She’s Gotta Story: Minerva Pérez 30 Years in TV News

By M.G. Angulo  | Photo by Alisa Murray

Minerva Pérez

Minerva Pérez

There was an elderly African American man who passed away nearly 14 years ago. Some will remember him as a father, friend, co-worker and husband. Others, like Minerva Pérez, will remember him for his amazing and encouraging story. Through a series of decisions and by simply walking down a particular path ahead of her, Pérez went from a Rio Grande Valley girl to a trailblazing newswoman who had the chance to interview the late George Dawson, a black man from Dallas, Texas, who learned to read just five years before he died.

During her interview with Dawson, Pérez discovered he was sold to a farmer as a child because his family couldn’t feed him and was illiterate until he was in his late 90s. Although illiterate, Dawson married and raised five children — all of whom received an education — but when he turned 98 years-old, Dawson decided he wanted to learn how to read and write.

That same year, he wrote a book entitled Life Is So Good, which received national media attention. “What an inspiration he was,” Pérez said, recalling the time she walked through the chapters of Dawson’s life.

Bob Boudreaux and Minerva Pérez during a Channel 13 newscast.

Bob Boudreaux and Minerva Pérez during a Channel 13 newscast.

Those were the kinds of stories Pérez was exposed to and subsequently shared with a mass audience for more than a decade as the former news anchor for Houston’s KTRK ABC Channel 13. During her 15 years there, Pérez covered major stories like the death of Tejano singer Selena, the 2003 Columbia space shuttle explosion and the 1993 siege of the Waco, Texas Branch Davidians compound.

Pérez, who lives in Sugar Land and is a wife and mother to two, didn’t just make her mark in Houston. Over the past three decades, she broke the big headlines and covered major stories in Phoenix and Los Angeles.

Minerva Pérez at the site of a plane crash in San Antonio, circa 1982.

Minerva Pérez at the site of a plane crash in San Antonio, circa 1982.

While in Phoenix, Peréz covered Hands Across America with Governor Bruce Babbitt near the Grand Canyon and the first-ever impeachment of Governor Evan Mecham. In Los Angeles, she covered the 48-hour live coverage of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Los Angeles in 1987, and she won a Golden Mike Award for covering the Rodney King beating. In fact, she was one of the first people to see George Holliday’s amateur video of the Rodney King beating,  as her newsroom got the first copy of this historic clip.

Pérez’s reporting throughout her career earned her two Golden Mike Awards, a Cesar Award, a Los Angeles Press Club Award, three Emmy nominations and several Associated Press awards.

I Gotta Story

Minerva Pérez reporting in the 1980s.

Minerva Pérez reporting in the 1980s.

The stories, the people and the events Pérez has covered are historic, varied and extremely memorable. And the road she’s taken to be able to share these stories wasn’t a breeze by any means, one of the reasons she’s penned her first autobiographical book I Gotta Story: My 30 Years in TV News.

The 172 page book takes the reader through Pérez’s career and candidly reveals the ins and outs of television journalism. I Gotta Story takes a look at her career as a television journalist, talk show host, producer and publisher. Readers will have the chance to experience Pérez’s career journey starting with her days as an intern in the Rio Grande Valley followed by her gradual ascension to some of the nation’s biggest television markets.

“However cathartic, I mostly wanted to show the television journalists coming after me that it’s a tough career and not all about the fame and glamour that seduce so many young people today,” Pérez said. “Only a few of us survive long-term.”

Her book, Pérez pointed out, reveals the hows and whys of her becoming a journalist, as well as her advancement — and struggles — throughout her career. In the pages, she pours out the good, the bad and the ugly. There are memories that will inspire, bring sorrow, produce laughter and possibly ignite anger.

Balde Rodríguez and Minerva Pérez during a book signing.

Balde Rodríguez and Minerva Pérez during a book signing.

Eight years in the making, since its release, Pérez has sold more than 300 copies of I Gotta Story.  Her motivation was to put some of her career highlights on paper, first for herself and then for future journalists. “That I reached that goal is very rewarding,” she said. “I hope that the young, aspiring broadcast journalists see the real behind the scenes look at the career. Some of it is very hard work, some of it is perseverance, some of it is not pretty.”

But all hasn’t been revealed in I Gotta Story, Pérez said. In fact, she still has plenty more to talk about. “I must admit, I didn’t include everything in the first book. I left some stories out that need to be told. My publisher is encouraging me to write another one, so I may.”

