5 Questions with...NBC 5's Natalie Martinez

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5 Questions with...NBC 5's Natalie Martinez

Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the city's most popular personalities on the spot with everyone's favorite weekly local celeb feature entitled "5 Questions with..."

On Wednesdays, exclusively on CSNChicago.com, it's our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This week's guest, one of the top field reporters in Chicago broadcast journalism today whose passion and dedication to her craft has earned her accolades from both her peers and fans alike, she's been a mainstay at NBC 5 Chicago News for the past decade and, as busy as she is, she still finds time to enjoy Chicago's terrific social scene on a regular basis, a native New Yorker who now calls Chicago home, here are "5 Questions with...NATALIE MARTINEZ!"

BIO: Natalie Martinez joined NBC 5 as a general assignment reporter in January 2001.

You've seen Natalie covering major stories such as the recent Illinois state elections to the UAL trial that nearly grounded the nations largest carrier. You've also seen her cover stories that matter to the "little guy.

With over a decade of reporting and anchoring, she came to NBC 5 from WXXA-TV, the Fox station in Albany, NY. During her final two years at WXXA, Martinez was the primary anchor there. She had previously worked as a reporter and weekend anchor at WXXA. Prior to her work at WXXA, Martinez had worked as an anchor, reporter, and producer for several upstate New York television and radio stations. Here in Chicago, Natalie is very active and recognized in the Latino community and a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists; UNAVOZ, a Hispanic leadership association; and the National Association for Female Executives. She also does charitable work for LOOKINGLASS and STAR LIGHTSTAR BRITE foundations among others, and frequently serves as Mistress of Ceremonies for a variety of charitable events throughout the year.

A native of Buffalo, NY, Martinez is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo, and University of North London on scholarship.

1) CSNChicago.com: Natalie, that was quite an Election Day experience for the entire state of Illinois last week and the upcoming Chicago mayoral election in February definitely looks to be interesting with potential candidateformer White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel likely to appear on the ballot. Journalism ethics aside, are you personally surprised with the recent outcome of the U.S. Senator victory for Mark Kirk (R) over Alexi Giannoulias (D) and, a follow-up question; do you think Kirks win is a sign that the people of Illinois are disappointed with the current White House leadership of President Obama?

Martinez: As far as the Senate race, I wasn't terribly surprised. The feeling that I got from voters was that they were on the fence the whole time. Many expressed to me that the ONLY reason they were voting for Giannoulias was because, if they were democratic, they didn't want to lose the seat in DC. Then, obviously, many didn't vote that way in the end. Not a very good reason to vote FOR or AGAINST anyone, if that's the only reason you can come up with, right? That is certainly just one sign that I've seen anyway, that people are disappointed with politics in general.

Everything about the mayoral race - including the abrupt announcement by the mayor himself - is interesting. I can't wait to see what happens in February.

2) CSNChicago.com: Youre approaching your 10-year anniversary being in Chicago and at NBC 5. Congrats on that by the way! With the countless number of stories youve covered over the past decade, there has to be that one tough story you covered that you still think about to this day. Tell us about that story.

Martinez: It's not the only one that I think about daily, but it's one of the main stories I just can't forget about.

I always think about Frankie Valencia. The story bothers me to no end. He was the stand-out DePaul student who was gunned down outside a Halloween party last year. The suspects were known gang bangers who felt "dissed" by being turned away from the party. Frankie and his friend just happened to have walked into the party and were shot randomly by the suspects, who returned, armed, to exact their revenge.

I met his mom in a heartfelt interview. I spoke with people at his school who couldn't have painted a more perfect picture of a human being.

So that kind of senseless violence, that ends in the death of one of the most promising young men I've ever heard about, hurts me to the core. I keep his photo on my desk and another on a picture frame at home to remind me of what we're doing on the streets of Chicago. It wasn't long after the stories aired, that the alleged killers were caught.

3) CSNChicago.com: Two-part question coming up. Youre from New York state, so who would you say is your all-time favorite New York athleteand since youve been in Chicago, who is your favorite all-time Chicago athlete?

Martinez: For New York, I always loved Pat LaFontaine. When he was playing with the Sabres, he was always exciting to watch. And he'd come into the restaurant I worked at, sometimes missing a tooth. I didn't realize for about a year it was the same guy I enjoyed watching on the ice. I thought he may have been in need of a dental plan!

