Magazine Feature / People

Alum reports for Al Jazeera

A few weeks ago Gabriel Elizondo (MA ’03) was in northern Brazil investigating the story of a 15-year-old girl who was jailed in a cell with 20 men and raped repeatedly. 

In August, he covered the biggest earthquake to hit Peru in three decades. 

And in October, he was reporting on Argentina’s election of the country’s first female president. 

That’s life these days for Elizondo, a news producer and reporter in São Paulo, Brazil. He’s at Al Jazeera English, the same Al Jazeera some dub the “terrorist news network.” 

“Most people who criticize Al Jazeera have never watched it,” Elizondo says. “So go to the English Web site, look at the stories and judge for yourself. Better yet, we put many stories on You Tube.”

He says he particularly likes that Al Jazeera covers parts of the globe often ignored by other news shops. 

“There are no concerns about budgets or anything else. At other places I’ve worked, you pitch a story and the first question is, ‘How much will it cost?’ At Al Jazeera, the first question is ‘Is this a story that needs attention?’”  

On the rape story, Elizondo says all that mattered was that “we thought it was an important story of human rights in a part of Brazil often ignored that needed to be told.”

It’s a much different life than Elizondo’s first job in journalism in San Diego, covering sports. “I grew bored with that and eventually moved to news, and just fell into TV without much thought, honestly.” 

He moved to Denver and started working with the ABC affiliate to pay for school and “it all snowballed after that,” he says.  

He earned a degree in global finance, trade and economic integration from DU’s Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS).

“I studied international affairs to prepare myself for a career as an international journalist. I believe it takes more than a journalism degree these days to succeed,” he says. “So I think I prepared myself well when Al Jazeera came calling.” 

Elizondo says his DU education helps him sort through different opinions. 

“That’s my job: to explore differing opinions and seek out the truth. At GSIS, I learned a lot about the underlying international laws and norms I can refer to in my job.”

Comments are closed.