On Covering Hispanic News and Community: 10 Influential Journalists to Know Right Now
Every community in the U.S. has a unique perspective and relationship with the news.
As political events increasingly have highlighted stories of immigration and deportation, Hispanic people have been the focus of a great deal of news coverage.
But the stories that Hispanic and Latino Americans live and tell reach far beyond immigration. These stories are as rich and diverse as the community itself.
Hispanic Heritage Month begins Sept. 15, celebrating the contributions that Hispanic and Latino Americans have made to this country and around the world.
This month, we’re looking at some of the most influential pioneers, advocates, trendsetters, and storytellers in journalism.
Maria Hinojosa has reported for CBS, CNN, PBS, and NPR. She anchored the Frontline report “Lost in Detention,” dealing with Obama-era deportations, and she is the host of the Peabody Award-winning NPR show Latino USA.
Produced by Futuro Media, a company founded by Hinojosa herself, Latino USA features diverse stories of politics, immigration, culture, and the arts. Since 1992, it has been providing insightful coverage of Latino communities with Hinojosa at the helm from the start.
As she said in a March 2018 interview with Women’s Media Center, “When journalists feel really comfortable in their skin, and their workplaces encourage them to get in touch with their own journalistic passions — and we are not easy about the news; this is a tough group — they know they’ve as much right as anyone else to pitch a story.”
2. Jorge Ramos
Jorge Ramos came to the attention of English-speaking Americans during the contentious 2016 presidential race when he confronted Donald Trump on the then-candidate’s anti-immigration rhetoric.
Well before that, Ramos was an institution in Spanish-language journalism. He is the long-time anchor for the evening news show Noticiero Univision and hosts a Spanish-language Sunday political show, as well as the English-language show AMERICA with Jorge Ramos on Univision’s sister network, Fusion TV. He routinely is listed as one of the most influential Latinos not just in media, but in U.S. as a whole.
Ramos has been criticized by other journalists for what they see as his activism on immigration, but he said in a 2015 New Yorker profile: “You wouldn’t expect ABC, or any of the mainstream networks, to take a position on immigration, health care, anything. But at Univision it’s different. We are pro-immigrant. That’s our audience, and people depend on us.”
Throughout her long career, Soledad O’Brien has been one of the most visible Latinas in English-language TV news. She hosted NBC’s Weekend Today before becoming co-anchor of the CNN morning show American Morning.
O’Brien also previously reported for MSNBC and Al Jazeera America.
She currently is a correspondent on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and host of Matter of Fact, a syndicated political show, in addition to having founded her own production company, Starfish Media Group.
In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier this year, O’Brien said: “There’s high value in journalistic voice, something that I wasn’t sure was going to exist when I left day-to-day journalism. Now the work you’re doing really matters. The stakes are high. It matters to speak up and say, ‘This thing is not true. This is the truth.’ Even on Twitter.”
4. Leon Krauze
Leon Krauze is an Emmy-winning anchor at Univision’s KMEX in Los Angeles. He has contributed to various other outlets, including The Washington Post, Slate, The New Yorker, The Daily Beast, and Los Angeles Times, as well as El Pais America and Mexico’s El Universal.
In 2018, he co-moderated the second debate in Mexico’s presidential race.
He also hosts the rollicking Slate podcast El Gabfest en Español (and its mini English-language companion). El Gabfest connects journalists from all over the Hispanic world, including Mexico, the U.S., Chile, and Spain to discuss political news in the United States and throughout Latin America.
In addition to all this, he holds the Wallis Annenberg Chair in Journalism at the USC Annenberg’s School of Journalism.
Lulu Garcia-Navarro has reported for NPR from Latin America and the Middle East. In 2011, she won a Peabody Award for coverage of the Arab Spring uprising in Libya.
Last year, Garcia-Navarro traded her foreign correspondent role to host of NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday.
In an interview with web site Girl Talk HQ, Garcia-Navarro said, “[T]he work I’ve done is Latin America is some of my most satisfying. I did a lot of reporting on gender, the environment and race. I spent weeks in the Amazon reporting on the crisis of deforestation. I told stories of women affected by the Zika virus. I looked at how race impacts Brazil in myriad ways. Latin America is often overlooked, and I’ve always wanted to show the complexity and richness of the culture.”
As the anchor of Noticiero Telemundo and NBC Nightly News Saturday, Jose Diaz-Balart leads two popular evening news shows in two different languages, an amazing feat that demonstrates the increasing intersection of English- and Spanish-language news today.
Diaz-Balart also hosts a Sunday morning show on Telemundo, appears on Meet the Press, and previously anchored MSNBC Live. (He provided this fascinating bilingual tour behind the scenes of NBC Nightly News.) In addition, he is an Emmy and Peabody winner.
Maria Elena Salinas is currently the host of The Real Story with Maria Elena Salinas on Investigation Discovery.
Prior to that, from 1987 until just last year, Salinas was co-anchor of Noticiero Univision.
Her long tenure on the extremely popular Spanish-language news show has made her one of the most recognized Latina journalists in the U.S. She has been a long-time pioneer and was a founding member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. In 2006, she was inducted into the NAHJ Hall of Fame.
Enrique Acevedo is anchor for Noticiero Univision’s late-night edition, as well as a frequent contributor on NPR’s Here and Now. He also has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and El Pais.
Acevedo has been involved in several viral news moments of his own, including translating for a Guatemalan immigrant who asked about the deportation of her husband and the separation of families during the 2016 Univision Democratic debate, tracking down a controversial painting at Trump National Doral Miami, and recently falling into a debate over the origins of tacos.
While many were bewildered, Acevedo joined his colleagues on Noticiero Edicion Digital to discuss how his appearances on shows such as Tucker Carlson’s allow him to reach people who might not have other opportunities to encounter the perspective of a Hispanic immigrant.
Natalie Morales has become a fixture on NBC. She is an anchor on Access Hollywood, a contributor to Dateline, and an NBC news correspondent.
However, Morales’s highest-profile gig has been as the West Coast anchor for the network’s morning show Today. With Today, she also took part in NBC’s Olympic coverage during the 2016 games in Rio in Brazil where she spent some of her youth and has familial roots.
With the ample exposure all these provide, Morales has become a rising star and well-known face in the media landscape. In an essay for PopSugar commemorating Hispanic Heritage Month last year, Morales said one of her proudest moments was covering the rescue of the 33 trapped Chilean miners and being able as a bilingual journalist to bring their words and their story to viewers.
10. Edgar Alvarez
Political and breaking news are not the only arenas where Hispanic journalists have found their voices and excelled.
Edgar Alvarez, a senior editor with Engadget, has provided thoughtful coverage of the Internet and politics and technology and society, alongside plenty of consumer electronics reviews for the popular technology site.
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Nicole Howard is an associate product manager at Cision, as well as an editor and freelance writer. When not working or reading, she enjoys word puzzles and the outdoors.