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Tinabeth Piña ‘93 has made a career out of her passion for communication. Although the road traveled has had a few bumps along the way, she insists that getting what you want is all about attitude. “You can do anything– you just have to ‘keep on keeping on’,” she explains in her purely optimistic tone.

A native of Easton, Piña has always been drawn to anything to do with television or film.

“My family was not all that keen on the non-traditional occupation. I took different courses to see about law or medicine, but the media was my passion, ” says Piña, who found a way to incorporate her interest into an American Studies major.

Piña began gaining experience in her career field at Lafayette, where she started the first bilingual radio show in Easton. The show featured many different kinds of Latin music. “I didn’t really know what I was doing at the time,” she admits. “I just put what I knew out there, something that was a part of me. Only later did I realize that I was doing a service for people and giving them what they wanted to hear.”

Piña has had a short yet already impressive career in the media, writing and producing for Time Warner, ABC, FOX, A&E’s Biography, and the WB, where she was part of an Emmy-winning team for VIVA!, a nationally syndicated showcase of Latinos in entertainment. She also broke into on-air reporting while covering the entertainment beat of New York’s Metro channel, and won the “Communicator Award,” given to the best new on-air talent.

After Sept. 11, a drop in demand for entertainment caused Piña to lose her position at Biography. However, she was then picked up by the Oxygen channel to host its music show, “Oxygen’s Daily Remix.” The new position was a shift from the writing and producing aspects of media to an on-air focus.

“It was good for me,” says Piña. “It made me focus on the reporting/hosting aspect of my career, which I hadn’t planned on. It just reinforced that I want to do both–one hand washes the other for me. People say you can’t do both, that you either have to be a producer or writer, or a reporter, but I think each has made me better at the other.”

She is now freelancing as a producer and reporter, including features and entertainment coverage for ABC’s New York affiliate. “I’m in talks to do some entertainment reporting nationally for them,” says Piña. “I also did a series of commercials for FOX Kids in December playing what else — a reporter!”

Her next adventure will be satellite media tours in April and May.

“I will appear in a variety of segments for morning news shows. I’ll be a correspondent for different angles depending on what they need,” explains Piña. “Freelancing is fun, but it’s a little crazy.”

“Television is such a powerful medium; you have such an opportunity to affect people. I want to expand into more serious, human interest reporting. You have the ability to give out so much information and really help people,” she says.

Piña explains that the most challenging aspect of her work is choosing what topics to pursue. “People take a lot from what they see–you don’t want to gear them in the wrong direction.” Trying to do new, fresh things and target what people really want is difficult, she adds.

Piña admits that “when someone tells me I can’t do something, I like to prove them wrong. You can do anything and everything you set your mind to.” Piña proved this at Lafayette when she was told that she could not write two senior theses. She wound up receiving honors in both American Studies and Spanish.

She notes that in college, being an “athlete, woman, minority, and commuter (initially)–things that weren’t necessarily in my favor — made me want to succeed.”

“What was good for me at Lafayette was that I had to balance a lot of things: athletics, academics, activities. That kind of management carries over into real life, professionally, socially, and spiritually. It helped me reinforce the idea that if you have a dream, you need desire and discipline to accomplish that dream.”

In addition to her gig at WJRH, Piña was on the track team year-round, where she held the indoor 55M dash record and the fifth fastest time in school history in the indoor 200M. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and won the George Wharton Pepper Prize. She also was a resident adviser, teacher’s assistant in Spanish, and member of Student Alliance of Latinos and South Americans. In addition, she explored her interest in media by participating in a drama production.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles