Maria Elena Salinas: The voice for the Hispanic community.
How a woman of color was able to make herself known in the world of journalism.
By: Michelle Mejia
Maria Elena Salinas is a household name for many Hispanic families in the United States, including my own. Whether it was Noticiero Univisión or Aquí y Ahora, the Hispanic journalist was always on my television screen growing up. When it comes to national news, Salinas is the female face of Hispanic journalism and, as a Hispanic woman myself, she is someone I continue to admire to this day.
Decades of Dedication
Salinas’ decades of work in journalism have not gone unnoticed. Before joining Noticiero Univisión in 1987 as a co-anchor, Salinas was a reporter for KMEX-TV, the Univisión affiliate station in Los Angeles, California for six years. Then in 1998, Salinas also became the co-anchor of the national news program Aquí y Ahora until 2017 when she decided to step away and become an independent and freelance journalist. In 2019, she became a CBS News contributor. Salinas’ undying passion and dedication to her craft has helped her achieve many awards and recognition in the journalism field. Her dedication to the field of journalism shows in her work, and it is evident that she is still doing what she loves.
Hispanidad and Journalism
Being Mexican American, Salinas has been a prominent figure in the Hispanic community and is seen as the “voice of Hispanic America”. She has been able to bridge the gap between Hispanic journalism and American politics by interviewing every United States president since Jimmy Carter, excluding Donald Trump. Salinas also made history when she co-hosted the first Democratic and Republican forums in Spanish on the Univision Network. Salinas also brought to light the struggles many people in the Hispanic and Latinx community faced due to COVID-19 by creating the documentary, “Pandemia: Latinos In Crisis.” Salinas’ contribution to journalism has brought great representation of the Hispanic community and has inspired many young Hispanic journalists to pursue their dreams. Her ability to create a space for the Hispanic community in the journalism field is admirable, and through her work she has been able to represent a minority in the United States that has not had a big platform in the past. Salinas is a trailblazer for Hispanidad and journalism.
Helping the Hispanic Community
To help inspire the young generation of Hispanic journalists, Salinas helped found the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, became a member of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and started a scholarship program called María Elena Salinas Scholarship for Excellence in Spanish-Language News. Salinas has also helped Latinx voices be heard by encouraging Latinos to vote in important elections. She teamed up with the organization Mi Familia Vota to encourage this community to hit the polls and let their voices be heard. Her compassion for helping the Hispanic community is an admirable aspect of her character. Salinas is able to give back to a community that sees her as an inspiration and create a sense of relatability as an influential figure for young Hispanic journalists.
In an interview with Hispanic Executive, Salinas said, “My passions are still the same: the Latino community, empowering women and supporting Latino students and education.” That is just one way that I see myself relating to this influential journalist. As a Hispanic woman in journalism, yo quiero representar mi comunidad hispana, just like Maria Elena Salinas. I want to help my community by being a bridge that closes the gap in communication between American society and Hispanic and Latinx issues. Her passion and dedication to her craft, ability to include the Hispanic narrative in American journalism and compassion for helping her community are aspects I truly admire and plan to incorporate as well in my career.
About the Author Michelle Mejia is a young public relations professional. She studied communication studies and journalism with a concentration in public relations at the University of North Texas. She plans to help advocate for minority groups in her career of public relations.