Angelica Franganillo Diaz has always loved storytelling, and when she was younger she even thought of becoming an actor so she could dramatize the stories in her head.
But her parents thought acting was not a “real” career, and they worried about how, as an actor, she would … well … survive.
“And I’m, like, ‘Oh, thanks. Thanks, Dad,’” she jokes today.
But Franganillo Diaz did not give up on her dream—just tweaked it a little. So, after graduating from Florida International University with a major in Political Science and Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Puerto Rican native enrolled in the Master’s in Journalism program at Georgetown University. And that’s where she discovered what she was called to do.
“It became like a sixth sense,” she says. “Because I’m not good at math. I’m not good at science. But I’m good at reading, and I’m good at writing and good at storytelling, and in the master’s program I picked it up very fast.”
That acumen got noticed. On Sept. 15, 2023, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) awarded Franganillo Diaz the Charlie Ericksen Journalism Supplement, which goes to promising journalism students who require financial assistance. The award paid for an internship at the Washington bureau of the well-known Colombian cable television NTN24, which broadcasts throughout Latin America and the United States.
During her time at Georgetown, Franganillo Diaz has interviewed everyone from former Argentine President Mauricio Macri to U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). At her internship, she has taken on a variety of assignments.
“I started in the editorial process, and now I’m doing basically everything,” Franganillo Diaz says. “I’m doing camera. I’m doing editorial. I’m doing reporting. So, I got a few of my stories on TV.”
One of her favorite assignments was covering a January 2024 protest in Washington, D.C., over an immigration bill that would make it harder for new immigrants to receive asylum. There, she interviewed Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and was able to draw on her knowledge of U.S. politics and immigration policy.
She is also motivated by the experiences of her mother and father, who were born in Cuba but immigrated to Puerto Rico to flee the dictatorial regime of Fidel Castro.
“From a young age, I’ve always understood the importance of a free press and a free media where you’re allowed to inform your society, and how important communication and journalism is, and how it shapes society,” Franganillo Diaz says.
Her favorite class has been Studio Reporting with Brandon Benavides, a content producer and four-time Emmy winner at NBC4.
“If I hadn’t taken your class,” she wants to tell him, “I wouldn’t have four of my stories on TV, being transmitted throughout Latin America. So I have to thank you.”