For Chicago, Patrick Kane! He's also from Ruff Buff (Buffalo) and I'm just so proud of that Blackhawks team last year! CHICAGO NEEDED THAT! Don't you agree?! In addition, he combines the hard-core drinking methods admired by both Buffalonians and Chicagoans (laughing).

4) CSNChicago.com: Theres no question the NBC 5 newsroom is filled with many talented on-air anchorsreporters. This may be a tough one to answer, but who do you admire most in that newsroom and why?
Martinez: I admire my news director Chris Pena and our VP of News Frank Whittaker. I mean it. Theyre always in first and out last. And the rest of us just fill in the blanks. They make the decisions and get the ball rolling when the rest of us focus on just one story or portion of the newscast. These guys have command of everything, and make it look easy.

5) CSNChicago.com: With Thanksgiving coming up in a couple of weeks, family traditions (be it a big feast, watchingplaying football, etc.) are commonplace for this festive holiday. What Martinez family tradition(s) did you most enjoy growing up and still enjoy to this day?

Martinez: I had an unconventional upbringing, but I will say this.... our most recent traditions are as follows:

Step one: Get everyone to dad and step-moms house from wherever they are on the map (they live in Buffalo)

Step two: Eat, drink, repeat

Step three: Repeat that again

Step four: Watch a LOT of football and bad TV

Step five: Attempt to work off a few pounds running around with the kids in the family

Step six: Make phone calls to immediate family and pass the phone around the tablehouse

Step seven: Slip into food coma

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Anything you would like to promote Natalie? Tell usCSNChicago.com readers want to hear about it!

Martinez: Let's see. I'm emceeing the Puerto Rican Bar Association's annual dinner this week. Then, I'm doing the Willis Tower stair climb for work (my nickname here is "Extreme Martinez" because I've done a lot of crazy stories lately, including flying in a by-plane for the Air & Water Show, BMX riding, race car driving, etc.).

I'm supposed to be in a wing eating contest this week as well, but I'm working 2-10p, so I'll have to have someone step in for me (ha!).

Oh! Next week, I'm also working with Urban Prep for a charity, a Harry Potter screening.

Martinez LINKS:

NBC 5 Chicago News official website

Natalie Martinez on Facebook

E-mail Natalie Martinez

Tim Anderson's birthday present from home plate umpire was first major-league ejection

Tim Anderson's birthday present from home plate umpire was first major-league ejection

On his 24th birthday, Tim Anderson’s present from home plate umpire Jim Wolf was his first major-league ejection.

In the fifth inning of the White Sox 3-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics, Anderson fouled off a pitch that landed in the opposing batter’s box. But A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell picked it up in what was ruled to be fair territory and threw the ball to first for the out.

Anderson pleaded his case saying the ball went foul. Wolf agreed, according to Anderson, which only further confused the White Sox shortstop.

“I told him that was BS,” Anderson said. “And he tossed me.”

Anderson said that he was surprised to be ejected so fast. So was manager Rick Renteria, who was thrown out moments after Anderson.

“I don’t want to get in trouble,” Renteria said. “The players having emotion, they are battling. I just think we need to grow a little thicker skin.”

Anderson said that he was appreciative of his manager coming to his defense.

“He kinda had a point and let me know he had my back,” Anderson said of Renteria. “Speaks a lot of him.”

A day after scoring nine runs on 18 hits, the White Sox failed to generate any offense on Friday. The team’s best chance came in the ninth inning.

But with runners at the corners and two outs, Matt Davidson put a good rip on the ball to center field, only to fly out at the warning track.

Anderson and Renteria were watching the game together in the clubhouse, and both believed the White Sox had tied the ballgame.

“We all jumped up and were excited but it kind of fell short,” Anderson said.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Exclusive interview with Mark Buehrle

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Exclusive interview with Mark Buehrle

On the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast, Chuck Garfien goes 1-on-1 with the star of the weekend, Mark Buehrle.

Buehrle tells an absolutely amazing bachelor party story and discloses why he wore No. 56.

Take a trip down memory lane and listen to the White Sox Talk Podcast here