In three years, Mateo Gamboa ’11 advances from part-time intern to KCEN-TV’s executive news producer


Mateo Gamboa ’11 speaks with evening news anchors Nikki Laurenzo and Doug Currin before going on the air.
Mateo Gamboa ’11 speaks with evening news anchors Nikki Laurenzo and Doug Currin before going on the air.

When Mateo Gamboa ’11 started a summer internship during college, he had no idea where it would lead. The position, working once a week on the website at KCEN-TV, was meant to give him experience with online journalistic writing to fulfill a graduation requirement. But Gamboa cleverly turned his internship into an empire.

Three years later Gamboa, now in his early 20s, has advanced from a part-time intern to the network’s executive news producer, in charge of overseeing the morning and weekend shows, as well as the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. news broadcasts.

“Whenever you’re that young and in a leadership position, there’s a higher level of expectation,” he said. “People expect great things from you because you’re this young kid doing a hard job. I try to let my work speak for itself.”

Climbing up the corporate ladder so quickly took dedication and sacrifice. At the beginning of Gamboa’s senior year at UMHB, he applied for an open producer position at the station. He got the job, which required him to work overnight and then go to school during the day.

“Perseverance is the key to being where you want to be,” Gamboa said. “That is one of my strongest character traits: I don’t give up on things. The real test comes when you’re ready to give up. I got here by perseverance. I never thought I would be executive producer at 23 years old, but it’s only because I was willing to sacrifice.”

The work of a producer is not easy. The pressure of delivering the news to thousands of people on a daily basis can be overwhelming at times.

“This industry is not for everyone. From the minute I walk in the door, I’m going 100 miles an hour. I’m planning things with our production team on how I want our shows to look for the day. I constantly have to hit deadlines and make sure everyone else is hitting their deadlines too. It’s a very intense schedule. But you have to always remember that everything is going to pan out at the end of the day.”

Gamboa describes the KCEN newsroom as family. And although, like in any family, there is an occasional bumping of heads, in the end everyone comes together to deliver the best product to their viewers.

With hard work and perseverance instilled in him, Gamboa hopes to one day become a news director at one of the dominant news networks. But for now, he plans to continue gaining valuable experience while never using his age as a crutch.

“For people to take you seriously in this industry, more than anything else, it’s your work that sets you apart. And if you can constantly show that you can outwork everybody in the newsroom, you command respect instead of demanding it. My team works hard because I work hard.”

-Nicole Johnson ’13