Getting the Story

by | Jan 9, 2023 | Alumni Achievers, Culture, Fall/Winter 2022-23

Andrea Flores ’10 went from accepting a job in TV news without knowing what it would entail to performing nearly every role in the newsroom. Last December, she began a new position as an evening anchor at KCRA in Sacramento, an NBC affiliate with broadcasts that reach UC Davis and other parts of the region.

Though she originally planned to go into theater or become a doctor, she said she fell in love with her communication classes at UC Davis. After graduation, she sent her resume to a director at KCBS in Los Angeles. 

“They said, ‘How would you like to be a PA?’” she recalled. “I said, ‘I don’t know what that is, but I’ll do it.’” 

The job, a production assistant, involved things like making copies of scripts and helping to direct guests. She was considering a career in talent booking until a friend suggested she could “be the talent” instead of booking it. Two weeks later, she was packing for a job in Amarillo, Texas, the 131st-biggest TV market in the country.

In the ensuing 12 years, Flores has worked in Lincoln, Nebraska; Omaha, Nebraska; and Denver.

She grew up in San Bernadino, but said she was happy to come back to the Sacramento region, where she has family and an alma mater.

“It’s kind of like a homecoming,” she said. “It’s like coming back to an old friend.”

Davis was one of her first stops upon returning, driving past her old apartment and attending the Whole Earth Festival on her wedding anniversary with her husband, whom she met three months into her job in Amarillo.

All of that travel and the nonstop schedule of TV news has been hard — she said she’s missed holiday celebrations, funerals and weddings — but she said she is still happy with her career decision.

“I definitely see this job as a calling,” Flores said.

“I would have been out of news a long time ago if I didn’t love it.”

She said she’s glued to coverage of breaking news even on her days off, and said her life would be boring if she weren’t a journalist.

The type of news she covers — like the 2021 mass shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado — also weighs on her, she said.

“I’m grateful [to have] a lot of support from my parents especially,” she said. “Even to this day, my parents watch every newscast and are really supportive.”

She said her husband is also very supportive and understanding of her long hours and rigid schedule.

Despite the challenges, she said she plans to stay in journalism for the foreseeable future.

“I didn’t come this far just to come this far,” she said.

Big steps

One of the first stories she tackled when she came to KCRA was also a first for her: international coverage. She traveled with a team to the U.S.-Mexico border to interview Central American migrants, border patrol agents, Ukrainian refugees and more, producing a half-hour documentary with extended and Spanish-language versions.

“This is the first station where I’ve traveled for work,” she said. “It was my first taste of being a foreign correspondent.”

The story may have opened up a new door to her future: She said she would love to work as a full-time foreign correspondent or documentarian someday.

A day in the life

Flores currently works the “night side” shift at KCRA, anchoring the 10 p.m. show and contributing live reports for some of the five other evening newscasts.

For that, she arrives at 2:30 and gets up to speed with an editorial meeting at 3. She pitches stories — at a recent meeting, she suggested a new angle on stories covering the impact of inflation: how pet food banks that provide free pet food to those who can’t afford it are handling the current economic situation. Flores writes and records a voiceover to accompany video taken by one of the station’s videographers after logging footage they have captured (at some of the smaller stations, Flores had to shoot video herself). The story can air the same day or a few days later, as the pet food story did. She reviews and revises scripts for the evening newscasts, and ensures she understands tricky pronunciations before going on the air.

She is responsible for her own wardrobe, hair and makeup, and keeps a collection of casual shoes under her desk — the camera operators often have to carefully frame shots so they don’t reveal the unintended combination of brightly colored dresses with Converse sneakers.

Her day usually ends at 11:30.

Getting reacquainted

Flores hasn’t wasted any time getting involved with the UC Davis community again, serving as a judge for the UC Davis Grad Slam competition in April.

“Davis is such a part of this community — it’s engrained in the region,” she said. “I get to talk about Davis in the news all the time.”