AUSTIN (KXAN) — Britt Moreno jogged on the trail near Lady Bird Lake, pushing her 15-month-old son among the well-worn, familiar path. She ran it many times before as she was growing up, often with her dad by her side and the sun glinting off the water.
Now, it feels different, a “full-circle moment.” Moreno is finally back home.
- She loves Mexican food. She first went to Maudie’s Tex-Mex as a kid, and says Matt’s El Rancho is a “staple.” But, “I need to explore all the new spots,” she adds.
- She studied at Mozart’s Coffee Roasters in high school. Now it’s so popular it’s hard to find a table!
- When she got married, she had to get a picture near the 360 Bridge
- While some of the venues she went to are now closed, Stubb’s Bar-B-Q is a place she frequented that’s still around for live music
- She worked as a babysitter at a wakeboard camp on Lake Austin and still enjoys stand-up paddleboarding on Lady Bird Lake. “Get me out on the lake any day,” she says.
There will likely be many moments like this for Moreno, where past lines up with the present. She was born in Houston but moved to Austin when she was 11. She ventured from home to college in San Antonio, and then her journalism career took her to South Texas, Phoenix and Denver. Now, as KXAN’s evening anchor, she’s finally able to tell the stories of her hometown.
“These stories are going to land a little differently when I read them and relay them to our community,” Moreno said, thoughtfully. “There’s something about talking to the people who are your neighbors and your friends — people you’ve known for decades. And, of course, the new people you’re just meeting. There’s something unique about that. And, I think I’m going to be able to tap into that for the first time in my career, and I just have a feeling there’s a whole — it’s going to be a whole new passion unleashed, I think, being able to report here in my hometown.”
As a journalist, she’s excited to return to an Austin that’s growing at an impressive rate. While the skyline has changed since she was young, there’s more traffic and the city’s no longer a “little hidden gem in Texas,” she’s glad to see one thing remains the same: everyone is friendly and warm, from the barista genuinely asking about her day or people holding the door open at the grocery store.
“That’s the Texas hospitality that I think you don’t find anywhere else,” she said.
Venturing from home
When she graduated from St. Stephen’s Episcopal School west of Austin, Moreno didn’t want to go far from home. She was the first in her family to attend college, and chose Trinity University in San Antonio, studying communications and Spanish.
That’s where she caught the journalism bug.
“I realized, ‘This is the most fun I’ve ever had.’ You can actually make an impact on people this way,” she said. “And, I just realized, this is something I want to do. And, I’d always enjoyed talking to people, I’d always enjoyed writing, I always enjoyed reading. And, journalism was just the perfect way to incorporate all those things I tend to do naturally. So that’s, I think, also why it just was meant to be.”
Her love of telling stories about her community took her from a public access show in San Antonio to her first reporting job in South Texas, covering Hurricane Dolly and stories along the border. From there, she stepped into the bustle of covering Phoenix as a reporter and anchor and then spent eight years in Denver as a morning news anchor.
Some of the toughest, and most rewarding, days for Moreno centered on keeping people updated about Colorado’s severe weather — those times when the journalists were living through the blizzards right alongside their viewers.
“In the news, we are a service to people. We are trying to help people make sure they feel aware and informed so that they can do what’s best for their families. So that’s our job,” Moreno said. “And, I think that really surfaces when we have weather days.”
While in Denver, she won an Emmy for best news anchor and crafted an award-winning series about children aging out of the foster care system. She fell in love; she and her husband adopted a Labrador retriever and then their son Weston was born.
Still, Texas called. When the opportunity came to join the team at KXAN, “my family and I just knew we had to take it.”
‘The best part about being here’
Moreno is the oldest of four — three sisters and a brother. Her parents live in Austin, too. One of the best parts about coming home is having them nearby, and having her son grow up surrounded by family.
“After going through the pandemic, and quarantine, isolation — it just became very apparent to us. Family is what life is all about.”
While she’s thrilled to be with her loved ones, she’s also driven to reconnect with the community in Austin and Central Texas, find a niche to volunteer and, proudly, tell the stories that make a difference to her new neighbors.
“KXAN takes the time to thoughtfully report a story in its entirety. To me, that is what ‘in-depth’ means; we are doing our diligence to bring our smart viewers the most accurate, complete story with context, so we better serve people,” Moreno said.
She was once a viewer of KXAN — now she’s part of its family, too.
“I am a proud Texan and I love reporting on local Texas news to our viewers. It’s a moment I have worked my entire career for and now it’s happening — it’s a blessing,” Moreno said.