Cindy Carcamo is an immigration reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Before taking part in a panel discussion entitled “What Does Trump Mean for Immigrant L.A.?” for a Zócalo/The California Wellness Foundation event at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles, she spoke in the green room about Natalia Lafourcade songs, the Old West, and being nice to other journalists.
Since this is a panel on immigration, where is your family or your ancestors from?
My mother and my father are from Guatemala. My mother is from Chiquimula and my father is from Jalapa. We used to go back a lot when I was a child, and we used to do summers there. It was great, because it was the total opposite of growing up in the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley. Very different!
What are you reading for pleasure?
Anything I can get my hands on that’s short, because I have a two-year-old and she’s very demanding with my time! Right now I’m reading A History of Violence: Living and Dying in Central America [by Óscar Martínez]. I keep re-reading it, because I read it and I put it down, and I forget, and then I have to go back and read more.
If you could time travel, where and when would you go?
I wouldn’t want to travel into the future, because it might taint what I would do in the present, and alter the future. Maybe I’ve seen too many movies like that, where you do something and then there’s this alternate reality! Actually it would be really interesting to travel back to Victorian times in the United States, especially out West, when the West was kind of being settled. I like period films, especially out of the Victorian era, so maybe that’s why.
What was the last thing that inspired you?
Music. I’m a runner—or a jogger. I guess some days I’m a runner and some days I’m a jogger! On my last run, actually, I was listening to something, and for me it really tells how something can be inspiring, how something can motivate you. I had my best time, and I think it was because of the music I was listening to. It was Natalia Lafourcade. It was the song “Hasta la Raíz”; I really like that song. There’s something about the rhythm that inspires you.
What advice do you have for aspiring journalists?
To always try to be nice to other reporters and other people, because you never know who’s going to be your boss down the line. And not just because of that, but because it’s good to have that camaraderie. I’ve been really mentored in my career, and there are a lot of people who have helped me out, and you should give back and do the same.