Hispanic women in the media share their stories

Three Latina Newhouse alumni discussed their experiences and paths to working in television as part of the NAHJ's Women in the Media panel.

Three Hispanic women in the television and journalism industries discussed their experiences Thursday night in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium.

As part of the Women in the Media panel organized by the Syracuse Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Syracuse graduates Bianca Graulau ‘12, Paloma Veloz ’09 and Duria Rodriguez ’09 returned to their alma mater to speak about their different paths.

Graulau studied broadcast journalism and political science at Syracuse University. After graduating in 2012, she worked as a reporter in Palm Springs, Calif. before moving to Sacramento, Calif. to work for Univision six months ago.

Veloz, now a producer for Telemundo’s morning show in New York, studied broadcast journalism and international relations. She entered the NBC page program, made connections and secured her current job at Telemundo.

Rodriguez is now a senior producer for Jane Street Entertainment in New York, which produces various shows for the Food Network. She studied television, radio, and film at SU.

While there at 52 million Latinos in the United States today, only six percent make up the newsroom workforce, according to a slideshow presented by NAHJ Vice President and broadcast and digital journalism junior Chantal Felice. Graulau and Veloz are part of this group.

They both worked at CitrusTV Noticias during their time at SU, with Veloz even being a founder of the show. Both said that it was vital that they already knew all about news production before they entered the journalism field in the real world.

Graulau said CitrusTV Noticias helped her build the confidence she needed for her first job in a newsroom. Because she started out in a small market in California, she was occasionally called upon to anchor. She said she was ready to do that because of her practice at CitrusTV.

For Rodriguez, in the production field, she said the key to her success was “networking my way through life.” Her advice was to take advantage of opportunities to socialize with your colleagues. 

“When you unwind at the end of the day, that’s when you get to know people,” Rodriguez said. When they saw that she was fun to be around in addition to being a good worker, that’s when doors opened.

All three women are bilingual. They agreed it has helped them in their careers. 

Graulau recalled growing up with Spanish news in her home. She lived in Puerto Rico until she came to Syracuse, so she was exposed to Spanish journalism throughout her life. She said she wants reports for families like her own.

Veloz said she chose to work for a Spanish station because “working for Spanish television is not only about speaking Spanish, but it’s also about cultural relevance.”  She understands the Latino audience and knows how to appeal it.

When asked about the stereotypes that come with speaking Spanish in a predominantly English-speaking country, Veloz said, “Your intelligence level has nothing to do with whether or not you have an accent.”

Felice brought up what it’s like trying to “have it all” as young women working in the media.

Rodriguez admitted that she sometimes intimidates men. They think that she is “too successful” for them. Rodriguez questioned why this intimidation never occurs for women dating successful men, but it happens to her all the time. She brought up the idea that women are traditionally expected to be less professionally successful than men, and challenged that stereotype.

Veloz loves the idea of having it all when it comes to a family and a career, but she said it’s tough to balance when working in such a demanding field.

While Graulau, Rodriguez and Veloz all hope to have families one day, none of them is willing to devote any less time to their careers just yet. 

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