CQS 25th Anniversary Tribute: Leezel Tanglao

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Leezel Tanglao (Summer 2003)
Assistant Managing Editor, Programming
CNNMoney

The summer of 2003 was a game-changer. I embarked on the first in a series of risks.

I was joining the Chips Quinn Scholars program and spending the summer at The Salt Lake Tribune. It was the first time I would live outside of California and the first time I would get a byline in a big publication.

Until then, my only clips were from my college newspaper, the Loyolan. And coming from a smaller school like Loyola Marymount University that did not have a formal journalism program was a challenge, since I was up against others who were trained at journalism schools like Columbia, the University of Southern California and Northwestern.

But someone was willing to take a risk on me, and that someone came through the form of the Chips Quinn program.

In Salt Lake City, I learned how to cover a beat like features and navigate in a big newsroom in an unfamiliar town.

With each move I made — from features to hard news through internships in California at The Press-Enterprise in Riverside and the Daily Breeze in Torrance – I took more risks. I was hooked on challenging myself with the unknown.

Through my willingness to accept challenges I secured my first job at the Press-Enterprise as a metro reporter.

When the paper started to dabble in video, I took the initiative to become a “mojo,” or mobile journalist, working out of Starbucks and chasing and filing stories from the field.

When the newspaper industry retrenched again in 2008, I made the jump to digital and television as an online producer at KCBS/KCAL, the CBS station in Los Angeles.

My experience there laid the groundwork for what would become the biggest career move of all – working at ABCNews.com in New York.

Risk is two-sided: You don’t always get what you want, but you won’t know that until you roll the dice.

So I did.

My job at ABCNews.com, which I started in August 2010, was the first of many I had in New York. I went on to work at the startup NowThis and at Vice News, CBSNews.com and CNNMoney, where I’m currently the assistant managing editor of programming. I lead a team of more than a dozen multiplatform editors from Hong Kong to London, Los Angeles to New York.

Now, six years after moving to the Big Apple, the roles are reversed. I’m the one taking a chance on journalists at all levels – who have tremendous potential to add value to my team’s mission – and putting the right content in front of the right audiences.

I’ve come full circle.

It’s all thanks to the program that saw something in me and decided the risk was worth taking. Thank you, Chips Quinn Scholars program, for believing in me.

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