I chatted with WBAL’s Omar Jimenez about his journalism career and his rap career.
Q: Talk about your childhood, where you grew up..
I was born in Boston. We moved to Miami for a few years after that, but grew up in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Q: What inspired you to become a journalist?
I knew I wanted to go into journalism pretty early on, but I thought I wanted to be a sports reporter. I remember being in awe of Scott Van Pelt and Stuart Scott on ESPN growing up. During Hurricane Katrina, for whatever reason, I turned on CNN and saw Soledad O’Brien and Anderson Cooper and thought what they were doing was powerful.
I tried out sports journalism, and it was fine, but I didn’t want to have to do homework going to a football game. ::laughs::
Q: What has been the most memorable story that you’ve done so far?
Back in college, there were these tornadoes that came through Illinois. I go down there by myself, and the entire town is destroyed. I’ve NEVER seen destruction like that up close before. I was able to track down two people who shot cell phone footage of the twisters while they were sitting in their house. Through some personal connections, I was able to take a helicopter ride over the damage. It was pretty crazy. That day will always stick out for me professionally.
Q: How cool is it working with so many great people over at WBAL-TV 11?
Oh it’s incredible. Coming to a station where a lot of the people are local, or they’ve been here for a while, really helped me get acclimated to the environment quicker. They’ve given me constructive advice on stories I’ve done and who to contact next time if need be. Just very nurturing on showing me the ropes of Baltimore.
Q: What is your favorite part of living in the Baltimore area?
So many people are born here, grow up here, and still live here. It’s also very homey. No matter where I go, it always seems someone knows someone there. It’ a very unique place. Also, finally learning how to crack open a crab is pretty awesome. I never knew how before.
Q: So on to your EP..were you always a rapper?
::laughs:: It’s been a while. The first song I did was my junior year of high school. It just stuck. One person that really gave me confidence was Childish Gambino. We connected immediately.
When I went to college, I had a lot of creative people around me. We were able to put together a lot of cool stuff. I put out close to forty songs throughout college.
Q: Which song on the Baltimore EP is your favorite and why?
I think the song “No No” is. I’ve never written a song that quickly. Every line resonates with me. This captures my mentality and what my goals are. I get excited every time I listen to that song, and I’ve heard it over a hundred times.
Q: What has been the reaction so far?
It’s been mostly good. It opens up a different side of me. I’m a storyteller on TV, but this is another window into who I am. It’s surprised a lot of people ::laughs:: They didn’t think I had that in me.
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