As a 20-year news veteran, J. Israel Balderas has reported from coast to coast. Along the way, he accumulated a number of prestigious awards from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Florida Associated Press Broadcasters and the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas.
He began his journalism career working for the CBS TV station in Tulsa, Oklahoma, while simultaneously attending Oral Roberts University. Balderas earned a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in communications and theology respectively. After graduation, he spent two years working as a youth pastor, and soon after returned to television, working for the WB Network and CBS stations in Nashville, Tennessee.
After covering the country music scene, Balderas shifted his focus to politics and policy, moving to Washington, D.C., where he worked as a reporter and news anchor for several cable news stations. During this time, he covered major stories involving Capitol Hill and the White House.
As part of covering the 2000 presidential race, Balderas reported from the campaign trail and the political conventions. Following the contested presidential election between George Bush and Al Gore, he also covered the legal challenges that culminated in a Supreme Court case. This reporting led Balderas to seek law school enrollment.
But first, the terrorists attack on 9/11 brought Balderas too close to a national tragedy that brought Washington, D.C. to a halt for a few days. Living just a few miles away from the Pentagon, Balderas spent the day as a photojournalist, taking pictures of a smoldering building and documenting the day’s events that shocked the nation. In fact, he was one of a few journalists invited into a press conference conducted by Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld held inside the Pentagon that Tuesday night.
In 2002, Balderas began law school night classes at the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, while working as a segment producer for FOX News Sunday and a news producer at the Washington, D.C. bureau of the FOX News Channel during the day. Over the next four years, he participated in a national moot court competition; as staff member of the school’s CommLaw Conspectus Journal of Communications Law and Policy, Balderas published a law review article. He also was a student law clerk for former Chief Judge Royce Lamberth at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. But the most humbling experience at law school for Balderas was being selected by students and staff as the commencement speaker for the 2006 graduation ceremony.
Experience with communication law and policy for Balderas includes working at the Federal Communications Commission as a media advisor and as a summer associate at a telecommunications law firm. He initially passed the Maryland Bar and he was licensed in Virginia as a corporate counsel. Balderas continues to be admitted as an attorney with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
Balderas returned to TV journalism in 2007, working as a news anchor and reporter for FOX TV stations in Texas and North Carolina. While working at WCCB in Charlotte, he was named TV News Anchor of the Year by the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas. Working in the same capacity at the CBS station in West Palm Beach, Balderas has earned a number of awards and nominations, including one Emmy, a nomination for a second Emmy, and several Florida AP awards.
Balderas has been a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Hispanic National Bar Association, and the Board of Advisors at the Columbus School of Law.