More about: Arizona Cardinals reporter Felipe Corral Jr.
Those experiences shaped his decision to aim for a sports journalism career, not to mention that he also grew up playing sports his whole life. One of the biggest reasons that motivated him was the underrepresentation of Latinos in this field. He started with this mission and continues to strive for it by normalizing people who look like him and speak Spanish, as he does. He mentioned that from time to time, he gets messages from his community, praising his work and the cultural references that he makes when covering a game.
During his time at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, he was able to intern at Fox Sports and network with sports journalists like Lisa Matthews, who guided him to the position he currently holds. Corral Jr. is a multimedia journalist and producer at the Arizona Cardinals, something he has done for 2 years now. He produces content for both English-speaking audiences and Spanish-speaking audiences. He strives for new accomplishments and continues to make an impact at the Arizona Cardinals. He shared his views on Latino representation in the news industry and shared advice to upcoming journalists.
What did it take to get to your current role?
Through Cronkite, they have an amazing program, the internship program and through that internship program, I was able to go to Fox Sports my first semester and establish relationships there and one of the former interns for Fox Sports is a reporter named Lisa Matthews, who is also a reporter for the Arizona Cardinals now. That relationship really helped me get my foot in the door in that regard.
What does it mean to be bilingual and how have you applied it in your career?
It's kind of like the best of both worlds because not only do I have to know terminology and all that stuff in both languages, but I have to produce two different types of contents. In this industry versatility is probably one of the most important factors, especially in the position that I'm in, that there's not that many people that can do both of those things at a consistent level, especially within the football field, because in football it’s not necessarily known by Spanish speakers. Then on the English side it's more of catering to our fans here in Arizona. So, the fact that I'm able to speak both languages, I
can talk to the two different audiences, the international and then the fans here in the States.
What is a long term goal you have?
Now my long term goal is “okay I don't necessarily see Hispanic reporters, bilingual reporters on the football side at the national level” so now that I've got my foot in the door here locally at some point down the road, I'm talking four to six years, I would want to make that jump to the national level and have more people feel at home seeing somebody that looks like them and speaks like them at the national level talking about a sport that they so much love.
How can your representation and the way you tell a story connect with people?
If you have a minority covering a story about another minority
that ends up being the player, you just connect the fan to the player and if we can relate to that player, if we can relate to the fan, what better ways to share the story in that regard. We know our struggles, we know our communities best because we're from there. The fact that we're sharing that specific story people are going to relate to them because they know that this guy or this woman has gone through that. They understand that the story that we're sharing is way more accurate because we've experienced those specific scenarios.
What can the journalism industry do to be more diverse?
If someone of color sees a reporter of color, whether it's Hispanic, African American, Asian, sharing a specific story that best represents that fan base the people are going be more into it, people are going to be more prideful, like “yeah that's my team” or “ that's my organization” or “that's my community.” Once you start normalizing that, then you're going to see it normalize across the board, whether it's locally or nationally and more people are going to feel welcomed by those organizations. Then lastly, I think it's providing the resources to those specific communities so those specific reporters that are trying to cover communities that may not necessarily be covered, on a consistent basis, giving them interviews, giving them stories to focus more on specific communities that are underrepresented.
What advice do you have for upcoming journalism students?
To always seek out ways to improve through student involvement, through internships, through networking. I specifically say networking because like I mentioned, I got this job strictly due to networking, I established relationships through my internships at Cronkite, I established another relationship through NAHJ.
What has been your favorite memory or story covered so far in your career?
Four or five weeks ago, it was my first time ever hosting the Spanish halftime radio show, which is 15 minutes just by myself. Typically, when I'm on the pregame show or the postgame show with my other colleagues, we're having a chat line, having a normal conversation about the team and stuff like that. When I'm on the halftime show I'm completely by myself, I have no one else to talk to so I have to fill in and talk by myself for 15 minutes. I speak Spanish, but it's pretty hard to switch from Spanish to English and doing that mentally is just difficult to turn the switch on like “okay now English and now Spanish.” I lose my saying, whether it's in English or in Spanish. I was on the halftime show, and I got stuck, like live on air! There was like 15 seconds of complete silence, awkward silence, and I'm by myself and I don't know what to do. So, then my producer just cuts to a commercial break on radio. I only say that's my favorite memory, because that's what taught me the most about staying grounded, my responsibilities have elevated within the organization, but it doesn't mean you take your foot off the gas pedal. That was a big eye opener for me. I needed to prepare more, I needed to focus more, I needed to do more of everything and that's what that memory taught me to be more prepared when heading into a game day. One of the biggest things is to “get comfortable being uncomfortable” in that specific situation and I was too comfortable.