Reporter’s career leads to celebrity interviews

Liz Niewiara
Liberty High School
June 27, 2002
Filed under The Workshop

Although Percy Ednalino claims to be shy, he was nice enough to tell aspiring journalism students in the summer workshop at Bakersfield College the story of his career.

Despite his timidity, everyone listened to his interesting life story. Ednalino recently moved back to Bakersfield from Denver, where he had been working at The Denver Post, when he heard that his mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

“One of the reasons I came home to Bakersfield was to be a little closer to my family,” said Ednalino.

He has worked at The Bakersfield Californian for seven months and has been a professional journalist for two and a half years.

But already he has gone from covering sports to entertainment to general assignment to court cases.

When he made his comments in The Renegade Rip newsroom, he spoke fondly of his days in Denver covering entertainment.

Ednalino said that one of the high points of his career was when he got to interview actress Rachael Leigh Cook.

“She’s a tiny little girl, very cute,” he said.

Ednalino said that the interview was enjoyable because it went from being formal to being a casual conversation.

They even talked about Cook’s hatred of poodles and Ednalino’s fear of clowns.

Another memorable moment for him was when he interviewed Snoop Dogg following the Sept. 11 attacks. The singer apparently was upset and wanted to donate all of the funds generated on his next tour to the Red Cross.

“What you see in (music) videos isn’t always what you see in real life,” Ednalino said. “We are always so interested in celebrities’ private lives, but the little things, like them giving to charity, is what gets me,” he said.

He is an adamant fan of the Dallas Cowboys and had the opportunity to interview Deion Sanders.

“He was a nice guy,” Ednalino said. “Maybe certain reporters tick off certain athletes,” he said, and that is why they are not always friendly.

He said that no celebrity has ever been rude to him and the only athlete that ever gave him a problem was Mike Piazza.

Ednalino likes his job, but when asked how much he makes, he said “not enough.”

At $24,000 a year, he is making a beginning journalist’s wages and 30 percent less than what he made at The Denver Post.

When asked if had any regrets about his career choice, he said, “If I could do it all over again, I don’t think I’d change anything. I like this business a lot.”

He also said that while he is glad that he is near his family, he misses Denver.

But mostly he misses his view of the Rocky Mountains.

“I miss having a Best Buy in town, a Virgin Megastore, a Tower Records,” he said. “However, this is a great place to grow as a journalist.”

Ednalino said that he has regular working hours, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

He said that regular hours give him free time to do the things he enjoys.

In his leisure time, he watches movies from his extensive collection of DVDs, plays softball on a local team and snowboards.

He also likes to skateboard.

“I’m not saying I’m Tony Hawk,” he said. “I’m just saying, if he can do it, why can’t I?”

He also watches TV on weeknights.

“My guilty pleasure is watching ‘Buffy.’ ”

Although he said he is happy with his job of covering court cases right now, he does not necessarily see himself as a journalist in 20 years.

He said he may someday want to become a journalism teacher.

“I think there is something very special about teaching,” he said. He said he also thinks that it is ridiculous how much professional athletes get paid for “running 90 yards with a football” while teachers are underpaid.

To aspiring journalists, he said, “there is no such thing as a bad story,” and told them to excel in all assignments.

He reminded the class that “it takes a lot of sacrifice to do what you want to do,” and that journalism is hard work.

“Write a lot, read a lot,” he advised.

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