Juan Baeza, El Defensor Chieftain Intern

To say I knew what I wanted to do with my career after high school would be a lie.

I had an idea of various possibilities, but nothing ever really stuck.

There were two things I was sure of: I loved to talk, and I lived for a good story. In many situations throughout my life, I have done things just so I could tell that story further down the line.

My name is Juan Baeza, and I am an intern here at the Chieftain. Socorro is my hometown, and I am working on getting my journalism degree at UNM.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to come back and write stories for my community. When they gave me the chance to pick where I would be for the summer, El Defensor Chieftain was a no-brainer.

My love for storytelling comes from those old country songs and Spanish music that I listened to growing up. Whether it was Johnny Cash, or my mother playing Joan Sebastian, there was always a good story being told within those songs.

My grandfather also played a huge role in my love for stories. I grew up listening to him tell his cowboy stories — from bull riding to herding cattle across state lines.

I quickly fell in love with the notoriety of the story telling. Something always seemed to go wrong within the story, but that added to what made it so good in the first place.

I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do going into college. I was there, unsure of what was to come.

I didn’t know I liked writing until my second semester. I had a history professor who loved to assign these overly long writing assignments.

At first, I dreaded the beginning, but once I got to writing, something changed. I would catch myself in some type of zone that would make me invested in these assignments.

When I made the switch to journalism, writing my first story was the worst. I went into that class with extreme confidence. I thought this would be a walk in the park.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. I had never seen so many red marks on a paper.

That experience really humbled me and showed me just how important the process is. To see yourself improve with each story you write is a beautiful feeling.

Journalism opened the door for me to do something that I love and that is telling stories.

It also has an aspect that I love: interviewing. Interviewing is probably what I am best at. I love listening to individuals tell their stories, while answering my questions.

It’s all in the mix of what makes a good story.

Talking is something I have always felt like I’m good at. It’s opened a lot of doors for me.

I can hold a conversation with just about anyone. This has really helped me in my journalism.

As I make my way through the community, I hope I get the opportunity to talk you and maybe even tell your story.

Juan Baeza, El Defensor Chieftain Intern