Meet KSAT’s newest reporter Zaria Oates

Zaria will report for the Nightbeat on Wednesday-Sunday nights

Zaria Oates (KSAT 12) (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – You’ll start seeing a new face on KSAT this month – the talented Zaria Oates has joined the team as our newest reporter. (See her latest stories here.)

Zaria came to KSAT from Memphis, where she worked for the local ABC affiliate.

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San Antonio is familiar for Zaria, though. She’s a graduate of Samuel L. Clemens High School in Schertz.

She’s excited to join the KSAT team and share stories in San Antonio.

Zaria answered a few questions to help viewers get to know her better.

How do you feel about coming back to Texas and covering news in a familiar area?

I’m so grateful and excited to be back in Texas. It’s a different feeling being back home. I know so much about the communities here and so many people here. There’s somewhat of a higher stake reporting here. I want to make the people who raised me proud, I want to make the teachers who taught me proud, and I want to make sure every San Antonian feels proud to call this place home. However, I also want to be trusted to hold people accountable and to hold officials’ feet to the fire when necessary. I want to be a source of information, integrity, and care for San Antonio.

Zaria previously reported for the ABC affiliate in Memphis, Tenn. (Copyright 2024 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

What made you want to pursue journalism as a profession?

I’ve always been interested in the news, particularly politics. My dad is a veteran and was in the military most of my life until he retired recently (after 29 years in the Army). When I was younger, and he came back from deployments, he would typically bring back photos of what was going on overseas. Much of what I saw in the pictures wasn’t what I saw in the news. I never knew why, but I knew I wanted to make sure I could share any information I could get my hands on with anyone. Eventually, I got an unpaid internship opportunity at BAMC and never wanted to shake my interest from then on.

When you’re not working, how do you enjoy spending your time?

Pickleball, travel, hanging out with my family, and movies. I love a good action movie. My all-time favorite movie is Salt with Angelina Jolie, but any action movie is great for me. I’m a pretty competitive person but I’m still getting my skills together when it comes to pickleball! I love a good few games of pickleball outside of work though. I’ve been a travel girl since birth! I will travel solo, with people I’ve never met, and, of course, with my family. I’ve been to the Dominican Republic, Vienna, Hallstatt, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, The Dead Sea, Jamaica, Cambridge, London, and many states across the U.S., with plans for so many more states and countries!

Zaria Oates (KSAT 12) (Copyright 2024 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

What’s a story that you’ve covered in the past that still sticks with you?

While I was working in Memphis, Tyre Nichols was killed during a traffic stop by Memphis Police. His death sparked protests, legal change, and more civic engagement from Memphians. One of the biggest stories from this incident I covered was a protest when Memphians marched from Martyrs Park to the bridge and blocked the bridge from any incoming or outgoing traffic. We covered the protest for hours; I remember my Apple Watch said I got my 10,000 steps that day from the protest alone just from how long we were out there, walking back and forth on the bridge, doing interviews, and following the protest. It was another day that reignited my passion for journalism. I got to speak with people who fought that hard for a cause and interviewed people in traffic who were somehow both positively moved by and negatively impacted by the protest. It’s a coverage experience you can’t ask for because no one wants to see the kind of tragedy that happened to Tyre Nichols ever happen. But it’s a coverage experience in which you take pride in the trust your newsroom and community have in you to appropriately share the story and get all the information to your viewers while keeping them engaged. I’ll never forget the night of that protest.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Anywhere! Right now, I’m really interested in Venice, Croatia, Belize, Japan, and South Korea. I’m not sure where’s next, but I’m excited to figure it out!

Zaria Oates (KSAT 12) (Copyright 2024 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

About the Author

Spencer Heath is a Digital Journalist at KSAT. Spencer graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied Radio-Television-Film. He’s worked as a journalist in San Antonio since June of 2022. Outside the newsroom, he enjoys watching movies and spending time with family.

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