Cynthia Izaguirre on media, family and education.
by Jesse Garcia
One of the hardest jobs in media is being the early morning anchor on television. You have to get up at 3 a.m., be dressed to the nines, and ready to function before you go live at 5 a.m. reading Teleprompters at a quick pace while maintaining a smile.
But ultimately the one factor that makes or breaks a morning show in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex is personality. The ABC affiliate in Dallas, WFAA, has put its faith in Cynthia Izaguirre. “Daybreak” is the only English-language morning program in DFW with a Hispanic at the helm.
Izaguirre’s professionalism and easy-going nature has been received well across the metroplex. She debuted strong on her two-hour, weekday morning show back in early 2008. There was a small controversy, though, over the pronunciation of her name. When Izaguirre introduced herself on morning television and did so using the correct rolling of the “R’s” in her Spanish surname, some North Texas conservative viewers complained that she was throwing her “ethnicity” in their faces.
Local media columnists wrote about the incident. It certainly sparked water-cooler conversations: “Should Hispanics ‘anglosize’ their names to accommodate English speakers in order to get further ahead?” or “Is ‘anglosizing’ your surname leaving your culture behind?”
Fast forward two years, Cynthia is still rolling her R’s, Daybreak still maintains a competitive slot in the morning ratings battle, and WFAA still has her sitting front and center delivering a profitable part of its news department. While many might think that early morning television is not as lucrative as the evening news, more Americans start their day early, resulting in a larger audience needing the day’s news and weather outlook before they step outside.
Because morning viewers are busy getting ready and eating breakfast, they are less likely to switch channels during commercials. So the pressure is on Izaguirre to deliver, and she’s ready for the challenge. With numerous awards from the Associated Press and the New Mexico Broadcasters Association for excellence in broadcasting, her decade-long career in TV journalism gives Izaguirre the experience and trust factor to be the first face most people see in the morning.
Before coming to Dallas, she spent eight years in Albuquerque working for the ABC affiliate. She has also worked at news stations in Abilene and Tyler. Izaguirre’s portfolio includes interviews with politicians like President Bill Clinton and Hollywood stars such as George Lopez. But her specialty is stories that focus on the local community, especially those that empower and uplift. “My favorite types of news stories are my ‘Our Neighbor’ reports,” she said. “We go to communities all across North Texas and highlight incredible North Texans who are doing incredible things to help their communities. These people inspire me to be a better person!”
Izaguirre is glad to be back in Dallas. She grew up here, attending Longfellow Academy and Thomas Jefferson High School. This daughter of Ecuadorian immigrants went on to earn a degree at the University of North Texas. Izaguirre’s second generation success is a testament to the promise of new Americans and their children. Hopefully her story will inspire other Latinos to achieve their American Dreams.
InfórmateDFW: Why did you choose journalism as a career?
CI: I have always loved to write and I’m quite nosy, so it only seemed natural to become a reporter.
Infórmate DFW: Where did you get your education and what was the best thing about going to college?
CI: I got my Bachelor of Science in broadcast Journalism with a double minor in Political Science and Spanish from the University of North Texas. Go mean green! The most satisfying thing about going to college was being the first in my family to obtain a college degree and setting an example for others that no matter what your situation is – if you have the will to go to college, no one can stop you.
InfórmateDFW: What is the best thing about the DFW metroplex?
CI: The best thing about the Dallas metroplex is the people. of course. North Texans are the friendliest people in the world!
InfórmateDFW: What is one issue that the DFW area needs to improve on?
CI: I think as an entire community we need to do a much better job about spaying and neutering our animals. It kills me to report on the overcrowded shelters that have to euthanize animals for a lack of space and neglect. I believe it is our duty as decent human beings to collectively do our part to save these poor animals who don’t have a voice for themselves. And a big KUDOS to all of you who rescue animals and give them loving homes.
InfórmateDFW: Tell us about your family. What do they think about your career?
CI: My mother, two sisters, nephew and a bunch of cousins and childhood friends all live in Dallas, so I am grateful. They love and support me by telling all their co-workers and friends to watch News 8 Daybreak 5-7 a.m. Monday-Friday!
InfórmateDFW: What’s your advice to future journalists?
CI: My three tips for aspiring journalists: Write, write and write. You’ll do it the rest of your life in this career. If you don’t like to write, then you’re in trouble.
InfórmateDFW: If you had to choose another career path, what would it be?
CI: If I had to choose another career, I would probably be a professor of journalism. It’s always been my plan once the TV lights fade.
InfórmateDFW: What advice do you have for young Latinas in high school?
CI: My advice for Latinas: Always remember we are proud Americans with a rich Hispanic heritage. The greatest gift my mother gave me was teaching me how to speak, read and write in her native language: Spanish. What an advantage it is two speak two languages fluently. Never forget to celebrate our rich Latino culture and most importantly to honor our U.S. veterans who gave their lives so that we can be free… and to pray for our troops overseas preserving that freedom today.
InfórmateDFW: What is your favorite “dicho?”
CI: My favorite “dicho” comes from Mother Teresa — “Greet everyone you meet with a smile, because it’s the beginning of love.”