LA Times reporter inspires Journalism 1 students during classroom visit

Briana Lopez and Lauren Mills

Born during wartime in El Salvador, Esmeralda Bermudez was forced to navigate her way through a new country. Eventually, she found a path to the front page of the Los Angeles Times.

“How did I become a journalist?” 39-year-old Bermudez said. “Blindly and with my eyes closed.”

On March 1, the Los Angeles Times reporter  visited Daniel Pearl Magnet High School to speak to students in a Journalism 1 class. Using her experiences of working as a journalist for 16 years, she shared with the students stories about her journey and struggles of becoming a journalist. By the end of her presentation, she encouraged students to follow their dreams and stay optimistic.

“I’ve always been a bridge between two cultures,” said Bermudez, who writes stories about Latinos.

Born in El Salvador during a civil war in 1980, Bermudez met her mother for the first time at the age of five in America. Growing up in between two cultures, she often had to translate for her parents. She was the first in her family to graduate college and the first female to graduate high school. Although she went through many obstacles in her journey, she took every possible opportunity.

“Everything revolves around your heart and emotion,” Bermudez said

From a young age, she knew she wanted to be a journalist. When she sat in the backseat of her parents’ car, she hoped for traffic along the 10 freeway so she could see the Los Angeles Times printing building. Once Bermudez was older, she applied to University of Southern California and was accepted. Once there, she started looking for jobs in journalism.

“My job is to create stories that are real,” Bermudez said with a smile. 

Her hard work paid off, and eventually, with a brief detour in Oregon, she rightfully earned her spot on the front page of the Los Angeles Times.

“Take what you can. Whatever gets you a foot in the door, do it,” Bermudez said.