Q & A with Professor Roberto Soto

One of the Communication department’s newest staff, Professor Roberto Soto, certainly has a good deal of experience to his name. His work with CBS, Univision, and NBC make for great resume fodder—but we sat down with the professor to learn more about his position at Trine.

Q: What, exactly, is your title here at Trine?

A: I’m what’s known as a “full-time adjunct” instructor. Basically, I teach a full-time load while being paid an hourly rate instead of a salary.

Q: What were you doing just before coming to Angola?

A: I was most recently at Lander University, Long Island University, and Touro University—all in New York City—and I was a full-time adjunct at those universities, too.

Q: After work with companies like CBS and NBC, what on Earth pushed you here?

A: Simply, it was time to get out of Dodge. The congestion, crime rate, and quality of life in a place like New York—it’s unique, and it’s great, but I’ve spent 20 years there and it was time for a change of pace. The biggest part of that was probably the crime rate. Get this—my son’s high school had a metal detector at the entrance. It just wasn’t a safe environment, and I felt like a change was welcome.

Q: What should your prospective students know about your classes and teaching methods?

A: Academically, it is my resolve to slowly get students to understand that achievement is your responsibility and mine. I’m not going to leave you out in the cold, but I’m not going to hold your hand and give you all the answers, either. If I tell you to read chapters five and six, I’m not going to show up next class period and tell you what was in chapters five and six. I’ll expect you to have read it yourself, and if you need help understanding it, that’s where I come in. Basically, check your facts and study the work; you’ll do well.

Q: What advice would you give Communication students on obtaining a job after graduation?

A: I’d like to quote a late friend of mine, Don Hewitt [creator of 60 Minutes]: “Learn how to tell a compelling story.” Nothing captures a reader or viewer’s attention like an interesting story. Writing is obviously a good skill to have, but today’s professional communicator needs to know how to research a topic thoroughly enough to shoot, produce, and edit video about it as well. Also, the more languages in which you can tell a story, the better. I’ve landed more than one job just because I speak fluent Spanish as well as English. Perhaps more personally, don’t believe everything you hear. If your grandma tells you, “I love you,” check it against a reliable source. That’s a joke, of course, but it’s just to illustrate the fact that everything you hear or read is mediated and altered somewhere along the way from their mouth or pen to your eyes and ears.

Professor Soto keeps office hours in Ford 103 by appointment. He created and maintains his own news-oriented website, City Island Images, which can be found at www.cimages.me. You can also follow him on Twitter at @cimages.

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