'Elon Local News' produces first-ever all-Spanish broadcast
The newscast’s 'Online Exclusive,' co-produced by Elon sophomores Diego Pineda and Selina Guevara, received widespread praise from community members and alumni.
Associate Professor Rich Landesberg didn’t wait long to plant the idea of an all-Spanish student newscast with Diego Pineda ’19. In fact, the journalism major wasn’t even an enrolled student when the Elon News Network adviser first broached the subject.
During Communications Fellows Weekend in March 2015 – five months before Pineda started his first semester at Elon University – Landesberg was already starting his pitch. The professor knew that the Burlington region, given its large Latino/Hispanic population, had a need from such a broadcast, and he wanted to motivate the bilingual high school student from Raleigh. It worked.
Two years later the idea became a reality on May 2 as Pineda and fellow sophomore Lucia Jervis co-anchored “The Online Exclusive,” a condensed weekly broadcast presented by “Elon Local News.” The four-minute broadcast was entirely in Spanish and featured a variety of topics, including a campus soccer tournament, Latina sorority and relevant international news. Pineda teamed with Selina Guevara ’19 to co-produce the program.
“I’ve been pushing for this for 10 years, so I’m thrilled to see us get it done,” said Landesberg. “Over the years, we have had a number of students interested in doing it, but hats off to Diego and Selina for running with the idea and making it happen. I’m really proud of them.”
Pineda spearheaded the undertaking, making it his goal to have an all-Spanish online broadcast produced by the end of spring semester.
Originally from Guatemala, Pineda enlisted the help of Jervis, who was born in Brazil and raised in Ecuador, to make sure the newscast had the right tone and voice. The two recalled perfecting their script until the very last moment. “We were needed on camera, and Lucia and I were still scratching and editing right up to when we went on,” he said.
While Pineda, Guevara and Jervis were all heavily involved, the trio noted the entire Elon News Network offered support, including students not fluent in the language.
“It was all hands on deck,” Pineda said.
The positive response to the online newscast – both in-person and online – has humbled the co-anchors.
As of this week, the broadcast has received more than 9,000 views on Facebook and numerous likes and comments, including one from alumnus Christopher Price ’15. “¡Mantener el buen trabajo!” or “Keep up the good work!” wrote the digital content producer at CBS46 in Atlanta.
The newscast’s YouTube upload has also found a large audience, receiving nearly four times as many views as the other “Online Exclusives” produced this semester.
Jervis said she has appreciated the many students and community members who have stopped her in the days that followed. That list includes Associate Professor Anthony Hatcher, who wrote congratulatory notes to both anchors, and he later singled out Pineda in class for his landmark accomplishment.
“I think it has helped empower the Latino/Hispanic community here on campus,” Jervis said. “And a big percentage of Alamance County is Spanish-speaking, so this was a good way to bring our organization to community members, not just Elon.”
Added Pineda, “There are definitely stories out there for us to cover. We just need to go out and find them, and let them speak for themselves.”
Landesberg echoed that sentiment. In fact, the professor reasoned such broadcasts “fulfill our role as a public service.”
“To me, the Elon-Burlington area is an underserved media market to start with. And with our large Latino population, that part of our community is terribly underserved,” he said. “I think our organization can have a real impact by bringing stories that are important to our community and translating them into Spanish, and bringing issues that are important to our Latino communities to others.”
Landesberg also noted that he’s enjoyed the timing of the newscast.
“What better year to start this Spanish-language newscast than when our Commencement speaker – one of our graduates – is a Spanish-language television personality,” he said, alluding to Maity Interiano ’07. The Elon alumna is a producer for the top-rated morning show for Univision Network and will deliver the university’s Commencement address on May 20.
Coincidentally, Pineda said Interiano dropped him a note congratulating the students on the all-Spanish broadcast.
According to Landesberg and the students, they fully expect “Elon Local News” to host similar online updates in the fall. They have already targeted the events surrounding Hispanic Heritage Month as a potential focus of a September broadcast.
“If we aren’t going to represent our community in student media, who will?” reasoned Pineda. “This was my third time anchoring ‘The Online Exclusive,’ but I will say this was the one I was the most comfortable doing.”