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CNN Producer Marjoe Aguiling ’01 Learns to Be Nimble With the News

All of his training and experience rode shotgun with Marjoe Aguiling ’01 as he sped through the streets of Caracas to the presidential palace. After days of diplomatic wrangling, he finally had the green light for an exclusive interview with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, and now nothing was going to stop him.

“You can’t go back home without the interview,” Aguiling says. “You stay until you get it.”

news anchors
Such is the life of a field producer on the team of Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent for CNN.

“Christiane is the most recognized and respected journalist across the globe,” Aguiling says. “She expects the best, which is great. Every day requires peak performance. You have to be nimble, and you can’t blink when something goes wrong. You just figure out a solution.”

At the palace in Caracas, Aguiling not only had to rustle up engineers and a local translator, he had to troubleshoot production snafus, which on this day meant all but rappelling from the roof to ensure a successful taping. Once the interview was in the can, he rushed to meet a local producer, who pulled a tarp off his backyard satellite dish so the interview could be beamed to the main CNN server in New York. There, hours of footage were edited to fit a few minutes of air time, and Aguiling was back on a plane, preparing for his next assignment. If it all sounds terribly exciting, not to mention demanding and exhausting, well, that’s just the nature of the beast, he allows.

“It’s like shooting at a charging lion — no margin for error,” Aguiling says.

These days, he is helping to prepare others to face such barbed challenges. He’s six months into a new role as director of content production for CNN in New York.

“I’ve been given an opportunity to be a leader now,” Aguiling says. “My job requires that I have a great understanding of what’s under the hood.”

man looking away from camera

For Marjoe Aguiling ’01, travel to cities such as Stockholm has been a constant of his job as a CNN producer.

His transition to management only strengthens the connection to his undergrad experiences at Chapman University, even as he pursues an MBA in media management at Fordham University. At Chapman, he studied with people like Harry Cheney, a professor at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts and an award-winning Hollywood editor.

“I still think about his tips when I work today,” Aguiling says. After Chapman, Aguiling’s first professional experience came in advertising, which taught him “the art of the tease” and how to tell a story in 30 seconds. He then transitioned to a role as associate producer for
, a medical news show that gave him a lot of room to grow. That led to a producing job on a documentary project for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers celebrating the year in flight. The film was widely hailed and earned Aguiling an Emmy at age 30.

“It was a huge editing and production job, and I felt like a mad scientist in the middle of it,” Aguiling says.

Then came the giant leap to CNN, where he has worked on a variety of shows, including
Parker Spitzer
, for which he landed a producer role, and
Erin Burnett OutFront
, which he helped launch. Along the way, he amassed the expertise to “create a CNN show from scratch,” and he has loved every minute of the experience, he says. “I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve been part of something important.”

To this day, he’s still learning, and his importance to the network is still growing. That makes his work all the more satisfying, he says.

“It continues to be a real treat for me to be part of such a great team,” Aguiling says.

Dennis Arp

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