“If you hear “No” once, ask another 10 people. If you ask for an interview, and a door slams, knock on 10 more doors.”
Whether it’s reporting on health care reform or Sandra Bullock’s heartache, Frances Rivera “absolutely feels passion, fervor, and excitement” for delivering the news. She loves that she brings information to help people in their daily lives, whether it’s reporting on how to avoid roads under construction or on a defective product so that people won’t get hurt. “Even in the midst of tragedy, I report pieces of information so that people can benefit and learn.”
Frances, currently a television news anchor for four nightly newscasts at 7NEWS in Boston, developed an interest in the media while studying journalism at the University of the Philippines. Although she grew up in Texas, her mother encouraged her to attend school in the Philippines to gain exposure to her Filipino heritage. This experience also contributed to her adventurous spirit.
Her first news experience working as a reporter was at NBC’s KFDX in Wichita Falls, Texas. She later worked in New York behind the scenes on CBS’s “This Morning” news show. One of her assignments was covering the campaign trail for the 1996 presidential election. Before her arrival in Boston in 2001, Frances was on-air personality and a reporter for CBS’s KWTV.
Moving to Boston enabled her to be closer to her family and her fiance, while also enabling her to break into a larger news market. “I started in small towns with little TV stations,” says Frances. “Boston is one of the top news markets, and those who can stay in New England are very lucky. Coming here to Boston was a great break for me.”
Although most of her time is spent in the studio, she does sometimes anchor from the field when there is a major story. She particularly enjoys the edgy, stimulating feel of the station’s news style. Frances explained “They (the station) are targeting the younger viewers who are used to watching TV, texting on the phone, and being on the computer at the same time. The younger audience needs more stimulation.”
Becoming a success as a reporter has had its challenges, especially when she and Stuart, then her fiance, did not live in close proximity to her job. But happily Frances, now married, was able to maintain a long distance relationship for three years, as she moved around and gained success as a reporter. “If you are willing to make sacrifices, odds are success will come your way,” says Frances. “You are at the mercy of the news when you are a reporter and you might have to travel at any moment, never knowing when you might be called into work.”
Over the last year Frances and her husband, Stuart Fraass, a Boston mortgage broker, decided it was time to focus on starting a family. They are now expecting their first child due in early September. She doesn’t anticipate too much difficulty balancing her career and family because for the most part she enjoys regular hours, except when covering big stories, and having some seniority at the station will allow her more time off.
Her advice to women is to practice “Realistic Persistence”. “What I mean by this”, Frances explained, “is be willing to go after your dreams, but be realistic about what you can do. For example, many of the contestants on “American Idol” can’t sing, yet insist it’s their destiny. If you hear “No” once, ask another 10 people. If you ask for an interview, and a door slams, knock on 10 more doors.”
Frances’ persistence, passion, and professionalism have earned her a top slot in news with an audience who loves to tune in each night. “Every day I am constantly in awe of how much I learn. I leave work knowing more than I did when I came in.”
While anchoring the news is her first passion, she is also active in several charities including “Project Bread;The Walk For Hunger” and “Making Strides Against Cancer.”