After the Island: Laurie Perez ’89

Courtesy+of+Laurie+Perez

Courtesy of Laurie Perez

Laurie Perez ’89 is a reporter and news anchor who has worked at CBS and FOX stations in Washington State, South Carolina, Connecticut, and California. Perez started out covering general news and court and crime, eventually moving into political reporting, anchoring an evening newscast, and hosting a weekly Sunday morning political roundtable. She currently reports for CBS 2 in Los Angeles. Perez graduated from Tufts University and earned her Master’s degree in Journalism at Northwestern University.

  1. What impact did your time at Loomis have on your career/career aspirations?

Loomis Chaffee teachers taught me how to learn – not for a grade or to fulfill a requirement but because learning as much as you can, about as many different things as you can, can make your life more complete. As a journalist, it also makes it easier to do my job. When because I read a book or attended a lecture I know the history of a region, or the cultural significance of a situation, it adds layers to my stories and makes them better.

Even more directly, when I was the Editorial Editor for The Log, I remember writing an article about the merits of the Work Job program. As you might imagine, my friends rolled their eyes at that one. It was my first time getting negative feedback about something I wrote, in a very public way. I don’t write opinion pieces anymore but in this age of instant and constant criticism on social media, that experience prepared me to stand by what I say and write.

  1. What would you say to Loomis students who are looking towards a career in journalism/broadcast?

Stay on your toes! My career has now turned into reporting on t-v and Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat and live-streaming on Facebook…whew. Technology is changing the way people get their news and you have to adapt where and how you present your stories. Someone who turns to Twitter for updates is not going to watch a two-minute video – but they will check out a 20-second summary and then, if they’re intrigued, might tune into the 6PM news.

  1. What are some key components that being an anchor entails, and how does the job compare to other forms of journalism?

As a news anchor you’re presenting the stories all the reporters have put together for that day — serious stories, complicated stories, funny stories, sports features. It’s your job to introduce them in a way that helps viewers understand what they’re about to see. Compared to reporting where you dig for information, perform interviews, and write the scripts, anchoring is taking the final product and selling it.

  1. You covered both the Sandy Hook shooting and the San Bernardino attacks. How has that coverage shaped your views on the gun debate, if it has at all, and what was that experience like?

As a journalist you keep your personal views out of the way you cover issues – but when you go home at night you can’t help but be affected by events like the Sandy Hook and San Bernardino shootings. It’s been heartbreaking and scary. After years now of interviewing Second Amendment scholars, police officers, victims, people who have guns, and people who hate them, it’s clear the debate over reform remains wrapped in personal and political complications. I’ve been writing gun debate stories since Columbine in 1999 and wouldn’t be surprised to still be covering it 15 years from now.