Those of you who have followed me for a while know that I do not trust the mainstream media, so I turn to news organizations like TheBlaze. That is why I am excited to interview Mary Ramirez, freelance writer, journalist, columnist, and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show on TheBlaze radio. She also blogs on A Future Free. Be sure to check it out!
We conducted our email through an email questionnaire, so if the dialogue seem repetitive, that is my fault. Mrs. Ramirez was very gracious and though our correspondence was brief, it was a pleasure meeting her. Her answers are in bold.
Where are you originally from?
Minnesota, but I’ve lived all over. From northwest Indiana to southwest Mexico and back—it’s been quite a trip!
Is that where you started writing?
I had my first commentary column in Northwest Indiana, for the NWI Post-Tribune.
You’re in journalism, was there a particular journalist you watched or read when you were a kid that inspired you?
Well, first off, I definitely wouldn’t categorize myself as a journalist. I’m far too opinionated to be an objective journalist, haha.
I have worn the journalist “hat” in a sense during the times I’ve done interviews or the investigative project I did on the border. But it’s always been with my own opinion woven throughout, so my work has always been from a commentator’s point of view.
As for who inspired me in commentator sphere, I’m absolutely a Rush baby. My dad used to have on all the time—and I learned to love the back and forth; the debate; the questioning—it all become really exciting for me.
When did you decide, I want to be a journalist?
I do this because I feel so strongly about the direction of the country. The very first time I thought about doing anything like this was when I lived abroad. It made me question why it was the United States stood out amongst the nations. It made me want to know more about the values and principle upon which this nation was founded.
For a time I thought the best way to make a different was to teach. And I almost did—but changed my major when I realized I wanted to be even more active in the political sphere.
Then I thought the answer was law school. My reasoning was that if I wanted to defend the Constitution, I should probably go to boot camp!
And, I got in—but praise God, I ultimately didn’t have the money to go. It really wouldn’t have been the right choice. And it was then that I realized it was probably time to go back to something I already knew how to do, and make THAT my effort: writing. From there came the blog, and then The Daily Caller—and then TheBlaze.
Did you study journalism at university?
No- I actually studied Broad Field Social studies and Education.
Did a particular teacher or professor have an effect on you?
I did. In college, there were three in particular—all of which were incredibly smart, gifted, and most importantly—invested in their students. They inspired me to do my best—not just for the grade, but for how it would shape my life.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my mom who homeschooled my sister and brothers and I. Her dedication to our education has stuck with me always.
Did you have a strong mentor who encouraged your writing?
My mom and dad are both very talented writers—and it definitely started with them. Moving forward, I crossed paths with other writers, commentators and advisors who have all given me their two cents. And I’m SO much the richer for it. It’s not always easy to hear criticism, but there’s no other way to improve.
You graduated Magna Cum Laude, what was the feeling when you heard your name being called?
I wanted to earn that honor for my parents. They always worked so hard to give us a good education and a good upbringing—and I wanted to prove to them that it was all worth it. I wanted to make them proud. So—as I walked up on the stage to accept my degree, that’s all I could think of.
When you began your career as journalist, did you find it difficult to find a job?
I actually don’t write full time. What I do on my blog, and for TheBlaze both as a writer and a radio commentator for The Chris Salcedo Show, is in my free time. I actually work full time as a corporate writer. But yes, political commentary is very competitive field, and isn’t always easy to get noticed. But I’ve had some amazing people believe in me (Chris Salcedo, in particular) and who have given me a chance to do what I love—even if it’s only in my free time.
When you had your first by-line, what was it like to see your name in black and white as the writer?
My very first by-line was in a paper called the Northwest Indiana Post-Tribune. I got a job there in high school as a junior columnist, and it was an absolute blast. It was incredible to see my work printed.
Haha, I’ll never forget the first hate-email I ever got. Ouch—that was tough. But definitely a good lesson, and great character building experience.
When I first saw my picture and by-line up at TheBlaze, it was beyond epic. I’ve followed Glenn Beck’s work since his early days, and I always loved what he was doing. So to get to be an active part of it was definitely (and yes, it’s cliché) a dream come true. Still is.
You have written for news organizations like The Daily Caller and The Blaze, when do you feel was your breakout as a journalist? Any particular publication that comes to mind?
I’d say probably the border piece I wrote in conjunction with Sheriff Larry Dever for The Daily Caller. That was my first piece published on a national website. SO exciting. That trip in and of itself was such an eye opener. I learned more from Sheriff Dever right there on the border than I had in years of listening to the “experts” talk about it on radio and television.
