Investigative reporting brings out the truth in events that can bring: justification to the situation, and the victim as well as provide a sense of peace to the reporter. Working for one of the traditional print mediums like Sports Illustrated to one of the newest media sources like BuzzFeed is the path that investigative reporter Melissa Segura has come across.
Growing up Segura was always very observant of her surroundings. Of course when children search through purses and drawers many simply say the children are just curious and do not think too much about it. Segura on the other hand believes that even at a young age her curious mind was trying to find ways to understand more about people and what represents them. They are characteristics that she inherited from her parents as she briefly describes her mother as incredibly bright and productive and her father as having an engineer-like mind that is good at putting pieces together.
Segura’s older brother Damian influenced her understanding of professional sports by being in control of what was on the television like most older siblings. Although both of the Segura sibling’s share the same knowledge of how Melissa is knowledgeable in the sports field, Damian noticed his sister’s ability to watch the same screen that he was watching, yet see it through a different angle.
“She would often notice that there was somebody with a Hispanic last name and was very interested in learning about their stories,” said Damian.
Typically when people watch sports they are focused on the score and the performance of the athletes. Segura found a way to be investigative even before her professional career began.
“I never watched sports from that perspective, but it brought a whole new depth of the personal stories of these athletes,” said Damian.
Although she has written many pieces in the sports field with Sports Illustrated, she tackled the social issues involved instead of narrowing it down to the sports importance. Some of her investigative sports pieces include a focus on the lives of women caring for brain-injured former NFL players as well as a story helping to reveal that a 14 year old boy was illegally playing in the Little League World Series. When covering these deep stories a reporter deals with the painful emotions that the interviewees express.
“I just kind of keep my eye on the larger goal that the truth is basically being served by me bringing it out,” said Segura.
With gathering all of the details from a story, a good journalist must try to not only see everything that happened, but also make an effort to understand. Melissa has embraced her Latino culture and has become, as she says, “very good at dancing over that hyphen between Hispanic and American.”
Melissa stated that she does not believe that it is necessary for a person to be from a specific community to understand it, but she has embraced her culture.
“It’s what I was born with. It’s sort of the eyes in which I see. I couldn’t help but view the world that way and so that’s true in my stories as well,” said Segura.
Her cultural views provide a different contribution to her investigative work as do people with diverse backgrounds.
“She looks at all angles, but she takes into consideration the minority view,” said Damian.
In an article on Poynter, Segura expressed her views on what journalism can do for communities that need a voice to speak for them.
“I believe that journalism has an important role in helping to give voice to these communities and I also believe that reporters from diverse backgrounds bring crucial perspectives that ensure that we tell the whole truth,” said Segura.
The passion she has towards putting in effort to be consciously aware of what people are communicating helps lead her closer to reaching the truth.
“Some people don’t feel listened to in any way in their ordinary lives. They might talk and people might hear them, but I don’t think there’s a lot of times where people truly feel heard,” said Segura.
Retired American mixed martial artist Julie Kedzie has kept in touch with Segura since Segura was referred to speak with her about mixed martial arts around 2012.
“I’ve been involved with a lot of reporters who kind of just put their own spin on things and she’s actually very objective when it comes to explaining your point of view,” said Kedzie.
For Segura an investigative reporter should always be willing to attempt to understand the essence of everything that is being said rather than simply stating the facts. Her embracing of her culture has allowed her to apprehend different aspects of stories and really acknowledge the small details that may usually get overlooked. Her compassionate personality, as described by Kedzie, allows her to open herself up to see new ways of taking on different stories.There is always more to a story than one thinks.