We had the good fortune of connecting with Ella Gonzales and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ella, why did you pursue a creative career?
I never thought I would end up as a journalist, let alone a writer, but I knew I always wanted to be in an industry where I could connect with people. Growing up, I was always a good writer– my dad has been telling me since I was in fifth grade, I just didn’t care to listen. But in high school was when I realized I wanted to have a public voice so when choosing majors, I went with journalism.

I attended Texas Christian University in the Bob Schieffer College of Communication. I was never interested in being in front of the camera, in fact I did not like my major at first because I hated being filmed. I only had two and a half years to figure out my darn career path since I was graduating college in five semesters due to high school dual credits.

Sophomore year rolled around and I got the opportunity to report on Ukrainian Refugees in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The Russian invasion on Ukraine had just began, so this topic was extremely relevant. It felt like the first thing I got to cover that mattered. This experience really solidified wanting to be a reporter for me. I had the opportunity to give others a voice through my writing which made me realize what I am going to do is important. It wasn’t about me having a public voice anymore, I realized what satisfied me was listening to and sharing other’s voices through my written word.

Now, two years later, this summer I will be going to Poland to continue my research on Ukrainian refugees with the Pulitzer Center. It’s a very full circle moment for me, as it has only assured why I chose my creative career route of journalism.

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Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
While I am still very new to my career, being a December 2023 graduate, I am still finding my voice. Graduation was not the easiest feat for me. It wasn’t about grades, it was about time. My last semester I took seven classes, had a job, and an internship. I barely made it out in five semester, it was an emotional mess.

Since I barely graduated, I had no idea where I was going next. I graduated with no jobs lined up, which is perfectly fine for people who do not have rent to pay. I had interview, and they ghosted me. I applied to at least twenty jobs and couldn’t even get an interview for one. I thought for sure I just did not have enough on my portfolio because I only had two and a half years.

I thought, why not just work somewhere temporary while I wait for a journalism job?

Luckily, right when I was ready to go to therapy, I got a call. “Hi this is the Fort Worth Star Telegram, could you come in for an interview?”

YES! I screamed.

One thing lead to another which allowed me to begin my first and current position as service journalist for the Star Telegram. This position has lead me to many opportunities. I now am heading my own column titled, “Fort Worth on a budget” where I try restaurants around the city and get as much as possible for under $20.

I know this column will allow me to further explore my voice as a journalist, especially since I will be writing in first person. I look forward to furthering my connection with the Fort Worth community and expand my brand as a columnist.

Luckily, in journalism, there is more than just your full time job as an opportunity, Right before I graduated I applied for a 2024 Pulitzer Center Fellowship. Surely, the Pulitzer Center wouldn’t choose me right? Well, for some darn reason they did! In July, I will be flying transatlantic to Poland to continue reporting on women and children refugees that have fled from Ukraine.

My journey was an uphill mental battle. It is not difficult to apply for jobs and opportunities. What’s difficult is convincing yourself your worthy of doing so. And I still have no idea what I’m doing. Looking back, I wish I just told myself there is no reason to be scared. So what you got a rejection? A door closes for another to open.

Even if you cannot see a light at the end of the tunnel, or you think you have no shot at an opportunity, just try anyways. The worst that can happen is a no, which could eventually turn into a yes.

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Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is awfully fitting because my best friend is coming to town! Here’s how I’m going to whirl her around Dallas/ Fort Worth in a few days:

Start with a stockyards trip. You have to get there at 4 p.m. to watch the cattle drive. Since it’s a little too early for dinner, we’ll stop by Second Rodeo for one of their passion fruit mojito’s on tap. After a few cocktails, we’ll head over to the Drover for dinner. Normally I’d do Joe T’s, but sometimes the two hour line is not worth it (unpopular opinion).

Fort Worth also houses so many nice hotels. I’d get us a day pass for the Omi hotel pool or Camp Bowie House hotel pool. Either one is luxurious, so you cannot go wrong. At night, we will make our way to Arlington to catch a Rangers game. The stadium is clean with may options for a good seat.

My last must-do would have to be bikes or scooters around downtown. Sundance Square offers so many cute boutiques and rooftop dining which is perfect for girls night.

Out of all the restaurants I have tried, my top three would have to be Cane Rosso for any meal, Tokyo Cafe for a good happy hour, and Quince for drinks and outside dining.

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Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I could never credit my success to just one group of people in my life. I feel as though everyone in my life, that being family, friends, roommates, professors, or bosses, has helped me grow in some shape of form. To kick us off, I must mention my mom- Lori, dad- Dan and sister- Kate. The three of them have inspired me my whole life to chase my dreams.

I feel as though from a very young age I was expected to have to all together and thank God for that! Bed made, grades up, no sick days. Both my parents worked, allowing my sister and I to learn naturally how to be independent. As children, my parents were stern but loving, and now they are my best friends.

My sister dedicated her life to the sport of ballet at a very young age. I trailed behind her three years, which is the perfect age gap to learn from your sibling’s mistakes. Thanks Kate! Because of the little sister in me, I always wanted to be as hardworking as her. She never missed a class, competition, show, or fitting. She was the prima ballerina and the main example of work hard to do what you love.

Graydon, my college sweetheart, has held my hand through my toughest points. He has never once doubted me or my ability to pursue what I love. His confidence and positivity has always been inspiring to me, encouraging me to learn from his example.

I also must mention my friends, who feel like family to me. I graduated a year earlier than most my friends which meant I went through a large life transition from student to full time employee alone. I anticipated it being difficult, and I would probably lose people along the way. While it was still challenging, my friends stuck to my side. I want to thank them all for helping me pursue my career and being there for me in my low moments. When family can’t be around, friends of course can!

All in all, I feel extremely lucky to have a supportive community around me. I have rarely felt alone in my professional life and I owe a lot of that to the people I come home to everyday.

Website: https://www.star-telegram.com/profile/285141852

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/e.g.reports/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ella-gonzales-3bba39234/

Other: https://ellagonzalesreports.journoportfolio.com/

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Image Credits
All images without me in them are my photos.

Newspaper: First printed copy of my first ever story on the cover: Pojo the Pig.

The Ampersand photo: Mimi Lu and Toan Luong, Ampersand owners at their newest DFW airport location.
Margie’s: Mimi Howell, new owner of Margie’s Italian Garden, stands in front of the pre-renovated building.
Food Truck: Jenny Castor, chef and owner of Lucky Bee Kitchen, stands in front of her truck at a private lunch event.

The rest are taken by family or friends, no credits needed.

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