More News

NBC Journalists bring their stories to the Heart

Written by Ana López del Punta '23 , Co-Editor-in-Chief for the King Street Chronicle

Article courtesy of the King Street Chronicle

Mrs. Jennifer Llamas and Mr. Thomas Llamas shared their responsibility as journalists to promote social awareness with Sacred Heart Greenwich’s Upper School November 2.  Juniors Payton Sfreddo and Wowie Walker, anchors of the “Today From the Heart” show, led the panel discussion.  Mr. and Mrs. Llamas advised students who seek to pursue a career in journalism to be curious, enthusiastic, and ambitious learners. 

Wowie Walker ’24 and Payton Sfreddo ’24 introduce Mrs. and Mr. Llamas.  Ana López del Punta ’23

 

A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Mrs. Llamas studied Broadcast Journalism at Loyola University in her hometown.  She started her career broadcasting local news for WSVN-TV in Miami, Florida.  Mrs. Llamas then began working as a Production Assistant for Microsoft and the National Broadcasting Company (MSNBC).  Not only did she help launch NewsNation with Tamron Hall on MSNBC, but she also became the Executive Producer of this daily live news show.  After having her second child, Mrs. Llamas retired from her career to take care of her children.

After interning at a local news station during high school, Mrs. Llamas developed an interest in journalism.  She emphasized the significance of attaining real-world experience to form connections with others in the field and to discover aspects of journalism that specifically interested her.

“In doing that internship, I got to see all the different angles and facets to the industry, which sparked my interest,” Mrs. Llamas said.  “I realized there were so many different aspects to the business that I did not know about.  There is so much that goes into producing a newscast.  I found that that real-world experience of being in a newsroom, using the equipment, editing, and producing, is key to this field.”

Mr. Llamas also graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism and Drama and Speech.  After working for the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) News Specials Unit in 2000, he is now the News Anchor and Senior National Correspondent of the network in New York, New York.  Mr. Llamas reports for NBC Nightly News with Mr. Lester Holt and is also the anchor of Top Story with Tom Llamas, a new daily news podcast.  

Mr. Llamas has traveled to Ukraine to cover the Ukrainian War.  He has also been on scene in Texas to report on the Uvalde school shooting and the migrant conflict at the Mexican-American border.  Mr. Llamas reflected on the duty of journalists to provide a voice to those who lack one. 

“There are a lot of people across the world who, for one reason or another, have no one to turn to, especially after natural disasters, if their country has been invaded, or if they are poor,” Mr. Llamas said.  “Journalists can go and meet these people and shine a light on their situation.”

Mrs. and Mr. Llamas answer questions from the audience.  Ana López del Punta ’23

 

Throughout his career, Mr. Llamas has received regional and national recognition.  Judges awarded him Emmy Awards for Best Anchor and Best Hard News Story 2013.  The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) also presented Mr. Llamas with the NAHJ Presidential Award. 

To conclude the panel, Mrs. and Mr. Llamas offered advice to students who are looking to study journalism in college and beyond.  Mrs. Llamas encouraged students to be willing to perform extra work with eagerness and positivity.  She believes that it is critical to make positive impressions on others.  Mr. Llamas called students to become driven and resilient learners so that they can later succeed in their fields, regardless of which career they pursue.

“Good is the enemy of great,” Mr. Llamas said.  “If you think something is good, you have to work harder because you want to be great.  People who try to get to greatness will always rise.” 

Featured Image by Ana López del Punta ’23