Laura Ortega, Bachelor in Communication student at IE University, has found her vocation in journalism, but is also passionate about painting, videography, and photography.
She has the soul of a journalist. You can see it from a mile away. Laura Ortega speaks slowly as she chooses her words carefully and with overwhelming confidence. From speaking with her for only two minutes, you soon learn that journalism is this 19-year-old Madrileña’s vocation. According to her, it is a craft she is still learning every day. Who knows if this will soon also be her way of life and worldview.
The sense of tranquility she projects when you are speaking to her, the cadence of her words, are all simply an illusion: Laura is young, restless, active, and speaks three languages: Spanish, English, and French. She can never say no to projects that come her way and never takes a break from doing things. She is a whirlwind. She combines studying her Communication and Digital Media Degree at IE University with writing articles for The Stork, the student digital newspaper. Among others jobs, she is also the Director of the Communication Committee for the student government at IEU’s campus in Segovia, ambassador of the university for a range of activities, responsible for the social media networks of The Theater Club, and is a member of the IE Rotaract Club, a student association which organizes acts of solidarity for the disadvantaged.
“I am one of those people that can never sit still; I am fueled by my work until I get to a point when I can’t anymore, and sometimes I have to stop; but I believe there is time to do everything, it is just a question of prioritizing,” she confesses.
Laura tells me how from a young age she always liked to write; she needed to express herself, communicate what she saw, how she felt. It started with a personal diary in which she would tell her stories—sometimes real, sometimes made up. Then she moved on to writing articles for student magazines, and now, at IE University, she has started practicing the old craft of journalism, and she does it very well. She also has a personal blog where she writes about anything and everything that inspires her. “It is a private blog where I can reflect on my thoughts,” adding humbly that “journalism runs through my veins, and I think it always will.”
At the age of 16 she had already started to write in student magazines for King’s College Madrid, where she studied before attending university. Any time the school needed someone to interview or write an article, Laura was there, determined as ever. “I liked talking to people and getting to know what they were thinking,” she recalls.
At The Stork, a newspaper led by students at IE University, Laura has already written articles, interviews, and reports on a range of topics. For example, a reflective piece discussing reality shows on television, an in-depth interview with a local politician, or the work being undertaken on the old Palacio de la Floresta. While she confesses she “would love to do investigative journalism in the future,” she also admits that, “becoming a cultural journalist would also be a good career choice.”
“A picture is worth a thousand words and a lot of the time a photograph or video can reveal more than an article, but I think that the written word is very important for communicating well,” she claims.
Writing for a newspaper, be it a paper edition or online, is very appealing to her. However, there is another medium that fascinates her: radio. Last year, Laura supported the production of various podcasts with “Misma Onda,” a radio program led by Juan Carlos Manso, Carlos Díez, Mario Llorente, and Javier de Andrés, all students at the Segovia campus. “Now I would like to work with radio to learn more about this medium,” she says.
Laura has a cosmopolitan, global vision. “I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a lot with my family and learn about lots of cultures.” At this point, Laura gives thanks to the education, spirit of freedom, and the way of seeing the world that was given to her from a young age. “My family has always supported me in all my decisions, no matter how crazy they may have been. Before deciding I wanted to become a journalist, I could not make up my mind; I wanted to be a painter, zoologist, psychologist, or designer.” It seems that her experiences with many outlets has turned Laura into a young woman who possesses broad, diverse, and global perspectives and visions on life.
Her family influences have been decisive on her life. Like Laura, her parents are culturally restless, always taking her to museums and exhibits. It’s no wonder painting is another of her great passions. “Although lately I have been slacking,” she confesses. For the young woman from Madrid, painting is “a way to release tension and a very effective tool to portray my view on the world.” Last year, the Communication student was able to take classes from the visual artist Alberto Fernández Hurtado, in a workshop that took place at the Casa de la Moneda Museum, specifically for international students at IEU. “I love Alberto’s outlook on life,” she says.
Photography and visual arts also form a part of Laura’s personality. Since the age of 12 she has been creating videos, and at university, she has created several audiovisual projects, including one dedicated to ARCO (an international contemporary art fair in Madrid) and another to the Factory student residences in Segovia. “I can’t travel or attend any activity without taking some sort of camera with me,” she tells me.
Laura Ortega knows she still has a long way to go. She knows that journalism will be hard at times, but she is convinced that she wants to work in this profession, whether in a newspaper, on the radio, or as part of the communications department at an institution or commercial firm. “I really like how my Communication degree is taught in Segovia because it touches upon many aspects, such as video, photography, social media, marketing, or corporate communication,” she highlighted, adding that, “in today’s world, a journalist must know how to use lots of tools and they must have a future vision, and they are aware of this at IEU.”
“I know for sure that I want to be a journalist. It is important that there are talented journalists, because nowadays it seems as if the whole world wants to tell stories. I believe in the journalist who goes against common information, who tells the stories the public wants to hear; the journalist who is the intermediary between the news and the people, who knows how to recognize what is or isn’t important information,” she concludes.