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ABC 7 Eyewitness News has hired its first Latina daily line-producer and she is a NAHJ Chicago member.

Virginia Matos is not new to Chicago or the station.  Matos grew up on the Northwest Side and graduated from Columbia College.  She has been working as a news writer and producer for the last 15 years.  Her new role will be to produce the 4:30 p.m. newscast Monday through Friday.

“Over the years, I’ve filled in for every show and never felt true ownership,” said Matos. “I feel like I’ll treat this show with extra special care.”

Matos says NAHJ has impacted her career immensely.

“I have to attribute a lot of my career journey to NAHJ,” said Matos. “As an aspiring journalist coming out of college, it was a great avenue to connect with other journalists both in my TV community and Latino community.”

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NAHJ Region 6 Director Blanca Rios works with Matos at ABC 7.

“Virginia is a respected journalist with a leading voice in my newsroom,” said Rios. “I look up to her and I’m so proud of the way she continues to give back to our younger generation of journalists,”

One of those journalists is Berwyn native Marvin Gomez who is now a Weather Broadcaster at AccuWeather.

Gomez met Matos when she served as a mentor for a NAHJ Chicago Speed Networking event.

“Without the advice and unconditional support of Virginia, I probably would have never advanced in my career as quickly as I did,” said Gomez.  “Virginia is more than a mentor, she is almost an angel God sent before I began my journey on air.”

In her new role, Matos will be an added Latino voice in editorial meetings and newsroom decisions.

“Now more than ever, I think diversity is power,” said Matos. “And the stories we bring to the table are genuinely ours to share with those who live different but equally enriching lives.”

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 Matos says she remembers a news anchor giving a station tour to a group of students and telling them, “you will be who you see.”  She says that struck a chord with her.

 “In order to inspire young Latinos in journalism, they have to have someone to look up to or aspire to be,” said Matos.

We leave you with some of Virginia’s career advice:

  • Check your ego and bad attitudes at the door.
  • Be kind to everyone, because TV journalism is a small world.
  • Build relationships and maintain them.
  • Do something outside of these walls that makes you happy, because you will bring that joy to your newsroom and co-workers.
  • And make mistakes. That’s the only way you’ll truly learn.

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