Home Featured Simone Aponte: Varied Experience Becomes a Superpower in the Newsroom

Simone Aponte: Varied Experience Becomes a Superpower in the Newsroom

by Art U News

By Rachel Reyna

The dreams of young children and what they wish to be when they’re older can change day to day, but not for Simone Aponte. 

“I knew that I wanted to be a journalist since I was 11, which is sort of unusual,” said Aponte, a 2012 M.A. graduate from Academy of Art University’s School of Communications & Media Technologies (COM).

Since Aponte was young, she has had a curious mind and has always been interested in the everyday lives of those around her. 

“I just knew that something that I was always interested in was storytelling, and I loved to talk to people and hear people’s stories,” said Aponte. “There is something just fascinating about everyone’s experience. I think if you’re a person that is really interested or curious about what is happening in your world, not just the big issues but the small experiences of every day, I think that really makes the best journalist.” 

Aponte’s attention to detail and interest in the lives of those around her led her to what she dreamed of: a career in broadcast journalism. Aponte worked in San Diego at KFMB News 8 as a producer before joining KTVU FOX 2, a Bay Area news network, in 2014. She was hired as an investigative executive producer and, over the years, worked her way up to positions such as managing editor and assistant news director. After working with the news channel for 10 years, Aponte was recently promoted to vice president and news director.

KTVU 2 Vice President and News Director Simone Aponte. Photo courtesy of Simone Aponte.

“Being in any kind of leadership [role] like this is a big responsibility. We have a responsibility to serve the community with information not just during times of emergency and not just when there is breaking news happening but also to provide voices to people in our community year-round. We’re on the air for 12 and half hours a day,” said Aponte. “We strive to bring important information to people from every single corner of the Bay Area and to reflect the people of the Bay Area with their personal stories, not just important public safety information but really to reflect and respond and participate as community members with our audience in our region.”

Aponte shared that the Academy prepared her for the rapidly evolving journalism industry, where news and information are being spread through social media, mobile devices, and streaming platforms.

“We’re in an interesting time in my industry, in television, which is a legacy industry because it is moving into a digital space. Academy of Art University is really a place I saw looking forward and really looking to the future and understanding the foundation of journalism, whether it’s broadcast or print or whatever format, but really looking forward and saying, ‘This is where our industry is going, and these are the kinds of skills that we need,’ and I really wanted to be a part of that.”

COM Director Steve Kotton spoke of Aponte’s achievements while at the Academy—highlighting her keen storytelling abilities—a necessary skill that would contribute to her professional success. 

“She was a great storyteller; her work was creative, especially in the writing,” said Kotton. “She was recognized several times by having her work presented in the Spring Show. She had a unique point of view that was humorous and intelligent.”

As the KTVU vice president and news director, Aponte oversees and sets the tone and agenda for the channel’s coverage. She strives to inform viewers but also emphasizes the importance of listening to the community and knowing what matters to them.

“Part of my job is determining what is news, what is our message, who are we, and who are we representing, and who are we putting on television and giving a platform to,” said Aponte. “What voices are we amplifying, and what issues do we determine are the most important for our community to engage with and be informed on.”

Aponte explained that the Academy allowed her to be a well-rounded journalist by not only strengthening her storytelling but also other necessities in the world of broadcast journalism, such as learning audio and image editing as well as various Adobe software. These tools in her skillset have served Aponte in her post-academic career and are what she refers to as a superpower.

“I feel like in the newsroom, I have a superpower, which is having experience with so many pieces of what we do, of so many jobs in the newsroom,” said Aponte. “I’ve done graphics, I can edit videos, I know how to shoot, I know how to write, I know how to produce. I really feel like the Academy of Art gave me a superpower in that way: that I have the ability to do all of these different jobs and really have a more holistic understanding of my industry and what we’re doing. And that’s kind of rare—a lot of people get into a niche, and then they [stick to it]. That’s something I’m really grateful for, to have that breadth of experience from the university.”

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