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Laredo Morning Times' Stephanie Ibarra Visits TAMIU

By Joana Santillana
On February 15, 2012

  • Stephanie Ibarra in her office at Killeen Daily Herald in October 2011. Courtesy photo from
  • Stephanie Ibarra's Internship at KGNS in November 2009. L-R. Benny Vargas, Noriada Negron, Joey Horta and Stephanie Ibarra.

On Thursday February 2, 2012, Texas A&M International University welcomed back Alumna Stephanie Ibarra. Ibarra graduated from TAMIU in the summer of 2010 and is currently a Court Reporter for the Laredo Morning Times (LMT). While at TAMIU, Ibarra visited the Advanced Journalism class to share her story of success and her experiences in different places where she has worked.

Ibarra talked about her first taste of what is now her passion: writing. Her love for writing began since her teen years. Ibarra attended United High School and that was when she first began to fall in love with journalism after being a part of the school newspaper. After she graduated from high school, Ibarra attended TAMIU and was the Editor-in-Chief of TAMIU's very own The Bridge student newspaper. When she got her degree, she began working part-time at the Laredo Morning Times for eight months as a general assignments reporter. However, Ibarra was looking for a full-time position at that time and left to Killeen, Texas, where she was offered a position as online editor. Being an online editor was not the hands-on, exciting experience that being a reporter was. Therefore, Ibarra came back to Laredo as soon as a full-time position opened up at Laredo Morning Times.

Ibarra's transition back from Killeen, a military town, to the border in Laredo, allowed her to perceive the biggest differences of what it's like being a reporter in a border town from being a reporter elsewhere. The unique culture and customs change the journalistic viewpoints. She believes one main difference is that in Laredo being bilingual can be very helpful when communicating with sources, stating: "I would recommend knowing Spanish, definitely." Although she states that some reporters who do not speak Spanish may be at a slight disadvantage, she also confides that here in the border it is easier to get closer to sources and have them open up, as opposed to in other places where the culture is less welcoming or more skeptical of reporters.

Ibarra goes on to say that she loves her job because "it's a career that is changing every single day. It's constantly evolving." Furthermore, Ibarra stated that a lot of people who start off with journalism "later go on to other careers...because it's a great way to network with so many different people" and describes it as "the perfect career to set a platform for getting to know [and] being able to talk to people." Nonetheless, Ibarra states that it is a demanding job. Her advice for anyone who is considering pursuing a career in journalism is to make as many connections as possible.

Ibarra serves as an example and a mentor to the new generation of reporters. She has overcome many obstacles, especially as a young female reporter that has to go out and make an added effort to prove that she is good enough, not only to her readers, but also anyone who might doubt her ability or her experience.

For more information, contact Ms. Ibarra at, call (956) 728-2547, or pick up a copy of Laredo Morning Times and read her work.

(Joana Santillana may be reached at


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