Vanessa Araiza joined WFTS in August 2019 as their weekend morning anchor and reporter. She has since moved to weekend nights which has done wonders for her sleep schedule! Tampa has always been on her mind since her first Gasparilla parade in the early 2000’s.
Originally from the Ocala area, Vanessa never imagined her career would lead her down the path of television. In fact, she was voted most shy in high school band camp (not necessarily one to go in front of a camera). It was a chance interview by a local reporter in high school that changed her future path.
Vanessa attended the University of West Florida and worked at the ABC affiliate in Pensacola. Her first on-air job took her to Dothan, Alabama. In the years she worked at the CBS affiliate, she learned the importance of the platform she was given. Her stories created change for people who were living in unsafe conditions, held companies accountable, and traveled with WWII veterans to Washington D.C. Her time at WTVY earned her an Associated Press award for Best Specialized Reporter.
Birmingham, Alabama was the next stop for Vanessa. Fox 6 was home for close to five years where Vanessa covered everything from contentious political runs to a Christmas tornado outbreak. The heartbreaking coverage was recognized with an Edward R. Murrow award.
In 2019, Florida was calling and WKMG in Orlando welcomed Vanessa back home. She refers to this as her master's degree in journalism. Orlando is a different kind of beast and is a constant wheel of news. While in Orlando, Vanessa traveled to Puerto Rico three times after hurricane Maria to tell the stories of thousands of people affected.
She would travel to Puerto Rico a fourth time in 2020 after earthquakes rocked the unstable island.
Vanessa has always made volunteering a part of her life. She currently serves on the board of EmpowHERment and is active with the Children’s Cancer Center and the Junior League of Tampa. During the pandemic, she served as a hospice foster for Second Chance Friends animal rescue taking in an English Bulldog named Addie and a Boxer named Roxie.
Recent Articles by Vanessa: