By Margaret Varrelmann
Since graduating from the College in August 2019 as a journalism major, Miguel Gonzalez has taken the time to reflect on his time spent in the College’s journalism program, as well as The Signal, and how it encouraged him to pursue a career at The New York Post.
Although he is currently thriving in the industry, Gonzalez did not always see himself obtaining a job in journalism. When he began working at The Signal during his freshman year, he started out as a field hockey beat writer.
“I was interested in writing for the sports section and the field hockey beat was open,” he said. “I didn’t even know the rules of field hockey, but that one semester pretty much got me hooked to write with The Signal and eventually become the Sports Editor.”
Gonzalez went on to write his most memorable article, he said, in Sept. 2018 about the men’s rugby team. He got to know Rugby-lovers and even the rugby coach, Brian Brott-Turpie. He was able to use both his writing and newfound photography skills to come up with a sports feature article, he explained.
His passion for photography continued throughout the rest of his time at The Signal, with the experience leading him to his current visual media position at the NY Post. After capturing tense moments at an on-campus protest, Gonzalez could always be seen with his trusty camera, just waiting for the next perfect shot.
“I took photos during President Kathryn Foster’s inauguration, the campus candlelight vigil following a car crash that tragically killed Michael Sot, the I AM TCNJ forum following incidents of racism on campus and so many sports games,” he said.
Aside from holding various positions for The Signal, Gonzalez was also an intern for Community News Service in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, where he got the opportunity to write two articles for the news organization.
After covering a wide range of sports for The Signal, Gonzalez set out to get a job in sports media.
“After officially graduating in August 2019, I worked at a ticket booth for one month for the Hudson Valley Renegades — a minor league baseball team,” said Gonzalez. “I thought getting any type of job in a sports team would create connections.”
Although he said it was exhilarating to watch baseball games for free, the opportunity did not provide the connections he was searching for. Upon applying for more jobs and internships, he earned a brief internship for the New Jersey Senate Majority Office in Trenton, N.J., before moving on to his current company — The New York Post.
“I had the opportunity to write a few press releases for the NJ Senate Democrats,” said Gonzalez. “Though I chose to leave the internship after I received a full-time offer from the New York Post to work as an overnight digital producer. The schedule was a night owl lifestyle, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m..”
For his new role, Gonzalez said he would start by putting together the daily iPad edition, and posting articles online.
“[The job] involved a tedious task of organizing photos and copies of articles,” he said. “Then copying and pasting everything to a CMS to recreate a tablet formatted version of the NY Post print edition paper.”
Gonzalez said the most challenging part of his new role was the alterations made to his lifestyle. His sleep schedule had to be adjusted, as he had to sleep from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., taking small naps throughout the day.
Gonzalez soon got the opportunity to shift his late night hours into an evening position from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m — the role he has now.
“My job has been taking final drafts of articles and posting them online with captions, photos, links, videos, headlines, tags and modules,” he said. “I get to use Adobe Photoshop to crop photos and create photo compositions of two, three, four or even six people. Say I need to put together a columnist’s opinion article on New York City politics, I would grab photos from six NYC politicians and create a single photo composition of them.”
Although Gonzalez is enjoying his job, there are still some challenges to face.
“When breaking news comes out from the White House or something from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio or Governor Andrew Cuomo, I’m given five to seven minutes to upload the photo, write captions and edit any writing errors,” said Gonzalez. “Then I send it straight to the editor so the reporter’s article is published right away. It can be stressful at times, but that’s what I signed up for.”
As a son of immigrants who were unable to work in the places they wanted or go to college, Gonzalez likes to believe he is making his parents proud.
“I’m more than blessed to make a living in the journalism field and eventually work my way to a middle-class life,” he said. “I guess you can say I’m my parent’s American dream of being able to achieve your own goals.”
“Ultimately, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ path for every college graduate,” Gonzalez said. “Whatever the path may be, you (have to) start somewhere. In journalism, you can’t wait for opportunities. You have to grab it and show what you’re made of. You should never worry about being as ‘successful’ as other peers. Just like you, they’re on their own road. You should stick to your road and never be afraid to learn new skills along the way.”