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From Broadside to USA TODAY:
Alumnus Climbs the Journalism Ladder

By Tami Dimock

Cesar Soriano, B.A. Speech Communication '94, has come a long way in the editorial field since his days as a fledgling reporter for Broadside, Mason's student newspaper. Just as he moved up the ranks to become Broadside's managing editor, so too is he making a name for himself in the competitive world of professional journalism.

Following a two-year stint as an editorial assistant and feature writer at the Washington Times, where he had interned as a George Mason senior, Soriano went to work for USA WEEKEND as a researcher/ reporter. With a weekly circulation of 21.3 million people through 536 newspapers, the magazine is the nation's third largest (behind only TV Guide and Parade), and a great place for an aspiring wordsmith to gain valuable experience.

At USA WEEKEND, Soriano's responsibilities included background research and reporting for contributing editors such as Cokie Roberts and CNN's Roger Cossack, fact-checking cover stories for accuracy, and reporting on a variety of topics as a general assignment reporter. "I covered everything from education and pop culture to controversial topics like abortion and the death penalty," he says.

Soriano stayed at USA WEEKEND until September 1998, when he made a move to the magazine's sister publication, USA TODAY. As a reporter/resear-cher for USA TODAY's Life Desk, he stays busy covering the vast and varied field of entertainment. He also writes the Monday and Tuesday editions of the "Lifeline" column, which appears on the front page of the newspaper's Life section. According to Soriano and the column's subhead, it's "a quick read on what people are talking about," featuring brief bits of information on such topics as new movies and music, celebrity gossip, health, and "news of the weird."

Journalism is in Soriano's blood--literally. "My father, who immigrated from Mexico before I was born, was a newspaper reporter in Mexico and Texas," he says. "He and I would sit down and read the paper every Sunday morning when I was a kid. I can't remember ever wanting to do anything else."

Working for Broadside prepared Soriano for his career "more than anything you could learn in a book or a classroom," he says. He also credits Michael Brennan, Broadside's faculty advisor at the time, who "was always there with an encouraging word--even as he ripped apart my stories with his red markers when he critiqued the paper every Monday morning."

Already a two-time winner of feature reporting awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Soriano is happy with the progression of his career so far, but admits that he occasionally fantasizes about his future in the business. "I guess I'm no different than any other journalist in the world who has seen All the President's Men one too many times: my dream is to work for the Washington Post as a war correspondent." The way things are going, his dream may soon be reality.

In addition to Soriano, former Broadside alumni working at USA TODAY include Matt Young, B.A. Speech Communication '94, sports agate editor; Tammi Wark, B.A. English '92, reporter, Graphics Department; and Ron Sanchez, B.A. English '91, sports online content producer for USA TODAY Online.

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