Your blog, A Future Free, is filled with great articles for Millennials. What motivated you to start the blog? Why that particular audience?
Actually, the blog came first. A mentor of mine advised me to start it five or six years ago, to get my feet wet and start regularly putting words to paper, publically. From there, I started doing other things, like interviews (one of which led to The Daily Caller piece) and did some speaking at a Tea Party Rally. I was fortunate enough to meet people who helped me finesse my writing and get better. One in particular I’ll always remember: he used to redline my articles so badly it looked like someone took a red paintbrush to it. And it was never fun to see my writing get torn up, But in the end, it was the BEST thing he could have done. I learned so much from him.
As for why I started it, (and why I started getting into political commentary in the first place), it all boils down to one moment: the day Barack Obama got elected to office. I turned my husband and said, “This isn’t the America I spent years bragging to you about when we lived in Mexico.”
What I meant by that was that the values and principle upon which this nation was founded were things I discovered (living abroad) to be completely unique about the United States. It’s not to say other nations aren’t prosperous or free necessarily—but there’s something different about the way we were founded, and the critical focus put on individual liberty.
And to be certain, it was something I had been thinking about, and that had been percolating in my head for some time. But when I watched the United States elect a man that outwardly promised to fundamentally (and I took that to mean “at its roots”) change the country—I felt an intense urge to stand up when others wouldn’t: to help educate my generation and others about the importance of these principles that make this nation so different in a world full of poverty, tyranny and violence.
Tell us a little about the inspiration for some of your work.
When Barack Obama ran for office on a platform of change—particularly when he talked about “fundamentally” changing the country, I decided to start writing down stories of people who had an outside perspective; people who had come here specifically for what the United States was when Barack Obama set out to fundamentally change it. Some really amazing people have shared their stories with me, and I can’t wait to share them. But, between a new baby, two jobs and life in between—I had to put it on the back burner. God willing, someday.
You’re a journalist, blogger, a columnist, and a political contributor. How do you manage the various hats you wear?
I write commentary for TheBlaze, The Chris Salcedo Show and my blog, and I’m also a full time corporate writer. So no… I won’t lie—it’s a lot. But, I have a wonderful husband who helps me on my writing nights, and encourages me every step of the way. He’s a primary reason that this whole crazy work arrangement works!
At the end of the day, I look at my daughter’s face and realize that what I do today will affect her future tomorrow. I’d love to turn it all off and wrap myself in a soundproof , worry-proof cocoon by NOT keeping up with the news, engaging in debate and educating where I can. But as comforting as that sounds, it doesn’t change the facts—and certainly doesn’t change my daughter’s future. So—I keep on!
Do you have any advice for women who are seeking to become a writer and/or journalist?
Most great inventors, writers, speakers, entrepreneurs try (and fail) a lot before they get anywhere.
And I’m definitely still trying!
So, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, just don’t ever give up. Modify/tweak/take breaks/etc.? Absolutely. But don’t ever give up.
And—network! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve connected with the “next step” in my journey by going to events, political conferences, and staying active on social media. I know some reading this might laugh, because I’m definitely not an extrovert by nature, but you have to step out of your comfort zone and, to quote Shia LaBeouf’s YouTube Motivational Speech, “just DO IT.”
(I’m not kidding, watch the video!)
Is there a particular woman whose life inspired you during your journey?
Margaret Thatcher. Talk about an unexpected life! When you think about where she started, and where she ended up, it’s actually pretty incredible. And she did it for exactly the reasons I felt compelled to write: there are things to be changed and they’re certainly not going to change on their own.
Any final thoughts you would like to share to women who are stepping into their future?
Be bold, but not brash. Pray continuously, and rely on the wisdom of people who have been around the block a few times. Don’t be afraid to mess up. If you’re afraid to mess up, you’ll never even take the first step.
Don’t get me wrong—it’s not that you can’t be scared. But don’t let it paralyze you. I can tell you that had I not been bold and stepped out on a limb a million different times, I definitely wouldn’t have gotten the opportunities that I have.
That concludes our interview. I want to thank Mrs. Ramirez for participating. She is a very talented political analyst so be sure to check out her blog and then head to TheBlaze to check out some of her freelance writings.
Next week, we have an interview with novelist Michelle Griep author of Brentwood’s Ward. Subscribe to see more of Women’s Appreciation Month!