Media Monday: Enrique Cerna, KCTS

Rosalind Brazel / November 12, 2012

Each Monday, we’re giving readers a chance to get to know the media a little better.

With a little flair.

Our goal is to give readers some insight into the work and work style of area journalists, and get to know a little bit about the person behind the byline. Start your week off with an online networking opportunity through our Media Monday blog post.

This Week: Enrique Cerna, KCTS Television

Enrique Cerna has worked in the Seattle broadcast market for more than 37 years.  He began his broadcast career as a news reporter/anchor for KOMO Radio in 1975. Prior to joining KCTS, he worked for KOMO Television as a general assignment news reporter and for KING Television as a producer, reporter and program host.

For 13 seasons, he was the executive producer and host for the award winning weekly current affairs program KCTS 9 Connects.

Enrique has earned five Northwest region Emmy awards. The Seattle Weekly honored him with a 2003 Editors’ Choice selection as Best TV Host. In 2006, Seattle Magazine named Cerna one of the most influential people of the year for his broadcast work. And in 2008, the Zeta Pi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate fraternity established by African Americans, awarded Cerna its Community Service Award for coverage of communities of color. In addition, the Minority Executive Directors Coalition honored him with its 2011 President’s Award

Enrique has produced stories for several national PBS programs including the PBS Newshour.

Enrique grew up in the central Washington community of Wapato.  He is a graduate of Washington State University, where he earned a B.A. in Communications.  He lives in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood and has two children.

Q: What’s your favorite story you’ve done in the last week?

A: My interview with Bryan Johnson of KOMO Television. He just retired after 53 years.

Q: What skills do new journalists need?

A: It’s always changing, but the main thing is to be curious and to not just take the words of public officials. You need to be willing to dig. You need to be willing to question. You need to accept the constant changes with technology especially social media. And if you don’t love to cover stories or meet people, get out of the business. One other thing: when you tell your stories make sure you go to the people. They will help you tell good stories. Talk to them! Oh, and listen!

Q: If you weren’t working at your current job, what would you be doing?

A: That’s a tough question. I really don’t know, which is kind of scary. But this is what I always wanted to do. I am fortunate to be doing what I love.

Q: Finish this sentence: “A good PR person is …”

A: “…honest, willing to help, not a barrier and not a jerk.

Q: What hidden talent or skill do you have that viewers/readers don’t know about you?

A: I do a  good Vito Corleone impression. My kids, who are in their 20’s, like my Elmer Fudd as well. Plus, I can sing a pretty damn good La Bamba. It’s my karaoke special!

The PR Pro Takeaway: Enrique is seasoned professional with deep community ties, so stories pitched to him should be local, have depth and have a human connection.