Standing at 6-feet-3 with broad shoulders, Johnny Flores may look like he plays a collegiate sport. But Johnny, 20, a rising senior at the University of Southern California, actually writes about them.
“Everyone has a story, no matter how big or small, and to be able to capture that is one of the reasons I love journalism,” Johnny said.
With his added strength as a bilingual reporter, Johnny hopes to make a mark on sports journalism. He hopes his ability to speak Spanish can help reveal what players who do not speak English feel in the moment, because so much is lost when using a translator.
He is studying journalism and minoring in sports media studies. Sports, particularly baseball, have ignited anger, sadness and happiness throughout his life, he said, and being able to write about his passion would be the ultimate career.
Growing up in the rural Eastern Coachella Valley where opportunities in journalism were pretty limited, Johnny found ways to find and create opportunities for himself.
In his junior year of high school, Johnny was accepted to Princeton University’s Summer Journalism Program. His assignment was to interview the men’s basketball coach, Mitch Henderson.
“We sat down and talked for two hours,” Johnny recalled. “We talked basketball, the ups and downs of the program, and his goals for the future.”
The ensuing piece was published in the program’s newspaper, and it was what ultimately led Johnny to knowing exactly what he wanted to do with his career in journalism.
“From there, I knew I wanted to write about sports,” Johnny said. “I often think back to that moment and how somehow fate turned me towards something that I was not originally comfortable with, and eventually became what I loved the most.”
Photo by Alejandra O'Connell-Domenech/NYT Institute