Former student covers downtown happenings

Ben Olivo
Photo by Billy Calzada
Ben Olivo, a business reporter for the San Antonio Express-News, writes The Downtown Blog.

Olivo took classes "on and off" at San Antonio college from 1996 to 2001, he said.

"During that span, I worked as a staff writer, entertainment editor, managing editor and online editor. My most memorable story was out scooping the Express-News during the search for college president by listing 7 of 8 candidates," Olivo said.

"I learned many lessons at The Ranger," he continued. "One I will never forget: I think I used the word 'implement' in a story about 10 times. (I was told) to never again use that word. 

Eighteen years later, it's only appeared in one of my stories -- in a quote. It still pains me to write that word, even here. But it taught me that sometimes you have to self-blacklist words to jar yourself from the monotonous voice in your head. Be creative. Force yourself to come up with other ways to craft sentences."
While taking classes and working at The Ranger, Olivo also worked at the Express-News as an editorial assistant in Sports, Metro and Business.

In summer of 2000, Olivo took a copy editing and reporting internship at The Cambodia Daily. His beat was malaria, which allowed him to travel to rural parts of the country with the World Health Organization distributing mosquito nets.

"I read an article in 'Brill's Content' about how the newspaper was bringing Western-style journalism to Cambodia and sent the editor an email out of the blue. He said to send clips, I did, and they offered me the position. By pure coincidence there had been an editor, Liz Wright, who went from working at the Express-News to that newspaper. But she was gone by the time I got there."

He came back to the Express-News and worked in Features and mySA. In 2008, he took on the downtown beat as a way to keep his writing sharp. "A lot of the blogging I did on my own time," he said. The blog's success spawned the weekly Downtown Dispatches column and eventually his current job as real estate reporter on the business desk.

Click here to see Ben's latest endeavor.