Feminist History-Makers: The Voice of Hispanic America

By Liza Doubossarskaia, NOW Communications Intern

This network anchor can be considered one of the most prominent women in news. During her 25 years as a journalist, she covered a wide range of events around the globe that included the funeral of Princess Diana, the Iraq War, and the recent earthquake in Haiti. She also interviewed leading political figures like Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and many more. She earned numerous accolades for her outstanding achievements, solidifying her status as one of the most well-respected and influential journalists of our time.

Her name is María Elena Salinas.

Sometimes referred to as the “Latina Katie Couric” and “The Voice of Hispanic America,” Salinas began her career working for KMEX-34 television in Los Angeles. As a result of her astute and skillful reporting, Salinas quickly ascended to new professional heights in 1987, when she became the anchor of Noticiero Univisión, reaching millions of viewers in the United States and 18 countries in Latin America. Through the course of her career, Salinas has conducted groundbreaking interviewers with notable world leaders and political figures. Pope John Paul II, Mexican Presidents Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Ernesto Zedillo and Vicente Fox, Panama’s Manuel Noriega, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega and many others have sat down for exclusive interviews with Salinas.

Salinas is a daughter of Mexican immigrants, who came to the United States looking for better opportunities. While in many ways Salinas’ life story is an exemplification of American dream, it has also been touched by the struggles immigrants face in the U.S. Like many immigrant families today, Salinas’ father became entangled in a 10-year struggle with the immigration authorities over his legal status, which prevented him from living with his daughters, who were all U.S. citizens.

Salinas’ dedication to the rights of immigrants, then, doesn’t come as a surprise. Her coverage of immigration reform has been highly esteemed by politicians and immigration advocates alike, and served as a comprehensive source of information to the immigrant Hispanic community. Salinas also worked with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) on voter registration and outreach efforts and led a radio campaign urging Hispanic youth to stay in school.

In addition to her abovementioned achievements, Salinas is one of the very few Hispanic columnists syndicated in the U.S. Her weekly column is featured in more than 55 newspapers around the country. Her exceptional coverage of Hurricane Mitch brought Univisión two Emmy Awards in 2000, which was the first time a Spanish-language network was distinguished with this prestigious prize. Salinas won another Emmy for a town hall meeting she moderated with Mexico President Vicente Fox and was recognized with the Edward R. Murrow Award for the coverage of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Park bombings. Salinas also co-hosts the prime-time television show “Aqui y Ahora” and has recently published her autobiography, Yo Soy la Hija de mi Padre (I Am my Father’s Daughter).

NOW honored Salinas with a 2006 Intrepid Award, and we are happy once again to celebrate her achievements and her inspirational life and career.

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