Making Moves

Although Pérez had a successful run as a news anchor, she didn’t plan a career as a television journalist. “Oddly, I never aspired to be a journalist,” Pérez said. “I fell into it and managed to stay. I thought I’d last just a few years and do something else. But the years turned into decades. I never expected that.”

In 2007, however, Pérez left television news, a departure she made on her own terms. “It was time. Thank goodness it was my choice.” In 2008, she created Latina Voices: Smart Talk, a syndicated television show that discusses universal topics from a Latina perspective.

An Excerpt from Minerva Pérez’s New Book

200-perez-bookI Gotta Story is filled with historic news events, including the time Minerva Pérez met Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro while she was reporting in Cuba before the normalization of United States–Cuba relations. It was 1981, she was a court reporter and at the end of it all, she got his autograph. The following is an excerpt from her book regarding that memory: “

… Suddenly, I see a small mob walking toward us. In the middle of this mob was Fidel (Castro) wearing his usual green fatigues uniform. We stayed put, refusing to be moved out of the way by the crowd and bodyguards that walked in front and behind him. A tall man with a rigid posture, Fidel was a sight. Loved or hated, the man had ‘it’ or charisma … and … we didn’t have a camera …”

I Gotta Story is out in major bookstores including Barnes & Noble, and It is full of quirky, inspiring, funny and heart-wrenching stories that permanently impacted the journalist and shows the reality of covering news. For more information, visit

“When I looked around, I found that a Latina voice was missing in the national dialogue,” said Pérez, who is also the show’s executive producer. “I, with the help of co-producer Sofía Adrogué, have made 104 shows to date.” The show is also being seen in Spain and Romania through social media.

“We’ve interviewed an array of VIPs: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor; Olympian Steve López; Houston Mayor Annise Parker; Olympian boxer Marlen Esparza; former U.S. Attorney General Al Gonzales; Lakewood Church’s Dodie Osteen and Houston Dynamo Brian Ching, to name a few,” Pérez said.

Latina Voices runs on Sundays at 10 am on Houston Public Media TV 8 and at 5:30 am on KHOU Channel 11. HTV/COMCAST Cable Channel 16 also features the show on Wednesday and Sunday at 8 am and 8 pm, plus it’s streamed on

Finding Fort Bend

After living in Los Angeles for some time, Pérez decided it was time to leave “the big city” and search for a home that was more conducive to her family — like enrolling her children in better schools, for example. In 1992, she moved to Sugar Land, where she’s been living contentedly for 23 years. “There were better schools in Fort Bend,” she said. “The best choice I ever made was to settle in Fort Bend County. I love it here.”

In the past 23 years, Minerva has served the community she loves with her philanthropy work with the Literacy Council of Fort Bend and Asians Against Domestic Abuse. She has also emceed numerous county events over the years – “too many to count.” The events that immediately come to her mind, however, include the Shakespeare Festival at the George Library, the Cinco de Mayo Celebration at the Moore House and another five Cinco de Mayo events at the Fort Bend County fairgrounds. “I also modeled for the Fort Bend Junior League’s Sugar Plum Luncheon,” Pérez added. “I hope to keep serving my community in some fashion.”

So what does the next chapter in Pérez’s life hold? Stay tuned and keep reading, as this broadcast television journalist, executive producer and author always has a story to tell.

 About Minerva Pérez . . .

Minerva Pérez and the late Marvin Zindler celebrated Zindler’s birthday in Bellaire.

Minerva Pérez and the late Marvin Zindler celebrated Zindler’s birthday in Bellaire.

FBF: Is there something about you most people wouldn’t know?

MP: You’ll read some tidbits in my book, but one of them is I’m heard reading the news in the U2 song Desire, the Hollywood recut. Apparently, Bono and his buddies just lifted off one of my newscasts, and I never got paid!” she laughed.

Then ABC personality Geraldo Rivera and Minerva Pérez at a KTRK sponsor night.

Then ABC personality Geraldo Rivera and Minerva Pérez at a KTRK sponsor night.

FBF: What are some of your hobbies or passions?

MP:  “I love to cook, and I love getting lost in books and movies ever since my second grade teacher Connie Frater took us to see The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews.”

FBF:  What does it feel like to be role model, to be looked up to and admired for your accomplishments?

MP: “If I am a role model, as some say, it was by accident. I never set out to be one, but I appreciate and am humbled by the title.”