Univision Network Anchor María Elena Salinas, the most recognized Hispanic female journalist in the United States, reached a major milestone last year when she marked her 25th anniversary with Univision, the fifth largest television network in the U.S. and the country’s leading Spanish-language television broadcasting company. Called by the New York Times, “the voice of Hispanic America”, Salinas has informed millions of Hispanics in the United States and 18 countries in Latin America. As co-anchor of the highly rated “Noticiero Univision” and the primetime news magazine “Aqui y Ahora”, Salinas has handled some of the most challenging assignments in modern day journalism.
Salinas’ work has earned her several journalistic awards including three national and one regional Emmys. She was also part of the Univision news team that received the Edward R. Murrow Award for the network’s coverage of the Atlanta Olympic Park bombings. Salinas has reported from the White House to the Kremlin, from the O.J. Simpson trial in Los Angeles to the funeral of Princess Diana in London and from earthquake-ravaged El Salvador to the war torn streets of Baghdad. In the past 2 decades Salinas covered over a dozen papal trips including Pope John Paul II’s historic visit to Cuba and his moving funeral. She has also conducted several White House interviews with U.S. presidents, and been face to face with dozens of Latin American leaders, rebels, and dictators. In 2004 Salinas co- hosted the first ever bi-lingual national debate among democratic presidential hopefuls on Hispanic issues.
Salinas’ influence reaches beyond television. She also holds vast experience on national radio, and recently became one of the few Hispanic syndicated columnists in the United States in over 50 publications in both Spanish and English. In 2006, her autobiographical book entitled “I am my Father’s Daughter: A Life Without Secrets” was published, receiving critical acclaim and making the best seller lists for Spanish-language books on several occasions. Beyond her journalistic work, Salinas is also a tireless advocate for Hispanics in the United States. Her in-depth coverage of immigration reform has drawn accolades from government leaders and immigration advocates. On radio, she spearheaded a national campaign to motivate Hispanic students to stay in school. For the last 4 presidential elections, Salinas has led campaigns to promote citizenship, voter registration, and get out the vote efforts. She has worked with the U.S. Departments of Health and Education on issues ranging from the importance of immunization for young children, to the risks of heart disease and parental involvement in education. In 2000, Salinas launched a scholarship in her name to be awarded to a Hispanic journalism student interested in pursuing a career in Spanish language media.
Her brand of advocacy journalism has earned her awards and recognition from important groups such as the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, and the National Organization for Women that honored her with the coveted Intrepid Award. Salinas has been featured as one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics” in the United States in Hispanic Magazine and People En Español, and was named one of the top 15 Most Influential Hispanics among Latino voters in a poll conducted by Hispanic Voter Trends.
María Elena is a former vice president and founding member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, where she has been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and has been a featured speaker at media and women’s conferences throughout the country. Born in Los Angeles to Mexican immigrant parents, Salinas began her broadcasting career in radio in Southern California. She switched to television in 1981 when she joined KMEX-TV, the Univision station in Los Angeles, as a news anchor. Salinas resides in Coral Gables, Florida, with her two daughters, Julia Alexandra and Gabriela María.