A television production class at Belleville High School set Ines Rosales ’04 on course to a career in broadcasting. “I just loved it,” she says. “I knew right away that this was the field for me.”
And after visiting Montclair, she knew right away that this is where she would study Radio and Television Broadcasting.
“It was a pretty demanding program, and juggling course work, commuting and a part-time job didn’t leave a lot of time for campus activities,” Rosales recalls. “But the DuMont TV Center, where the program was housed at that time, felt like a second home. We built relationships and many of us are still in touch today.”
By the time she set foot at Sony Music, MTV and VH1 for her internships, Rosales felt prepared for any tasks that came her way. “Montclair’s broadcasting program is thorough,” she says.
“I continue to draw on aspects of my education that, as a student, I didn’t think I would need,” she adds with a laugh. “For example, even though I had no intention of becoming a lighting professional, I have found it really helpful to know how the lighting should be, and when it needs to be adjusted.”
Rosales’ early career goal was to work behind the scenes, preferably as a director. Right after graduating from Montclair, she joined Metro Shadow Traffic (now Total Traffic & Weather Network) as a camera operator, which seemed like a step in that direction. Within a year, however, she was asked if she was interested in reporting traffic in English and Spanish for the company’s radio and television clients.
In 2007, Rosales joined WNYW/FOX5 Good Day New York to deliver morning traffic reports. In addition to reporting the traffic news, Rosales updates maps, cameras and transit graphics, interacts with viewers on social media, and keeps the newsroom informed of breaking news.
Rosales appreciates the work ethic that Montclair instilled. “If we couldn’t come to class, we needed to let our professors know ahead of time,” she says. “At the time it was hard to see the significance of the requirement, of course they were preparing us for the real world. It is really important in this field to keep your team in mind when you have schedule changes because every role needs to be filled to make a broadcast work.”
Over the course of her career, Rosales has helped New York metro area residents navigate all manner of conditions and events, including a 2008 blizzard that left cars stranded on the Long Island Expressway, as well as Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy.
“The job itself is challenging,” Rosales continues. “We are providing an important service. People wake up to us and rely on the information we provide to make decisions about their day.”
Rosales points out that traffic reporting has become even less predictable since the pandemic, and the subsequent shift to more flexible work schedules.
Whenever possible, she looks for fun ways to keep audiences engaged, such as reporting from the New York Auto Show or doing a segment featuring a Puerto Rican cooking class.
Lately, Rosales has also been looking for opportunities to get more involved with her alma mater. “I have on occasion visited classes,” she says, “and I am interested in the new Hispanic/Latinx Alumni Network at Montclair as a way to connect with students.”
Rosales adds, “I think it is motivating – and reassuring – for students to learn how the industry works from those of us who are active in it.”