UCF Alumna and News Anchor Covers Politics, Major Trials and . . . Football?
Venezuelan-Puerto Rican multi-media journalist, Ybeth Bruzual, ’05, has done her best to keep busy since graduating from UCF with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She is a news anchor on News 13, the only 24-hour news channel in Orlando, Fla., working the 5 a.m. to 12 p.m. time slot. Her high energy style and can-do attitude has earned her much recognition, most recently in 2012 when she was named one of the 25 most powerful Hispanics in Central Florida by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando.
Bruzual has covered many high profile stories such as the George Zimmerman and Casey Anthony trials, the 2012 Democratic and Republican National conventions and conducted exclusive interviews with individuals such as Florida Governor Rick Scott, Jeb Bush and Senator Mel Martinez. Her latest headline-grabbing story was covering the UCF Knights’ journey to and winning the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day.
Bruzual was surprised she was asked to cover the Fiesta Bowl since so many of her co-workers are also UCF alumni. The news anchor’s passion lies in political reporting but, she was thrilled to be able to cover her Knights during such an important event. “I felt like I had won the lottery. My bosses sending me to a historic game and they were paying for it? YES,YES, YES!”
“[the Knights winning the Fiesta Bowl] is up there with OMG moments of my life. The moment I realized UCF had won I was on the sidelines with my photographer Sam McKinney, near the UCF bench and I was numb. I wanted to high-five everyone and break dance at the same time. Wow—our UCF did it!” Bruzual described her emotional reactions after realizing UCF had won.
Bruzual had followed UCF’s “No. 1 fan” to Arizona to document the game through a fan’s perspective. While there she interviewed a former UCF player from the 80’s, Dave Meyl, who was an outside linebacker. She met him by coincidence when standing around at the J.W. Marriot Scottsdale Camelback Inn. On game day, the anchor gathered with other fans at the UCF Alumni Association’s tailgate and took a few photos of some awesome Knights devotion, like a tattooed head and uniquely shaved chest hair.
When not behind the news desk or at Bowl games, Bruzual is the host/moderator/co-producer of “Political Connections”, a weekly 30 minute show airing in Orlando and Tampa. She is also a contributor on the Spanish language channel, InfoMás. And if that isn’t enough, Bruzual is a champion of community activities. She works tirelessly as a mentor at local schools (recognized with the naming of the Ybeth Bruzual Media Center at Stonewall Jackson Middle School in Orlando, Fla.), has been a board member for both the Shepherd’s Hope Clinic and the Central Florida Chapter Board for Lighthouse of Central Florida and has connections to the NAHJ.
When asked how a degree from UCF has helped her, Bruzual stated, “My UCF degree has helped me in my career in more ways than I ever dreamed of. Having access to great professors has helped me better understand how a political issue on the other side of the world can affect us here in Central Florida. Also, being local helps me better understand the political landscape, because I am not just reporting on it. I am actually living in the area affected.”
As for her favorite experience at UCF, it was being accepted to the university. “I had to go in front of a panel and they took a chance on me. That day I vowed to give my heart and soul to UCF and it’s been a love affair with this school ever since,” said Bruzual.
We asked Bruzual if she still stayed connected with UCF after graduation. The answer was a resounding yes. “I have stayed connected with UCF since my graduation, mainly asking some of my former UCF professors to come on the half hour political show I moderate weekly, “Political Connections,” and chime in on the hot topic of the moment.”
Her advice to current students and UCF alumni? “Never, ever stop learning and always say you studied at UCF in the first sentence of any public speaking and on your social media profile. UCF is outstanding for its academic standards, athletic accomplishments and is leading the way in medical studies and technological advances. I bleed black and gold!”
At the end of her interview we trapped Bruzual in a lightning round of five random questions.
If you could watch only one TV show what would it be?
“Sunday Morning on CBS”
What is the last thing you searched for on Google?
The Iraqui flag and what the stars have stood for throughout the years.
What is your favorite place to visit?
If you could witness any event – past, present or future—what would it be?
Princess Diana’s wedding.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?