Many fans of renowned Latino journalist Ray Suarez were shocked to hear about his resignation from PBS’ “NewsHour” after more than a decade as a senior correspondent two weeks ago.
While the Public Broadcasting Service has not elaborated on the reasons for his departure, Suarez spoke candidly with Fox News Latino about what led to his decision to leave his longtime post. He said it was the right “time to go – that was a choice that I made.”
“I felt like I didn’t have much of a future with the broadcast,” Suarez said Monday morning. “(They) didn’t have much of a plan for me.”
He said his resignation came because his contributions to the “NewsHour” were heavily minimized. Suarez (no relation to the writer) said he just “didn’t see 2014 and 2015 were going to be better" for him than the last couple of years.
The 56-year-old, who joined the “NewsHour” in 1999, said over the last couple of years his contributions to the broadcast were passed over and marginalized many times. He said decisions made recently by the company and new constrictions also played a part in his resignation — it just made it difficult to stay, he said.
“When you look at the prospects realistically, I was there 14 years,” Suarez said. “The responsibility, the high responsibility … had all been gradually taken away.”
He said his profile on the broadcasting network was in such decline that people on social media were asking what he was doing after the “NewsHour.”
An example, he said, was during the most recent presidential election where his coverage of the Latino vote was minimal, unlike during the 2004 elections where he co-moderated a bilingual debate with Univision.
“That was great fun,” Suarez said recalling the debate. “It anticipated where things were going to be going. People were not talking about the Latino vote then – it was a glimpse into the crystal ball.”
According to several reports, the show’s executive producer, Linda Winslow, told staff in a memo that Suarez was leaving to “pursue other ventures.”
“At the ‘NewsHour’ Ray has been a member of the Senior Correspondent team that has helped us cover an enormous array of topics and story developments over the years,” Winslow wrote in the memo. “My inbox is filled with rave reviews of his performances written by delighted station executives around the PBS universe.”
The news came out just days after “NewsHours” founders Jim Lehrer and Robin MacNeil announced they intended to transfer ownership of the program to producing partner WETA in Arlington, Va.
Suarez said although he is leaving the company, he is very proud of the work he accomplished during his tenure and holds no ill will towards anyone.
“I am not some bitter guy. It was just time to go,” he said, adding that his departure was amicable between both parties. “I left on good terms.”
He continued: “I love the people there. I think it’s important to have a strong news broadcast on public television. I was definitely doing important work. … I am not sitting here regretting all that time, not at all.”
But Suarez just didn’t see it getting any better.
“I don’t want this to sound like sour grapes,” he said. “People come and go.”
For his next move, the New York City-born-Puerto Rican said he has been fielding several offers that include going into academia and writing a book on the 2016 elections. He said he couldn’t go into specifics about his plans because contractual agreements are still being discussed, but that he would be going back to television broadcasting.
“I still have one more high-demand, high-stress job in me,” he said.
Follow Lucia I. Suarez on Twitter @luciasuarezsang