At just 8 years old, Victoria Leandra Hernández, 21, started reading newspapers with her father as a hobby in her hometown, Toa Alta, P.R.
“I fell in love with news and what was going on outside Puerto Rico,” Victoria said.
Victoria works full-time as a social producer and news curator for Bloomberg. She did so while studying full-time at Manhattan College, where she recently graduated with a degree in journalism and a digital media minor.
She has held internships at Vice and NY1 Noticias, and eventually wants to become a national correspondent.
“I want to track the story and follow it. I want to go where the silence is…” Victoria said.“I see myself producing amazing video content, writing for major publications like The New York Times and being a well-rounded storyteller, on and off camera.”
She said she hoped to shed light on stories in Latin America.
Victoria takes with her advice from her brother, “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your heart on fire,” she said. “Whatever you do, follow that feeling of fulfillment and that will lead you to where you're meant to be and achieve your purpose.”
Victoria believes she was born to be a reporter. She feels a large sense of pride to be a Latina covering the Latin community. “For me it is a form of giving back to my people,” she said.
“I am passionate about storytelling,” Victoria said, who speaks English and Spanish. “I am enamored with getting to know the world at its core, people and their stories and the issues that affect them. Journalism wasn't a career I chose. It was the only thing I saw myself doing for the rest of my life, so it is my vocation.”
Now, as a participant in The New York Times Student Journalism Institute, Victoria wants to learn all she can from its mentors and its participants. “I am ready to work hard,” she said.
“I will continue to fight to tell the stories I feel strongly about, those of my beloved Latin America, especially Puerto Rico,” Victoria said. “After all, the best stories come out of the most underreported communities and shedding light onto the issues affecting them.”
You can follow Victoria as she posts about her adventures as an aspiring journalist, her Latin culture and her travels on her Instagram account, @victorialeandra.
Photo by Alejandra O'Connell-Domenech/NYT Institute