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Anchor on CNN en Español: My Gig

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Glenda Umaña is an anchor for CNN en Español. She anchors several newscasts Monday through Friday, handling live coverage of everything from the war in Iraq to the recent election of Pope Benedict XVI. Umaña, who has a degree in journalism from the University of Costa Rica and is fluent in English and Spanish, works out of CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta. Her newscasts are seen all over Latin America, as well as in the United States via cable and satellite.

CW: What is a typical day like?

Umaña: The first thing I do after a little prayer as soon as I wake up is try to work out in our little home gym while I am watching the news. Then, while still at home, I stop briefly at the computer to check the news and emails.

I started having breakfast every day recently, something I was not doing on a regular basis, and I already have seen positive results.

I get ready and travel twenty-eight miles south to downtown Atlanta.

In the car, I sometimes speak with my producer and have CNN en Español and CNN on the radio, so all the way I am catching up on what’s going on.

As soon as I get to the building, I get together with the producers and we discuss topics and headlines.

Next, transformation time. I go into the make up room, which is the best part of the day since I have a chance to relax while the others work “the miracle.”

My first show is at 11 a.m. Sometimes the whole script we have ready changes in seconds when breaking news comes up.

Through the earpiece and the computer on the set, I am in constant communication with the line producer, the director, and supervisor while I tell the twenty-three million people on the other side of the screen what is going on.

CW: How did you get where you are?

Umaña: It was my dream. I felt very strong in my heart the wish to join an international network.

I started my career in Costa Rica, and from there I started trying to contact stations in the United States. Was it easy? Not at all.

First, I prayed for wisdom to follow the correct steps. I had a lot of patience and persistence, and most importantly, my husband, who was always supporting and encouraging me.

I found out information about possible openings. The problem was I didn’t have a work visa. Finally I got good advice from an American producer who came to Costa Rica: make a bunch of demo tapes, send them everywhere, make a lot of calls, and even trips to some stations.

One day in September of 1996, I received a letter from CNN. They got my tape, saw it and liked it!

Then I came for an interview and an audition.

I started on March 1997, eleven years ago.

CW: What do you like most about your job?

Umaña: I love being a journalist. The best thing is learning all the time in different situations and especially through interviewing all kinds of people.

This is, at the same time, a big responsibility that I take seriously.

CW: What do you not like?

Umaña: The schedules. In this type of job, holidays don’t exist. I worked the weekends for six years. It’s a sacrifice but worth it.

CW: How much money do you make?

 Umaña: Because of our contracts, we are not allowed to discuss how much money we make. I can tell you it has been enough to pay for our children’s college. They are graduating this year. I can’t be more proud. Family is the best thing in life.

Photo courtesy of CNN

My Gig is a series of stories about different careers. Trying to figure out what to do when you grow up? My Gig, which provides a quick glimpse into a person’s work life, may inspire you!


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