, she said, but the debate represents something more than a chance to be politically engaged. It represents the opportunity to apply classroom learning to a major event.
The one thing that bothered her after the first debate was what Hurtado perceived to be a lack of objectivity. It’s something she hopes to avoid during her coverage for Studio G newscasts which stream live on unlvtv.unlv.edu.
“You're always going to have a bias,” she said, but journalists must take extra care to to present the different sides of an issue fairly. “I know it's tough as a journalist, especially when your opinions are involved and your personal views, but [all candidates] deserve fair coverage. Perhaps there are some things that people aren't seeing [about either candidate], and that haven't been addressed.”
Her work at Studio G has been almost entirely debate-focused, so Hurtado will be well-versed in election-related material prior to her week working for Fox. But still, it’s always a different story once the lights go on and you’re facing down the first major story of your budding career.
“I'm nervous, that's for sure. The Secret Service and all that, that's a whole other thing. That's going to be cool,” she said. “I'll try to keep my composure and try not to be a fangirl if I see any of my favorite anchors or reporters.”