A Job Filled With Spontaneity
Arthur Rascon, 2013 Alumni Achievement Award winner, College of Fine Arts and Communication
Even while being chased by men with machetes through a jungle in Nicaragua, Arthur “Art” Rascon (BA ’85), a 21-time Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist, has never feared for his life on the job. Through the ups and downs his career has presented, Rascon has strived to remain close to the Lord and fully realize His divine influence and protection. His own efforts, the role the gospel has played in his life and work, and constant guidance of the Spirit have helped him at every turn.
Despite his success in the industry, Rascon has had to work hard to mold himself into a quality reporter. “I practically flunked out of English,” he says of his high school years. “I was not a good reader. I was not a good speaker. I certainly couldn’t carry a story. But now I’ve won Emmys in writing. Sure, it comes through a tremendous amount of hard work, but it’s all because of the Lord’s blessings.”
Through his work, Rascon has had the opportunity to bless the lives of others as well. While covering a story in Honduras, a young man began following his crew around. Instead of ignoring him, Rascon asked him about his situation. Marlo, who was 17 years old, had been living under a bridge for seven years, awaiting the return of his parents, who had moved to the United States many years prior. A local dump was his only source of food and clothes.
Appalled, Rascon took Marlo out to eat. Sandwich in hand, Rascon raised it to his mouth when Marlo interjected, “No, no, wait. We need to pray first.” The young man proceeded to pray for his blessings, Rascon and his crew, and everything he had in his life.
“This is a kid who has nothing,” Rascon says, “but yet expresses more gratitude than anyone I have ever seen express.”
Rascon is grateful, too, because the Spirit has saved his life on multiple occasions. Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Rascon found himself driving to Gulfport, Mississippi, in the middle of the night to shoot a live broadcast early the next morning. Suddenly, he felt an impression to slow down. His photographer and producer, who were also in the car, urged him to keep going in order to make their deadline. Unwilling to ignore the promptings of the Spirit, Rascon came to a stop in the middle of the deserted highway.
“I got out of the car and walked forward just beyond the reach of our headlights,” Rascon says. “The entire roadway had been washed away—it was destroyed. It was a miracle that we survived that, and it was only through the impressions of the Spirit.”
The photographers and producers at his news station have come to feel a sense of protection whenever they are with him, no matter the level of danger in which they find themselves. Rascon believes that this is because of his faith in the Lord and the Spirit which guides his actions.
It was this Spirit that drew Rascon to BYU in the first place, because it “offered the most practical experience and one of the most tremendous opportunities that any aspiring journalist could ask for,” he says. And he’s got more advice for aspiring journalists: “[They] should get as much hands-on experience as possible while in college, and not simply specialize in the humanities, as it is a journalist’s job to be well-versed in all subjects, from law to medicine to politics.”
What are his field’s greatest challenges? “The work is nonstop,” Rascon says. And “whether anchoring the local news or traveling across the world to cover international developments, the job is filled with spontaneity.” After covering each story, Rascon hurries home as quickly as possible to be with his family. “It’s been challenging,” he reflects, “but it’s also been incredibly doable because of the Lord’s blessing of allowing us balance.”
Rascon says his wife and family have been fully supportive of his career. His legacy has lived on, as two of his sons have graduated from BYU and entered the field of broadcast journalism. Jacob Rascon (BA ’11) works for NBC based out of Dallas, Texas, while Matthew Rascon (BA ’13) works for NBC based out of San Diego, California. Rascon has strived to instill essential values, such as love and kindness, in his eight children.
Rascon has learned these values while reporting abroad. When covering a refugee camp in Albania following the conflict in Serbia and Kosovo, he met a young girl who had lost most of her family. She and her father had been ripped from their home and forced out of their country. The camp was surrounded by the dying and dead.
As a gift for taking the time to speak with her, the girl’s father offered him a half-filled bottle of water, despite their own obvious lack of food and water. Rascon initially refused the gift, but the man insisted.
“I didn’t want to take it—I have all the water I need in the world. To me, it was a perfect example of love,” Rascon says. “What calms my heart more than anything else is prayer and a knowledge of God’s love. . . . We’ve been in some really heated situations, but in each case, I have felt an overwhelming sense of calm and assurance that everything is going to be okay.”
—Kendra Smith (’17)