ATLANTA — 1. Where are you from/where did you grow up?
I am a New Jersey native. I grew up in a small town called West New York, New Jersey. It is one square mile and, at one point, had several hundred thousand people. It was one of the most densely populated cities in the country. I spent most of my time there until 26 years old and then moved to Florida.
Until that time, I experienced several feet of snowfall, a couple of hurricanes and life in the Northeast where are you pretty much had 6 to 8 months of winter. So Florida was a welcome relief. And now Atlanta will give me the four seasons once again.
2. Take us through your journey to WSB. What school did you go to? What other cities have you worked in?
Well, before starting at WSB-TV, I was an anchor at our sister property in Orlando, Florida. WFTV is an ABC affiliate in Orlando. I started there one week before Sept. 11. During my time there, I reported on the news and anchored several newscasts. Most recently, the 4 PM on channel 9, the ABC affiliate and the 10 p.m. newscast on our sister station down there WRDQ TV 27. During my time there, I covered the Pulse massacre were 49 people were murdered at a nightclub. It was a turning point for our community who all came together from support around the world. I also covered the impact hurricane Maria had on the island of Puerto Rico and its population. Tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans moved to the mainland while the island recovered. Also, I had the opportunity to sit down with a student who survived the shooting at FSU. He was brought here to Atlanta to the Shepherd Center for rehabilitation. I remember coming up here and interviewing him here and sharing his strength with our viewers.
3. What are you most looking forward to in Atlanta? What are some of your favorite things to do/places to go or restaurants in Atlanta?
I am truly looking forward to experiencing the culture in the Atlanta area. Georgia, as a state, is full of rich history. There’s a lot to learn here from the buildings that still stand and from the people and their families who still call Georgia home. I’m looking forward to heading out into the suburbs and experiencing those communities and their own history. I hear the restaurant scene is pretty intense here with amazing places from neighborhood joints to five-star restaurants. It looks like Atlanta will turn me into a foodie after all. I am a meat and potatoes kind of guy but I guess that has got to change.
4. What made you want to be a journalist? Did you always know or was there a specific moment you can point to?
There was actually a very specific moment when I realized I wanted to be a journalist. Broadcast journalism was introduced to me at a very young age with my father. My parents were divorced and I had the opportunity to stay with my father a couple of times a week. He worked long hours and every night came home to watch the evening news with Peter Jennings. Coincidentally, that was on ABC which is the network I am out now. When I asked him why he would watch the news in English being that he was fluent in Spanish and only beginning to learn English, he said I’m able to get the news of the day in 30 minutes while learning another language. I recognized the power of the medium and I was hooked. I then began to watch the news as an eight-year-old by myself when I was home and not with my father during the rest of the days of the week. That moment truly cemented my desire to tell the stories of people who cannot tell them for themselves.
5. What has been the most memorable story that you’ve covered? Why?
Honestly, the most memorable moment in my career has been the most tragic and also the one that brought a community together. I would have to say it would be the first large gathering of the Orlando and Central Florida community one week after the Pulse massacre. Days prior to the 50,000-person vigil at Lake Eola Park which is at the center of Orlando, three students got together with the idea of doing a small march. Those three people had no idea they were starting a movement that ended with a two-hour ceremony honoring the lives lost and coming together as a community to begin the healing process. I was asked by a friend of mine to read the names of the 49 victims and then ended up walking everyone through the ceremony along with my then co-anchor Nancy Alvarez also from WFTV channel 9. We presided over two hours of song and prayer and remembrance. It was truly such a moving experience to be able to unite in the face of tragedy.
6. What do you like to do for fun?
I must be honest and say that I am a news junkie. I am also a TV junkie. I love a good movie, as well. I am hooked to social media. (Feel free to follow me on all platforms @jesteveztv, shameless plug) My ideal afternoon is sitting at home on my couch, yes it is part recliner, LOL, and settling in for a good stretch of television. Whether it’s traditional broadcast networks or streaming services, it really does excite me to learn other people’s stories whether fact or fiction.
Also, since I feel the need to add something here that’s a bit more productive.. I love a good run outside. There, that’s better.
7. What is your favorite TV show? What is your favorite movie?
There are so many I cannot pick. My favorite TV shows of all time, comedy have got to be something from the ’80s or ’90s. From the “Golden Girls”, “Fraser”, “Friends”, and “Will and Grace” to dramas like any of the “Law and Orders”, “ER”, and “Grey’s Anatomy”.
I am also a big fan of a TV documentary. I love looking back at history through the lens of television.
8. Do you have any hidden talents?
Well, I have been known to win a dance competition or two for charity If you Google “Jorge Estevez wins Mirror ball” you will see my dance about 5 to 6 years ago when I helped raise money for the foster care program in Central Florida. Also, I was a drummer in grade school, high school and college.
9. Do you have a favorite place to travel?
My favorite travel destination has got to be anywhere with a beach. I am an ocean, saltwater person. The only place that I find truly relaxing is when I’m lying on the sand in front of the ocean on a hot day. Whether the water is crystal clear or has shades of gray, I am totally fine with it. The ocean is a reminder of the power of mother nature and it’s never lost on me. Funny fact: I hate sand. I mean it gets everywhere. Doesn’t it? I guess it’s the price you pay.
10. What is something we would be surprised to know about you?
My friends have poked fun at me before because I am extremely organized. From my closet, to my drawers, to my pantry, it is all labeled, ordered, and color-coordinated. I even organize my kitchen junk drawer. Look. Don’t judge. I find it relaxing. It’s true!
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