Nose for news

Courtesy photo

Caleb Moreno holds a KHOU camera and mike that was offered to him to shoot a photo when the floods came to Wharton several years ago.

Jimmy Olsen, boy reporter from the days of Clark Kent and “Superman” fame, has nothing over Wharton’s own boy reporter, Caleb Moreno. While Jimmy Olsen was a make-believe character in the Superman series, Caleb Moreno is very much alive and well and covering new stories wherever he can find them in the Wharton area.

When Moreno isn’t attending classes as a freshman at Wharton High School, he might be found on his bicycle with his KPRW2 microphone and camera filming and reporting local happenings. He got his start several years ago when he was thirteen years old.  Even before Hurricane Harvey, Moreno started reporting local stories. Moreno was on the scene when the Colorado River was rising in May 2016, and again when the Briar Point Apartments burned in June 2016.

Why a bicycle?  Simple … Caleb isn’t old enough to drive just yet, even though he’s a teen. He’s already worn out two bicycles and he’s working on his third.  Moreno said, “The first one [came] from my church, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church. It was [from] a raffle and I bought the second one. And the third one [came] from the Wharton Police Department.” 

The newest one has a name – “Wharton County Public Safety News Bike.”

If anything of interest is happening on the local scene, Moreno is likely to report it on his news feed on Facebook. Glancing over his most recent posts, he has covered weather events, traffic tie-ups, and school happenings. 

Last month, Moreno spotted Albert Villegas, who is the managing editor of the Wharton Journal-Spectator, at a Wharton basketball game he was covering. He told Villegas he had videotaped a WISD ag community meeting. 

“I told (Caleb) we would likely be interested in seeing it, and we used a photo because it was presented in a good way with people in the photo listening to Superintendent Herrington,” Villegas said. “First time I remember meeting Caleb was at the Juneteenth Festival in 2019 and he spoke to me about how he is interested in covering news here in some capacity. It’s not often you meet someone this young who likes covering news, but here he is.”

The latest event Moreno covered was the Wharton County Junior College dedication of the new Corbett Park on Sunday, Feb. 2.

Wharton Police Chief Terry Lynch has nothing but praise for this eager young man, who volunteered to help the officers with and deliver packages for the Blue Santa Project back in December. Although KPRW2 is not an extension of the Wharton PD, the department does cooperate with Moreno and the teen cooperates with officers. Lynch described the cub reporter as “very humorous, fun to be around.”

When he’s home, he listens to the scanner, then rushes on his bike to follow the leads. Although Lynch sometimes worries about his well-being, he greatly admires the drive and dedication that he sees in one so young.

WPD had this to say about Moreno: “Caleb, a freshman in high school, exemplifies our town’s best through drive, determination and best of all, his willingness to invest his time on those that make our city great: its citizens!

“He hopes to achieve his news casting goals by attending college, starting off at WCJC, then transferring to an accredited university. His favorite classes right now include English, computer classes, and science. He also enjoys music classes because it helps him prepare for his gigs as a DJ, another of his many talents.”

His most unusual story so far has been the Harvey flood in 2017, when he took pictures and broadcast from several locations. His appearance was so surprising that Houston news stations KHOU 11 and KPRC 2 took time to talk to him and even went so far as to interview him for their own broadcasts.

When asked who he would like to emulate, Moreno replied, “… ABC13 Houston sportscaster David Nino and meteorologists Colin Myers, and KHOU 11 Houston meteorologist David Paul.” He also has contact with KPRC 2 reporter Jacob Rascon.

One of his adventures had him in a picture with a Channel 2 news mike and another had him posing with a Channel 11 camera. If he keeps up at this pace, he will be on their payroll or someone else’s payroll in just a matter of years. Then some Wharton residents will remember Moreno when he got his start around town.

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