Meet Me at the Top: Claudio Cabrera


Name: Claudio E. Cabrera, 25

Current City: New York City (Manhattan)

Looking For: A Sports PR Position, Freelance PR / PR Internship Leads, Journalism Opportunities

Our Notes: He’s fashionable, award-winning and game-changing. He won the Independent Press Association 2006 Award for Best Article on a Social, Racial, or Immigration issue. The article, Punishing Phone Call Tax for Prisoners’ Families forced the New York Congress to confront the issue.

Skills: Writing, Editing, Public Relations

On the Web: Live Above Mediocrity

Mopwater: Where do you see yourself fitting into this industry?

CC: Well, I can’t say that I dreamed or even still dream of becoming a publicist; it’s just something that I have experience doing and actually like. But, I don’t like the agency side of it [because] I don’t like being hovered over. I feel I’m at my best when I’m able to sit down and speak with a client one-on-one and develop a plan of attack to garner him/her press. Not to say I wouldn’t take a position with a firm, but I prefer freelancing.

Describe your work history, including relevant internships, up to this point.

CC: While I was in college, I was a paid intern for over two years for the NY Amsterdam News, one of the oldest black newspapers in the country. I was brought on by the owner, Elinor Tatum, and former Editor in Chief Jamal Watson. I covered news in the Harlem community and garnered close to 100 clips at the weekly publication.

I also interned for TravelwithVal.Com, a website that focused on travel deals and destinations. It was a great experience because it exposed me to  a field of writing I was never familiar with. I’ve also interned for the Columbia Records A&R and Universal Music Enterprises Catalog Department.  I was also a writer for profiling artists and generating news pieces.

After graduating [from Brooklyn College] in the summer of 2008, I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to find a job considering the direction the economy was headed in. But I contacted a company called yoonew, whose focus is in sports tickets; and considering that I have experience doing ticket re-selling and journalism, I was brought on as their PR Manager.

At yoonew, I worked on everything from pitching, blogs, forums, business development and strategic partnerships. Working for a start-up company gave me the opportunity to learn about so many different aspects of business. Initially, I thought my position was cut and dry, but they really gave me a lot of valuable experience in different areas that I’ll be able to use in the future.

Mopwater: What is your concept/vision for your blog going forward?

CC: Before “Live Above Mediocrity,” I had a MySpace blog that had a substantial readership. After a while, I wanted to get my thoughts across on a larger scale.

I launched my blog on November 4th, which was the day Barack Obama made history and  became the country’s first Black President. Since that earth shattering moment, I’ve been writing on everything from sports, politics, fashion and my neighborhood in Upper Manhattan. I may not have the hundreds of visitors that most blogs have, but I’m very happy that so many people contact me telling me they love what I’m doing and make it a point to stop by daily.

In the future, I plan on continuing to take people inside my life through pictures and words. I also want to share my personal opinions on the subjects I previously mentioned; and interview folks who I admire and feel are making a difference in the world.

Which do you like better-journalism or PR?
CC: Definitely journalism. It’s what I’m best at and continually improving in.

Mopwater: What kind of position are you currently looking for and why should someone hire you?
CC: As far as experience, being unemployed right now, I just want to keep working with someone in the PR industry and help them with any pitches and press releases to keep sharpening my skills. I am definitely looking for internships with sports organizations or PR firms that focus in sports. I volunteered for a whole season as an assistant coach for Landmark High School’s basketball team in NYC. I worked on the Obama campaign, and plan to visit schools in my neighborhood to preach that they can be anything they want to be.

I have a lot of experience in writing and public relations; and feel my youth and creativity can be a valuable asset to any organization.  While I’m unemployed, I just want to build my name as a blogger, journalist and experiment with some business ideas. I want to make sure this time is used in a wise manner so if I ever take another job and it doesn’t work out, I’ll have my writing or a side business to fall back on.

Mopwater: What is your ultimate career goal? If you could end up doing anything you wanted in 10 years, what would it be?
CC: I have to be honest – I’m not exactly sure yet. But if I had to visualize my ideal life in ten years, it would be this:

  • Own a business
  • Be a respected freelance writer
  • Run a non-profit organization that’s geared towards helping children in inner-city communities
  • Have written about two book-one fiction and one autobiographical
  • Have a family and a condo

It’s really that simple.

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