For One Trojan, a Passion for News Opened Up a New World

CBS News Correspondent Manuel Bojorquez travels the world finding the stories that matter.

Manuel Bojorquez ’00 is a CBS News national correspondent based in Miami, covering a huge region that includes Central America. That means he is on an airplane — a lot. But that’s OK with him. “I love the travel,” he says, “although there is wear and tear.”

Bojorquez’s work has taken him a long way from South L.A., where he grew up. Born in El Salvador, Bojorquez can still remember how he and his family had to flee that country’s civil war. They migrated to Los Angeles, settling near USC, and it wasn’t long before he was recruited to Foshay Learning Center.

Bojorquez soon joined a new academic prep program that was just beginning to recruit local students: USC’s Neighborhood Academic Initiative (NAI). He is proud of being part of NAI’s first graduating class of and winning full tuition to the university after graduating from high school. By then, he already knew what he wanted to do: After witnessing the 1992 L.A. riots, he was determined to be a TV news reporter.

He will never forget the story he wrote and produced while at USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism that made people take notice of his storytelling ability.

“I saw this old man selling oranges on the freeway off-ramp near USC.  He was there every day. I decided he might be a good story,” Bojorquez recalls.

“He was making $25 a day, enough to send some money home, and he was living with five guys in an apartment. But he was thinking about returning home because it was so hard to make a living here.  He said if you’re so poor that you have to eat dirt, I’d rather have to eat dirt where my family is.”

Bojorquez remains a gifted storyteller. Last year, over a five-week period, he reported on three disasters: Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Hurricane Irma in Florida and the 7.1 magnitude earthquake in central Mexico.

Over one week this past August, he covered the mass shooting at the Madden gaming convention in Jacksonville, before moving on to the Florida gubernatorial primary election.

Looking back, Bojorquez credits much of his success to USC, beginning in middle school with NAI. Like so many students who came after him, the program helped prepare him for success in college. NAI has since graduated more than 1,000 students, with 83 percent of them enrolling in four-year universities. And this is why he is an active member of the Trojan Family.

“From my first job to my current job, there has been a USC connection,” he says. “They’re the family you choose.”

By Debbie Goffa