Joey is from Central California and grew up on his family’s farm driving tractors and raising cows. The Horta family has been farming in California for more than 100 years.
Joey got his start in news as a reporter for the Merced SunStar in 2005 while also interning at KFSN in Fresno. He graduated from CSU Stanislaus in 2006 with a BA in communications. A couple of months later he got an out-of-the-blue call from the NBC affiliate in Laredo, TX and was offered a job over the phone. Two weeks later he was living on the US-Mexico border.
While there, Joey covered drug cartel violence, law enforcement corruption and human smuggling on a regular basis. He was quickly promoted to Morning and Noon Anchor while continuing to report, taking on daily weather forecasting duties and producing newscasts.
By 2010, Joey jumped markets to the CBS affiliate KGBT in McAllen, TX as Morning Anchor, Weather Forecaster, and Producer. He earned his stripes tracking hurricanes and tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico, before being promoted to early Evening Anchor. His investigative reporting on SNAP (food stamp) abuse was featured on Fox News Channels’ The O’Reilly Factor and lead to a lawmaker filing a bill in the state legislature to stop food stamp balances from rolling over from month to month, if not spent. Joey’s reporting earned an Associated Press Award.
He jumped on the chance to return home to the Central Valley in 2014 as Weekend Anchor/Reporter for KSEE. Four months later, he was promoted to Morning and Noon Anchor for KGPE. Joey’s coverage of the 2015 ISIS inspired stabbing attack on campus at U.C. Merced included an exclusive interview with Byron Price, stabbed while confronting the suspect and later hailed a hero by the Sheriff. The exclusive interview set KGPE’s coverage apart from any other station, including national networks. It lead to Joey and KGPE being honored with an Emmy Award. In 2019, his feature reporting on local Volkswagen Beetle collectors keeping the Bug alive, despite production coming to an end, was nominated for an Emmy.
Joey has thrives at covering unscripted live events, breaking news, investigative journalism a has a passion for volunteering in the community. He has regularly served as emcee for several organizations including Make-A-Wish, SPCA, FFA and others that make a difference in people’s lives.