Writing is and has always been Obed Manuel’s passion. He knew that whatever he did in life it had to involve writing. It’s just something he has always felt the need to do. So what better career to pick than journalism.
Dressed in red shorts with white lining on the sides and a gray shirt he sat at a booth by the front window of the restaurant, scrolling his finger on his cell phone screen while waiting.
He was a bit unsure at first, but that didn’t last long. The uncertainty might have been caused by his exhaustion from working out in his boiling hot garage. But he still gave an enthusiastic greeting.
The wariness in the air soon subsided and he seemed more comfortable after he took his seat again at the booth.
“I love listening to people and to be able to do that for a living that’s probably the best kind of job you can have,” Manuel, 24, said as he spoke about what interested him in journalism.
For this University of North Texas Mayborn graduate, journalism gives him the ability to take a good story and not just tell it, but to show readers how it happens. And to take readers on for a ride that will get them thinking and connect with his words that on paper.
Manuel and his family migrated from Mexico to Oak Cliff, a Dallas neighborhood, in the ‘90s. From firsthand experience, Manuel understands that there’s a struggle as an immigrant that not a lot of people are familiar.
“It’s a story only an immigrant can tell the right way,” Manuel said boldly.
Manuel’s favorite reporter from Texas is Julián (Nacho) Aguilar from The Texas Tribune. He appreciates the way Julián Aguilar is committed to telling the stories of immigrants not through hard news, but by telling readers the facts.
Manuel said that he tries his best to emulate Aguilar when writing on immigration issues, social issues, and minority issues.
“Journalists are there to keep a check on government and people who are in power,” Manuel said firmly. “People who can influence the lives of millions of people.”
He explained further by saying that journalists are the representative of people because regular people won’t take the same measure of actions as a journalist would.
“There’s a responsibility to it. To me that’s who I am as a person,” Manuel said assertively. “I like to stand up for other people. I like to stand up for what’s right.”
Not only does he feel that he has a responsibility as a journalist, but he also believes there is power a journalist has to stand up for the common folks and help have their voices heard.
“Journalism gives me the opportunity to walk up to somebody and say ‘Hey, I’m listening to what you’re saying and I’m going to do my best to get it out there,'” Manuel said empathetically.
Almost two years after receiving his Mayborn of Journalism degree from the University of North Texas Manuel has found himself as an Editor for Latina Lista, a website publication. He wants to continue writing and gaining experiences as a journalist in hopes of creating something that captivates people.
All that he asks his readers take from him is the truth.
“I hope people take away what’s true and they have to make whatever decision they’re going to make for themselves,” Manuel said without a doubt in his voice. “It’s going to be up to the reader, but I’m going to do my best to present the truth.”