Univision Names Ilia Calderon As Co-Anchor Of Its Flagship Evening News Program

Nov 9, 2017
Originally published on November 10, 2017 2:06 pm

Univision has named Ilia Calderon as co-anchor of Noticiero Univision — Spanish-language media's most important evening news broadcast. Calderon is the first Afro-Latina to anchor a national news program, which is a big deal for a network often criticized for racially insensitive content and its lack of darker-skinned on-air talent.

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Univision says it is making history and naming a new host for its evening news program. The Spanish-language network says she is the first Afro-Latina to anchor a national news broadcast. NPR's Adrian Florido reports the move elevates a black journalist at a company often criticized for lacking racial diversity on air.

ADRIAN FLORIDO, BYLINE: Noticiero Univision reaches close to 2 million viewers each night, making it the most watched Spanish evening news program in the U.S.



FLORIDO: Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas have hosted the program together for three decades. Salinas announced in August that she was leaving the show. Now the network has chosen Ilia Calderon to replace her. Ramos and Selinas welcomed her during last night's broadcast.


JORGE RAMOS: (Speaking Spanish).

FLORIDO: "Maria Elena, you made history here," Ramos said, "and Ilia, you're leading us into a new era of news. We'll all remember this day."


ILIA CALDERON: (Speaking Spanish).

FLORIDO: This was a big deal. The anchors of Noticiero Univison are among the nation's most influential and recognizable Latino journalists. Calderon is leaving her position as the network's late-night news host. She rose through the broadcast ranks in her native Colombia before moving to Miami to host for Telemundo, Univision's main U.S. competitor. She jumped to Univision in 2007. In its announcement, the network highlighted the fact that Calderon is the first Afro-Latina to anchor a daily evening news show in the U.S..

LAURA CASTANEDA: I think this latest appointment is a great move. I also think it could be a very smart business move.

FLORIDO: Laura Castaneda is a journalism professor at the University of Southern California.

CASTANEDA: For a long time, Univision and many other Spanish-language newscasts were criticized for the types of anchors that they would have on their evening newscasts or really any newscast. I mean, a lot of them were fair-skinned, light-eyed, light-haired. And as we know, Latinos come in many, many colors.

FLORIDO: Univision has also faced criticism for racially insensitive content. In 2015, it fired a host for comparing Michelle Obama to a character from "Planet Of The Apes." Calderon leans into conversations about race. She earned wide praise earlier this year for standing her ground during an interview with KKK leader Christopher Barker.


CHRISTOPHER BARKER: You're sitting on my property now.

CALDERON: And I do understand that I'm probably the first black person immigrant here in your property.

BARKER: To me, you're a [expletive]. That's it.

CALDERON: Watch your mouth.

BARKER: That's it to me. And I ain't watching my mouth.

CALDERON: I find that offensive.

FLORIDO: Calderon will assume the anchor's chair at Univision next month. Adrian Florido, NPR News. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The host introduction to this piece implies that Ilia Calderon's appointment to Univision made her the first Afro-Latina to host a national news broadcast. In fact, that appointment makes her the first Afro-Latina to host a national daily evening news program. She anchored a weekend show at Telemundo earlier in her career.] Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.