From California dreaming to Austin living: how a local sports journalist is helping people cope with COVID-19

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Courtesy of Jake García

García joined the KVUE team back in July of 2019. He also holds a master’s degree in mass communication.

Jake García, a 25-year-old California native and Arizona State graduate, is living his best life here in Austin. Growing up, García enjoyed writing and was always fascinated by sports journalists who got to cover big games, leading him down the path to become a sports reporter for KVUE.

As a kid, and being a Lakers fan, he would cover every game, write down how it went in his notebook and read them to his parents like the sports broadcasters he saw on TV. Remembering these little things he used to do helped shape his decision to study journalism in college. 

When García was a senior in college, he put a lot of thought into what he would do after graduation. 

“I thought that I would want to go into baseball play by play, working with a minor league baseball team. Probably in a very small city and not making a lot of money,” García says. 

His goal was to work his way up and eventually become a broadcaster for a regional sports network covering major league baseball. As the semester went on, he realized that the curriculum he was studying for the past four years would not help him if he went in that direction. 

“I had never really gotten any feedback to know if I was actually good at [baseball] play by play, but I got a lot of feedback and validation that I was good at sports reporting,” García says. 

Having that validation from his peers helped motivate him into pursuing a career as a sports reporter upon graduation. He feels very lucky that he was able to get to where he is today before the pandemic.  

“I know a lot of kids who are at Arizona State right now looking to go into a career in TV sports journalism and are having a very difficult time doing that because, especially at the small market level, sports jobs are the ones being cut,” García says. 

In García’s free time, he loves to workout and go to the gym but the pandemic has made it difficult for him to stay in shape. A few of the half-marathons that he had signed up for ended up being canceled, so García’s dad and uncle started sending him Crossfit workouts so he could remain active even in quarantine. 

“I did the workouts for a few days and thought, I’m probably not the only one who is having to deal with this right now,” García says. This is when he had the idea to create a segment on KVUE called “Shelter-in-Shape” which is where he would share the workouts he did for the day on-air.

The more he did the segment, the more people started to send him some of their own workouts. This is when García started to feel more connected to the community. Seeing that his segment is reaching more than the sports community has made him love his job even more. 

Being a local journalist is tough, especially during a pandemic, and García has realized that now is the time journalists are needed the most. Although he is doing what he envisioned right now, he does admit that his long-term vision changes constantly. 

García says that he doesn’t know exactly what he wants to do with the rest of his career or what his ultimate dream job is. All he knows is that right now, he is where he wants to be.