Cate Cauguiran’s life has been a tapestry woven from threads of resilience and cultural exploration. As a daughter of Filipino immigrants and a U.S. Navy veteran, she moved from place to place, constantly adapting to new environments. 

Photo courtesy of Cate Cauguiran

“This constant exposure to change developed my nature for the love of stories – stories to honor, connect, and appreciate my past [and] present to build a brighter future,” Cate shared. Her interest in unique life experiences became her way to forge relationships and an avenue to share her own. It was this love of storytelling that led Cauguiran to journalism. 

As she witnessed the rise of the internet and social media, she saw the power of information shared at breakneck speed. Yet, as an established reporter for ABC 7, she clung to the core tenets of journalism: accuracy, authenticity, and a deep connection with the public. She figured that her intangibles – culture, upbringing, and moral compass – complemented the changes she was seeing in the industry. 

“My drive to be authentic and trustworthy in my reporting was ingrained from the moment I chose, and was chosen, by this profession,” the Emmy-winning journalist emphasized. “How can you be respected if you cannot be trusted? How can you connect without compassion?” 

Photo courtesy of Cate Cauguiran

However, her career wasn't without its challenges. One story, in particular, stayed with her. Covering the surge in Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) hate crimes during the pandemic forced her to confront her own identity as a Filipino-American. “Not only was I watching this chapter of history unfold, [but] by the nature of my job, I was in the thick of it – walking alongside protesters [and] sharing the storied pains of those impacted,” Cate underscores. 

It was a story that intersected with her personal life, the community’s pain mirroring hers as a fellow immigrant. In sharing her vulnerability, she fostered deeper connections, enriching her narrative in the process. These shared life experiences became her beacon of inspiration, leading her to win the prestigious Emmy recognition for Outstanding Achievement in News Programming.

While the digital age demands speed, Cauguiran refuses to sacrifice accuracy for fleeting virality. “Being timely also means taking the time to understand,” she asserts. As a journalist, she prioritizes verification and ensuring her stories are grounded in truth.

When asked about her process of reporting complex issues, Cauguiran has a simple yet powerful approach. She imagines herself telling the story to a loved one, a family member, or a friend, putting personal connection at the core of her art. “ also requires the experience in inclusively understanding the community you are serving. Telling the story of sharing information from a place of bias and unchecked privilege is gossip, not facts,” Cate added. 

She stresses the importance of fact-based reporting, highlighting that a journalist’s value lies in truth, not validation from others. Moreover, balancing comprehensive reporting with sensitivity is a constant dance. Cauguiran emphasizes empathy and understanding. Journalists, she believes, are guests in the communities they cover, and their role is to amplify the voices of those impacted.

For aspiring journalists, Cauguiran emphasizes authenticity. Despite the competitive nature of media, embracing one’s unique background and experiences is their greatest strength. “Be authentic,” she urges, “because that's what makes you irreplaceable.”

Photo courtesy of Cate Cauguiran

In a world rife with misinformation, journalists play a crucial role. They are the watchdogs, holding institutions accountable and informing the public. “We inform to educate, we tell stories to enlighten and inspire, and we check balances to maintain balance and justice,” Cate highlighted. 

The most rewarding aspect of her career? Giving people a chance to own their narratives. As a woman of color, she finds immense satisfaction in empowering others to share their stories. Whenever someone tells her they learned something new, it reminds her of this purpose that fuels her passion. “I’m proud to be representing the Filipino-American community,” Cauguiran proudly stated. “That is why I do what I do and will continue to do what I do.”

Cate Cauguiran’s journey is a testament to the power of storytelling. It’s a story about using journalism as a platform to uplift voices within the community. It reminds us that even in the age of constant change, the human connection forged through shared experiences remains a powerful force – to inspire and find a home with.

Written by Vanessa Maandal
May 13, 2024

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