We The Journalists: Pia Malbran
Pia Malbran is an investigative producer with CBS News based in Miami and is the President of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists South Florida Chapter.
By: Jason Parsley
Pia Malbran is an award-winning TV producer with nearly two decades of broadcast experience. Prior to CBS she worked as an investigative producer for CNN in Atlanta. In addition to producing in-depth investigations, she has also reported on some of the nation’s biggest stories like Hurricane Katrina, the Newtown school shooting, and the Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Some of her awards include a 2005 national business EMMY for outstanding investigative reporting and six local EMMYs for excellence in writing and producing. Follow her on Twitter.
What’s a misconception about your job?
I don’t just cover stories in Florida even though I’m based in Miami. As a network producer, I’m an equal opportunity offender when it comes to finding and reporting good stories – I’ll go anywhere in the country and beyond!
What’s one part of your job that most folks don’t realize you do?
I think most folks are generally confused about my job – most people have no idea what a network investigative producer does. The answer is: I’m responsible for everything when it comes to the stories I produce. I produce stories from concept to completion – from coming up with the ideas to conducting interviews and the research to writing.
In college I met a lot of students who wanted to be in television news because they didn’t like to write? Thoughts?
That’s ridiculous. The very essence of good journalism is writing no matter what format. Writing is the foundation of television news. If you don’t know or learn how to write well for broadcast, you won’t succeed.
Most frustrating part of your job now? Most fun?
There’s nothing frustrating about my job right now. The most fun part of my job is producing stories that matter. Making a difference. Giving a voice to the voiceless and exposing wrongdoing.
Career highlight? Lowlight?
The biggest highlight is having a career – a good career. I don’t take it for granted. And, I’m grateful for it every day. I don’t dwell on lowlights. But, I can tell you that I have learned, grown and become better from every experience – good and bad.
Give us your weirdest dues-paying job in your career.
Never had one. One of my former bosses, Keith Summa, would tell young journalists: “if you want to be a journalist, be a journalist.” In other words, if you want to be a reporter, find a job as a reporter, no matter how little it pays — don’t go work in PR or do another unrelated job that won’t help you develop your skills or get you where you really want to be. I also think you should definitely stay away from doing anything weird!
How has technology changed your job?
It’s changed my job in every single way. In journalism school, for example, I learned how to work with film (it really wasn’t that long ago) and now we’re shooting video in HD on tiny SD cards. A few years ago, producers were not allowed to touch any equipment because of union rules. Now, producers are shooting video and editing. It’s amazing. One of my journalism professors said: “Without change, there is no news.” That’s so true. You’ve got to be able to learn new skills… Constantly.
One piece of advice you wish you could surgically implant into college students and young professionals?
There are no rules – none! There is no one set path to success. And, what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. So, find your own path and do what you enjoy. Otherwise, you’ll be miserable!
Throughout March, April, May and June, SPJ South Florida Pro will feature Q&As every Friday with South Florida’s most prominent journalists. Want to see someone featured? Want to join SPJ? Email us.
Jason Parsley is President of SPJ South Florida Pro. Follow him on Twitter.