By Matthew Yu —
Integrating the journalism skills learned at Rutgers with her native Spanish language, Violeta Yas, J/MS 2008, is trailblazing as a bilingual TV weather forecaster for AccuWeather based in State College, Pennsylvania.
Yas has proved that being bilingual helps broaden job opportunities post graduation.
Hoping to build on her experience as a beat writer covering Rutgers men’s and women’s basketball and football at Sports Page Magazine during college, Yas pursued a career in sports journalism once she graduated. She did not exactly see herself working in the weather industry. However, when AccuWeather offered her the opportunity to work as a bilingual weather forecaster in 2010, she packed up and moved to Happy Valley.
“A lot of my background is actually in sports journalism, but I just fell into the weather,” Yas said. “It sounded like a wonderful opportunity to learn something else. I decided to hop onto it.”
Serving a wide range of news clients around the nation and 175,000 customers, AccuWeather has found weather is in constant demand, especially when Mother Nature is not at its best.
Based on the weather’s time- sensitive tendencies, Yas’ typical day requires her to record both audio and video broadcasts during an eight and a half hour shift – between 50 and 60 videos and 10 to 20 radio broadcasts.
“Between 11 and 1, it’s my time to get ready, my hair and makeup, and I usually go in and have a slew of websites I need to check,” Yas said. “Obviously radar, satellite, National Weather Service, Storm Prediction Center, and then, I usually have a briefing at 12:30.” That’s when AccuWeather scientists give her an overview of that day’s weather.
“We have videos that we provide on our website, we have our regional videos for the Northeast and Southeast, we have sponsor videos for Boston.com, and we have videos that specific clients request,” Yas went on. “We also are responsible for the radio, so once I’m done recording on the set, I go over to the radio booth.”
Yas is responsible for recording all broadcasts in Spanish.Despite Spanish being her first language, Yas finds the task to record in Spanish sometimes difficult to complete within the minute and 15 seconds she is limited to.
“I would say it’s more difficult in Spanish because a lot of times we’re speaking very fast, and it sounds like we’re saying a lot of things,” Yas said. “Really, it just takes more words to say, so doing a forecast becomes difficult because I have to speak in scientific words, and those terms tend to be lengthy.”
While the weather industry can be daunting at times, she is enjoying her time at AccuWeather.
“I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t a little intimidating not really having any prior experience in weather, but I have great people training me and explaining things to me, and it seems to have worked out so far,” Yas said. “I really like it.”
She truly values the skills she learned at J/MS. The first two years at Rutgers, she didn’t know which major to pursue but was aware she could communicate fluently in Spanish.
She found her calling in journalism. Before long, the idea began to percolate that she could combine bilingualism with journalism. The media industry is quite broad, she noted, and there are growing opportunities for Spanish speakers.
“I could stick with what I’m doing right now, the English market, or if I wanted, I could pursue something in Spanish,” said Yas.
Being bilingual, she emphasized, “does open up a whole other world.”