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At the Desk with Matt Wintz: Investigative reporter Marisa Saenz

We're getting familiar with the familiar faces of 3News!

CLEVELAND — Think you know the staff here at 3News? Ever feel like you want to know more? Introducing: At the Desk with Matt Wintz!

This new series to "Sunday GO!" at 9 gets you familiar with the familiar faces at 3News, as Matt sits down at his (less than perfect) desk with a different reporter or anchor you've seen here on air.

For the premiere episode, we went with a newer face to the team, Marisa Saenz! She is new to our investigative team and has been here about a year. Here's what you thought you knew about Marisa:


Before joining the WKYC news team in March 2021, Marisa spent two years in El Paso, Texas, where she started her broadcast career at KFOX14 TV and CBS4 Local. During her time there, Marisa covered international stories, including breaking news of asylum seekers crossing into the U.S. from Mexico, the devastating Cielo Vista Aug. 3 Walmart shooting that left 23 people dead, and the surge in COVID-19 cases in the Borderland that made international news.

Credit: WKYC

While not reporting, you can find Marisa all around town, exploring a new state, city, and scene. Born and raised in the Houston area, Marisa has been spending time learning all the great sights and sounds the region has to offer.

Marisa, a self-proclaimed remarkable chef, spends ample time in her kitchen, trying local coffee shops around the city, and long-distance running on the lakefront.


But here's what you didn't know about Marisa, straight from the desk of Matt Wintz.

Matt: "Alright, Marisa is an investigative reporter, a self-proclaimed cook, who just knows her way around the kitchen. She's also the proud owner of a water bottle that is close to over a gallon, depending on how you fill it, right?"

Marisa: "I take it everywhere I go with me. As you should, take a seat!"

Matt: "Alright, let's get to you. Early on in your career, very first day on the job, you knew you were destined for great things that day, right? 

Marisa: "Even great pants. Okay, so I was fresh out of college, graduated three weeks ago. I was hungry, ready, excited. This was at my first station in El Paso. I got introduced to everyone, first day, first day jitters which got even worse because my boss and my managers went to lunch. Exciting, we're talking, kicking it up, all that stuff.

"I excused myself to use the ladies room and when I came back, I had to tell my boss, who is a female, I had to say, 'Shawna, I really need you to help me, because my pants split down the middle in the back.' Yeah, so I literally had to poke my head out of the bathroom and say, 'Shawna, I need you to come here.' Talk about a first impression!"

Matt: "Every time you cook -- let's talk about cooking for a sec -- you are a chef. I'm not sure if any viewer knows this, but every time you bring a meal in, the newsroom smells like a gourmet treat."

Marisa: "Whenever I indulge, I make homemade enchiladas, like our homemade family recipe. It looks really easy because it's a sauce, but it's actually very intricate; there's a lot that goes into it. It's kind of something that I grew up with. 

I'm a self-proclaimed chef, which I kind of stole from my dad (yeah, don't tell him); all his recipes, too. But growing up, my mom always said, 'You girls will never go hungry,' because my dad loves to cook.

"So, that's how me and my dad spend a lot of quality time when I go home. They're back in Houston, so I go back and it's my favorite thing to sit and grab a cold one while my dad cooks in the kitchen. It's my favorite thing, plus my sister went to culinary school, so she has her own coffee shop which we talk about all the time."


Matt asked Marisa a series of quick, no-thinking required questions to really get to know her.

Matt: "First question: Name a word that makes you cringe when you hear it."

Marisa: "Moist."

Matt: "Cake or pie?"

Marisa: "Cake."

Matt: "Say, 'G'day mate!' in an Australian accent.

Marisa: 'G'Day mate!'

Matt: "How many hours of sleep do you get per night?"

Marisa: "Probably 5?"

Matt: "How many pull ups can you do?"

Marisa: "Next question."

Matt: "What's your least favorite food?"

Marisa: "Brussel sprouts. You could drown them in butter; I still won't eat them."

Matt: "Ideal temperature outside?"

Marisa: "Oh, like 68, no wind, no clouds, sun."

Matt: "Favorite meteorologist?"

Marisa "Matt Wintz."

Matt: "Very good, the last answer, was just solid, lad we didn't practice that. Back to your: You had a career switch recently, at least locally where you were reporting before; now you're on the investigating side of things. That’s up your wheel house, right?"

Marisa "I've been at WKYC just over a year now, so just before that, it was eight or nine months in and the conversation began to happen. And then I was sitting down -- it was my off day -- I was off on a Tuesday and I got a text that said, 'Call me, there's something.' And of course, my heart sinks, because I'm like, 'This can’t be good. Why are they calling me on my off day?'

"And it was the complete opposite, and I remembering thinking to myself, 'There's no way. Like, wow.' Seriously, a dream come true."


Matt: "Now listen, since you've been on the investigative side of things now, right, I just assumed you'd be much much better with people, telling if they're lying or telling the truth based on facial expressions, what ever it happens to be. I want you to tell me if they’re telling the truth or lying. You think you can do that? We'll find out. You get a 100% and you get an 'At the Desk' pencil.

"First one is Lydia Esparra."

From Lydia: "When I was a teenager, I was in Montana with my family, and I came face-to-face with a rattlesnake. I saw the tail, I saw the head, and my brother saved my life."

Marisa "I think it's a lie, and I'll tell you why: I've known Lydia for a long time, seven months now, never heard that story. It's hard for me to believe Lydia Esparra has been to Montana. She's been to a lot of places, but yeah, I don't know."

Matt: "You're right, it's a lie.

"Here's the next one; she's never told a lie. Payton Domschke. She has this story from her childhood."

From Payton: "When I was in middle school, I was playing ping pong with my brother. He was 6 at the time and thought it was a grand idea to use an exercise ball instead of a ping pong ball. I toss the exercise ball and he turned the paddle, and yeah, he needed stiches.”

Matt: "So you think truth? Yeah, it was a lie, so we'll give you half a pencil.

"Marisa, thanks, for being here. You can follow her on social media, its @MarisaSaenzTV. Marisa, thanks so much for being here.

Marisa: "Thanks Matt!"

You can follow Marisa on Facebook and on Twitter.

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