Aspiring War Correspondent Daniela Hurtado

Daniela Hurtado is a junior at UF pursuing a career as a war correspondent. Hurtado is also a host and producer for WUFT’s radio reading service on news topics every Thursdays.

Name: Daniela Hurtado
Nickname: Dani
Born: Venezuela
Major: Telecommunication (on the news track)
Concentration: political science
Hobbies: going to brunch, crafting, hanging out with friends and dancing

Her Campus: Not many people want to be a war correspondent. Why are you choosing to pick such a dangerous career?
Daniela Hurtado: “Growing up, I always dabbled with the possibility of doing international correspondence in either Latin America or the Middle East. I always wanted to do something that will not only impact the masses, but resonates with people long after they shut off their TVs. I’m from Venezuela, a country that has plummeted both financially and physically. My love for storytelling came from that, I think. Journalists were always censored, and when my favorite station was shut down (RCTV, a station my aunt also happened to work for), my heart was shattered. You asked why I picked such a dangerous career. Well, like many journalists, I am an adrenaline junkie and like high-stress situations. I feel that if there aren't people who are willing to risk themselves to tell a good story, then there wouldn't be a journalism field at all. Choosing a path like war journalism allows me to do not only something different, but it helps me open the eyes of those who are ignorant to what is going on in the world.”

HC: How did you pick up an interest in that specific type of reporting?
DH: “Along with all the other things I previously mentioned, I think the tipping point for me was when I met Vikram Gandhi from VICE in New York City in March 2015. He doesn't only do war journalism, but the way he and VICE do storytelling captivates every part of my being. So Vikram was a big confirmation to what I always hoped to do. Another eye-opener for me into the realization of picking war journalism was Mariana Atencio, a Venezuelan-born journalist who is currently a journalist for Fusion and a correspondent for Univision. When I met her, she spoke about the protest that broke out in Venezuela in 2014 and how she was able to cover it and showed us footage. I think that was the exact moment where I realized that I wasn't crazy for choosing something so adrenaline seeking. I want to cover protests of that degree around the globe. I want to cover fights among countries. I want to be the correspondent that is at the right place at the right time. I hope to incorporate innovative ways to tell stories overseas. I hope to captivate viewers by the way I look at stories and scope the best angle.”

HC: What do you hope to accomplish as a war correspondent?
DH: “You know, I ask myself this often. I hope to accomplish many things as a journalist. However, as a war correspondent, I hope to cover not only wars overseas but having the ability to produce packages that will impact a greater audience. I hope to be recognized for my work in the long run. There's this quote that I often live by, ‘Work hard until you no longer have to introduce yourself,’ and I feel like that ties in with a lot of my goals. Traveling is also something I love, and journalism is something I love, too. So when you mix both of the two things I love most in this world, I think it won't feel like work at all.”

HC: What countries are you most excited to broadcast from and why?
DH: “You know, I don't really have countries that I'm ‘most’ excited to cover. Although, down the line I hope that if anything ever happens in Venezuela, like the month-long protests of 2014, that I am the first one sent out on a plane to cover it. I think that it would be the best way to give back to the country where I was born. It would make me feel like I was doing something for them and telling stories that would not have normally been covered because of the censorship in the country.”

HC: If you could interview one person right now, who would it be and why?
DH: “As an aspiring war correspondent or a ‘special correspondent,’ I think anyone would want to have a sit-down with C.J. Chivers, who was a New York Times war correspondent for 14 years. I feel like we can all learn to be better and do better. Learning and talking to someone like Chivers would mentally prepare me much more as to what to expect in the line of fire/war zone.”

Photo Courtesy of Daniela Hurtado