Texas university news program trains future Hispanic journalists

Published June 21, 2012


A news program broadcast by the University of Texas at Arlington offers Hispanic students the chance to widen their knowledge of journalism and so prepares them for a career in the nation's Spanish-language media.

UTA News en Español airs weekly on the campus channel and was conceived in May 2010 when a magazine was created to be published every six months and which originated what is today the student audiovisual news program.

According to Julian Rodriguez, UTA journalism professor and news director for UTA News en Español, most of the newcast's staff are Hispanic students.

"But some, like the technical director, might not know Spanish or at any rate not speak it very well. The most important thing is that they are interested in learning the language and want to get involved in reporting news in Spanish," Rodriguez told Efe.

"It's a pretty revolutionary program since it's the only one of its kind in Texas, a state where you'd hope there would be more programs like this. When we share the news program online or over social networks, we get some very favorable comments from all over the United States and even from Spain," he said.

The content of the 30-minute program is entirely produced by students of the department who do the filming and help with the editing inside and outside the studio.

According to Rodriguez, this training has had such an impact that media outlets here in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area are ready to grab the talent at UTA even before they graduate.

"This can be a problem when the students haven't graduated yet and they're already being tempted to join the ranks of mass media like Univision and Telemundo, either in Texas or in other big markets around the country," Rodriguez said.

Journalism student Raul Solis, executive producer and anchor of UTA News en Español, has been with the program for two years.

"My greatest wish is to get into Hispanic television in the United States and nail down a position in a program with a variety of content. For now, the goal for our news program is to make it grow so that more people know about its existence as an important feature of the university," Solis, a 22-year-old native of Mexico, said.

Maria Martinez of Valencia, Spain, came to UTA less than three years ago thanks to a scholarship she won for her skill at tennis.

With UTA News en Español, Martinez has anchored the sports segment for the last two years and her goal is to return to her own country and work in the media.

"I'd love to do professionally what I'm doing in this news program, report on the top soccer and tennis matches in tournaments like the Euro Cup, the World Cup, and interview world-class players," Martinez said.

California-born Sonia Salas always thought she would do better in an English-language news program until she entered UTA News en Español and found that with a little patience and a lot of hard work the doors to Hispanic television in this country would be opened to her.

"When I entered the program I always thought that I just wanted to improve my Spanish, but once I got actively involved it turned out to be something I'd really like to do," Salas, the daughter of Mexican parents, said. EFE