Former CLC Student Diana Panuncial Shares Her Experiences Being A Full-Time Journalist

Alex Kisiel

Award-winning full-time journalist and former CLC student Diana Panuncial spoke last Tuesday about the often overlooked difficulties of being a reporter.

During a CLC Newswriting class, Panuncial detailed writing a story under strict deadlines.

“It usually takes me about 2 to 3 hours for a story,” she said. “The story is the most important part, but you also have photos to edit, [and] you have to splice and edit the video. It’s a little bit difficult working under pressure but it’s a really good time.”

Panuncial was introduced to journalism at CLC in 2017 when she worked as a reporter for the CLC Chronicle, eventually working her way up to the position of editor-in-chief.

After graduating from the University of Missouri with a journalism degree, Panuncial took on a full-time career as a business reporter for the Racine Journal Times.

There she experienced firsthand many hardships of being a journalist and gained skills that one cannot otherwise learn from a classroom. Panuncial recalled an experience of interviewing a person whose father was recently shot and killed at a Sikh Temple.

“I let him share his story,” she said. “There are certain sensitive things that you just have to feel out as a reporter, and you want to be considerate.”

Panuncial also discussed the difficulties of interviewing people who may be dishonest or have bad intent coming into the conversation.

“I never want to write anything to harm people, but you get people who all of a sudden want to take back the fact that they’re talking to you.”

During one instance, she described being intimidated by a business owner after a contentious interview, threatening that a lawsuit would ensue if Panuncial allowed the article to be published.

“When I got that call that she was threatening to sue me, I was in my car crying,” Panuncial said. “She was just trying to scare me.”

Her advice to future journalists: “You’re going to have a first time for everything. Have a super thick skin.”

Aside from interacting with different people, journalists—especially political reporters—have recently experienced more scrutiny related to their possible biases. Panuncial said that it is almost impossible to satisfy all viewers along the political spectrum.

“You can do everything you can in your power, but no matter what … people are gonna see the story the way they want to see it.”

Panuncial said that college was her time to truly determine whether or not she had what it took to become a journalist.

“The opportunities that I got at CLC … really helped me think about what it would be like to do writing as a career.”