Ashley Soriano recently moved to Las Vegas, Nevada for a reporting job with Fox News. She developed a passion for broadcast journalism over time, especially after challenging herself to take Grady Newsource. (Graphic by Sam Perez).
Hispanic Heritage Month Alumni Spotlight: Ashley Soriano (AB ’19)
Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of spotlights highlighting the work of some of our alumni in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. Please watch for more profiles in the weeks to come.
Ashley Soriano is a multimedia reporter for Fox News based in Las Vegas, Nevada. She graduated from Grady College with a journalism degree in 2019. Previously, Soriano worked in Laredo, Texas, for a year covering immigration and politics for KGNS-TV. On campus, Soriano was a Grady Ambassador, formed a chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and was a Yarbrough Fellow in Communications.
How does your Hispanic and/or Latin heritage influence your work?
I moved to Laredo, Texas for a variety of reasons, but two of them stick out. One, to be around the Hispanic community, because growing up in Georgia, I was not around people who shared similar cultural experiences. So in my adult life I wanted to at least have that a little bit, and I definitely did. It helped me grow, you know, being around people who only speak Spanish but you’re in the United States and seeing people cross over the border, just to come work but they live in Mexico. It really shaped me, even just living there for a year.
I was doing immigration stories almost every day, and I’m still doing immigration stories, so to be able to understand the culture to an extent, and to live on the border, I feel like you’re able to cover that community a little more thoroughly, and you’re able to connect with them and have them open up with you. I had to get interviews in Spanish in addition to my English interviews every single time I went out. To be able to have that ability to speak to someone in their language is very important, and the story might not have gotten done otherwise.
What classes at Grady College did the most to prepare you for your career?
I hated Grady Newsource for the first two and a half months, and I almost quit. I tried it out, stuck it through and ended up absolutely loving it. So if it’s challenging to anybody in Grady Newsource or, you know, whatever Grady students are doing and something’s challenging for them, it’s just going to make you a better person, a better journalist. Just stick with it. You hate it now, but you might look back and think that was the greatest decision you’ve ever made. And it absolutely was, joining Grady Newsource.
Explain a challenge that you had to overcome in your professional career.
A big challenge is viewer feedback and criticism when it’s not constructive — people are mean. They point out what you’re wearing, if you’re not wearing enough makeup. They don’t even know your work at all, but they ask you, “Oh, are you going to make me look bad?” We constantly have to defend our profession and our work, and I work so hard. I’m so passionate about what I do, I love what I do and I make sure what I do is fair, as fair as it can be. So you just have to develop a thick skin and your work will speak for itself.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
It just means celebrating a culture that is so important to the fabric of American society. We contribute a lot to society, and it just means that we’re getting recognition for that. And coming from a Hispanic background, statistically and historically, minorities go through certain struggles, whether it’s socioeconomic struggles or something else. It just means a lot to be able to bring light to my culture and to feel that shared experience with other people.
What advice would you give to young students of Hispanic origin who will soon enter the workforce?
It’s so extremely cliché, but believe in yourself, and keep working at something. If you are rejected, that’s okay because it’s going to open another door for you. At the time, rejection might seem like the end of the world, but it happens for a reason. When you’re about to give up, something is just going to happen, you’re just going to see why you were rejected so many times and those opportunities are going to come flooding in. So don’t let it get you down, just keep working hard, reach out to as many people as you can and establish connections. Don’t burn bridges. I mean, this industry is all connected. Whoever you meet in college can help you grow after college and years down the line.