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Long Nights, Crowded Streets and a Cab Driver Who Knows the City Secrets

Last updated on Jan 25, 2017

By Jada Butler
Assistant News Editor

Fighting her way through circles in the crowded streets of Washington D.C. at 4 a.m. was not how Dorianna Valerio imagined spending her first presidential inauguration. After graduating from LIU Post in 2014 with a BFA in Journalism, Valerio joined CBS News Radio as desk associate, and a year later promoted to chief. Most days she can be found sitting behind the desk, operating audio files and fact checking. However, for news breaking events like the Presidential Inauguration, Valerio can be found working behind the scenes, covering the event live.

Pictures taken by Dorianna
Picture taken by Dorianna

“My experience was really long and very interesting,” Valerio said. She spent three days of early mornings and long nights setting up for the CBS News Radio long form inauguration show. Traveling from her hotel to the Capitol, the uncertain weather and the mix of protesters and supporters created a new atmosphere  Valerio was not used to. Valerio got lost in the city several times.

Crowds of people were waiting to enter designated areas at 5 a.m. “It was interesting to hear the support and the disruptions all in the same space. It was really an interesting dynamic,” she said.

An experience with a cab driver one morning helped to lessen the challenges Valerio faced. “I had never been to D.C. before,” she said. During the inauguration, roads are closed down and usual routes to the Capitol are blocked. Fortunately, this cab driver knew the secrets of the city.

“He was very knowledgeable about which streets were closed off,” Valerio said. The driver, who had been working since President Reagan was in office, was used to the inaugural madness that overtook the city every four years. During the 2012 inauguration, the driver was granted permission by the Secret Service to drive in restricted zones. “He was confident in maneuvering the city,” Valerio said. It was Valerio’s first time attending an inauguration, an experience she described as a “once in a lifetime witness of a peaceful transition of power.” Though the excitement did not reach everyone in the city, “this is routine for D.C. people,” she said.

Picture taken by Dorianna
Picture taken by Dorianna

This May will mark Valerio’s two year anniversary at CBS. Aside from the inauguration, Valerio also assisted in coverage for the Democratic and Republican conventions in Philadelphia and Cleveland last summer. “I had a great time seeing politics in a very intimate close-up view,” she said.

“I’m having a really great time working for CBS Radio,” Valerio said. She is grateful to have bosses who trust her enough to allow her to cover these political events, and she has been able to learn a lot.

“I’m learning to appreciate what I am currently doing as a young journalist,” Valerio said. She is focused on the skills she is learning now at CBS, rather than planning too far ahead into her future career.

Valerio credits her time working on The Pioneer as a staff writer, news editor, and then Editor-in-Chief, with teaching her skills like meeting deadlines, that make her a real journalist. “I work very hard to be someone who never misses a deadline, never forgets to do something, and never misses the mark,” she said.

Aside from journalism and radio, Valerio loves to spend time with family and friends. There is importance to balancing work and life, even early on in a career. Ten years from now, Valerio hopes to be an expert in having a great career and a happy personal life without having to sacrifice either.

LIU Post alumnus Tom Francis (’06) has shared with the Pioneer one of his political cartoons for the inauguralpioneer alumni 3tion of the Pioneer alumni corner. Francis founded MOLES N TROLLS COMICS in 2017. Francis received his B.A and is also a screenwriter. 



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