Growing up in Highland Park, Chicago, Chicago Tribune writer, Luis Gomez never considered pursuing journalism until he graduated college. Gomez was really more interested in screenwriting, but after he missed the deadline for film school at Columbia College, he decided to take a chance and freelance.
Gomez majored in English and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2003. In 2004, Gomez published his first story on Chicago rapper, Twista, for Chicago Innerview magazine and then interned at For Him Magazine (FHM) in New York.
“Twista had a big song out at the time with Jamie Foxx and Kanye West, so I was pretty excited and somewhat nervous.” Gomez said. “I remember thinking he was friendly. If he would have been a jerk, who knows if I would have stuck with it.”
In 2005, Gomez became Chicago Tribune’s first ever, full time soccer reporter. In 2006, Gomez received his big break and went to Germany to cover the 2016 World Cup.
“That was the biggest assignment of my career, which is crazy seeing how I was 24 and had less than a year of newspaper experience at that point.” Gomez said. “I had been keeping up with soccer as part of my beat, so I really didn’t do much else to prepare. If I were to do it all again, I would have tried to map out a plan in advance. I look back fondly on my time at the World Cup, but when I was there I was stressed out and over worked.”
Not only was the 2006 World Cup the biggest assignment of his career, but it was also a huge learning experience for him.
“I’ve learned how to work under pressure,” said Gomez. “Writing on deadline is not easy and took me a while to get used to. In fact, every now and then it’ll still get to me, but I’ve definitely improved significantly since my first few years at the Trib. This job also makes you disciplined. You don’t want to be sloppy with your work when you know so many people are going to read it.”
Gomez now works as an entertainment reporter for the Chicago Tribune. He also is in charge of interviewing celebrities whenever they’re in town. Seth Meyers and David Koechner are just the few that Gomez has interviewed. While some people would be worried interviewing celebrities, Gomez is only concerned on getting the job done.
“Once you do something enough times, you get used to it and it no longer phases you.” said Gomez. “Also, I’m too busy thinking about deadlines and writing the best possible story to get over excited. Sure, certain interviews feel bigger than others, like when I talked to Mike Tyson a few months ago. I’ll put extra pressure on myself in those cases, but I’m still able to remain calm.”
Though Gomez isn’t really sure where journalism is heading, he knows that it’s important to accept change.
“I’m still figuring that out. It seems to change often,” said Gomez. “One day we’re told people want to read short and to the point articles, and the next we’re told people want in depth, long form articles. The key is to be open to change. I also think it’s important to be creative. Right now I’m trying to figure out how to make the best use of my blog, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to get my work out there.”
You can read some of Gomez’s stories here: