Monday, August 25, 2008

EXCLUSIVE!! Interview with a Deaf CNN Worker

Leah Katz-Hernandez interviews Joel Garcia, who works at CNN during the Democratic National Convention 2008.


Leah Katz-Hernandez: Hello - I'm here now to interview a CNN worker, Joel Garcia. We are all very proud of him and eager to listen to your experience. Now, tell me about your work -- what do you do at CNN?
Joel Garcia: I work as a Runner. That means that I oscillate between different positions. Let me show you my t-shirt. I'm able to enter any building. The CNN building itself has its own restaurant. And I'm able to access the Pepsi Center. You have to have these credentials: This is only for CNN staff, that is for the Pepsi Center, this is for the Press -- same thing, and this is only limited for four-day access Monday through Thursday. What I do... My supervisor is a very nice person; he assigned my group to set up the boxes to distribute shirts, pants, shoes, and hats for those who volunteer to work with the CNN. We give out this stuff to them. We also set up the tables for catering, like forks, spoons, salt and pepper, and various other things. I really enjoy working! Because we're preparing for tomorrow, the big event. So that's why in the last four days, we've been working to get ready for it. So that's pretty much it.

Leah Katz-Hernandez: Thank you. How is the communication with the hearing people? Do you use an interpreter?

Joel Garcia: Yeah, on the first day last Thursday -- it was really important to have an interpreter on the first day for such things as if they had meetings, important information, speeches, and discussions -- it was important to be able to communicate the rules. Once we were knowledgeable; things worked out; we had confidence -- we had some in our group who knew ASL, from taking classes. We met them. Some knew fingerspelling, some could sign, and it was awesome that they could remember! Oh and we communicated through pen-and-paper. They were very nice in helping me communicate through pen-and-paper. Really, we didn't need interpreter. Everything really worked out great. I noticed one really interesting thing -- that the hearing reporters and various other workers at CNN, would often gossip amongst themselves. I wondered what was going on... A hearing person in my group listened and let me know through writing what they were saying. He would let me know what was being overheard as people talked on the phone and etc. It was really nice to have that kind of communication access. I really appreciated their help. One example of that is last Friday, as people were discussing about Obama's Vice Presidential choice. They were letting me know, maybe it would be John Edwards or this person or et cetera... We all discussed in the workplace. It was really wonderful to get all that in-depth information and it was really interesting for me to listen to all that with my eyes! Now we know that it's Joe Biden -- I was surprised but that's an example of how you get information from inside the CNN. It was so cool that I knew in advance! It was really helpful to me.

Leah Katz-Hernandez: That's really nice! Now, last question: Do you feel that your working at CNN has helped the hearing perspective on the deaf to be positive?

Joel Garcia: Oh yes, wonderful! My group of CNN workers were extremely respectful of the deaf and they enjoyed working with us, were very helpful, and communicated through pen and paper. I really wanted to show them a positive attitude so that they might be interested in hiring me for a job in the future. That's why it's really important to display a positive attitude and communicate with them. When you are aggressive -- not passive, it counts! If you just lay back passively, NO -- go ahead, be aggressive and show them a great positive attitude. It's also important to be friendly and let them know of your communication needs so they may understand better. They learn from YOU. Did you know something that's so awesome? I actually met with Anderson Cooper... It was great! I was dazzled when he walked by but I said hi to him and he noticed me. I let him know that I couldn't hear and he reacted positively, "You're deaf? Oh hello!" We shook hands and I felt like my hand glowed from his touch! It's great to know that in the next few days, we will see each other and exchange more Hellos and hand shakes. I might even get photographs! Isn't that great and awesome?!?

Leah Katz-Hernandez: That's so wonderful! We're proud of you!


Karen said...

Thanks for sharing this interview, I enjoyed it!

Deb Ann said...

WOW! I'm so thrilled and excited for you! Way to go :)

FMF said...

Leah & Joel, really enjoyed this post! You are having a wonderful experience. Every night this week I will be tuning into the DNC broadcasts and checking your blog for the Deaf perspective!


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