Emeritus sports editor of “The Mirror,” Alfredo Torres, graduated from Fairfield University in 2018 with majors in digital journalism and communications. With only a year of experience contributing to “The Mirror,” he was promoted to an editorial position for the sports section in the spring of 2015. During his time on staff, he not only fulfilled his duties as a writer, but also expanded his portfolio by trying his hand in photography. As a Stag, he tirelessly sought out to do better on the paper than the week before. Fredo did it all. He spent his afternoons on the sidelines of games looking to capture the best shots. After that, he’d wait enthusiastically outside of locker rooms to snag the best interviews he could get. He’d finish off his work week behind the computer screen in the lower level of the John A. Barone Campus Center and breathe a sigh of relief on Wednesdays when his work would be immortalized in ink… and then he would do it all again the next week.
After graduation, he pursued his passion for sports media in the Bronx, N.Y. as a field producer at TMZ, doing freelance work in his spare time. As if he couldn’t escape the constant hustle and bustle of working for “The Mirror,” he was thrown into the concrete jungle to track down some of professional sports’ most elite celebrities. In the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, the streets of New York have been barren as locals are sheltering in place. This poses innumerable obstacles for freelance media-workers who rely on the city’s busyness to inspire content creation.
Torres echoed that sentiment, saying that, “right now, it’s a little tough because we don’t have a lot of celebrities and athletes out there, because obviously everyone is doing their part to flatten the curve by staying at home.”
However, in typical Torres fashion, he has turned this devastating crisis into a unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “Photography never dies… if anything, now more than ever it’s an important time to capture these moments,” he remarked. He has spent much of the quarantine period documenting the rare emptiness of Manhattan through photos. Such optimism demonstrates the unstoppable nature of this Fairfield graduate, and moreover serves as an example of the drive necessary in pursuing a job in media.
In a world full of media, news outlets are regularly scrutinized for their line of work. By taking a closer look into who Torres is, we can understand the role of a reporter in a more human light. “From my experience, you realize how important an individual is. These people, at the end of the day, are people just like us,” he explained. “My job is to communicate with people and have a conversation with people, just like we are now,” he added. Torres noted that TMZ has opened a lot of doors for him to make connections with celebrities and managers, many of whom he has encountered more than once. This networking, in turn, has opened many doors for him in the freelance aspect of his work, and he noted that his time working under corporate media companies has helped him tremendously in the aspect of branching out and leading him towards a path of working for himself. Torres mentioned that there are both pros and cons of freelance work versus corporate work; however, his collaboration with others, which was necessary at TMZ, has been valuable in helping him develop through understanding new ideas and perspectives.
Throughout his career, Torres has interacted with athletes from all sports, like basketball legend Carmelo Anthony, Super Bowl star Rob Gronkowski and Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo. How has he built up his confidence to speak to these legends? The answer is practice. Fredo looks back on his college experience fondly, grateful that he was given the opportunity to build such meaningful relationships with the athletics department. In time, he found himself on a first name basis with just about every athlete and team staff member on campus. Some of the most challenging interviews for him were with coaches after games that may not have ended in their favor. No matter the score, he would be there waiting to hear from whoever would give him a quote or a comment. Torres demonstrates consistency and dedication to his art, which are qualities that are not present in the layperson. Whether he put out a story reporting on a team’s seemingly endless losing streak or was announcing the win of a conference championship, Torres was well-equipped to adapt to any hurdles put in front of him. Fredo’s role as sports editor bestowed upon him the confidence necessary in being a self-motivated freelancer.
His advice for Fairfield students looking to chase their dream in the realm of media is to work hard, to find their calling and passions and then pursue them, because as we have all been reminded recently, time is so fragile. “There are a lot of great individuals who work in this environment and in this field of journalism, communication, arts and entertainment,” he exclaimed reassuringly. He praised Fairfield for the introduction of their new sports media major, and remarks that it is a positive step in acknowledging the increasing relevance of sports in the media. “There are a lot of people who love sports, and if they can find a way to communicate their love of sports through words or through pictures, then go for it!”
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