María Elena Salinas, an influential voice in television and Hispanic America for more than three decades, announced that she plans to leave the Univision News anchor chair at the end of the year.
Salinas, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, went on to host Univision Network’s national evening newscast and report momentous stories for generations of Hispanic Americans over a long and distinguished career. Her departure from Univision after more than 35 years will end an era that has left an indelible mark on American television and Hispanics in the United States, for whom listening to her poised, informed and empathetic voice has long been a nightly ritual. Salinas, winner of top journalism honors and dubbed the “Voice of Hispanic America” by The New York Times, also co-hosts the Sunday show “Aquí y Ahora” (Here and Now) and presents several in-depth specials on current issues each year. Starting next January, she plans to begin her next chapter, working independently as a journalist and producer, and continuing to devote herself to philanthropy.
“I am grateful for having had the privilege to inform and empower the Latino community through the work my colleagues and I do with such passion at Univision every day,” said Salinas. “I thank our audience for their trust and loyalty through the years, and want them to know that as long as I have a voice, I will always use it to speak on their behalf. I am excited to begin a new stage in my career, and look forward to new projects to reach new and diverse audiences on multiple platforms.”
In the coming months, Univision will announce plans for the new anchor who will join Jorge Ramos on its flagship newscast, which regularly reaches two million viewers, and plans for the co-host who will join Teresa Rodriguez on our weekly newsmagazine show “Aquí y Ahora.”
Salinas was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters 2017 Hall of Fame and will be inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame on October 17, 2017. Among the many awards she has received throughout her career are seven Emmy awards, along with the Broadcast Legend Award from the Radio and Television News Association of Southern California and the Mickey Leland Humanitarian Award. She was the first Latina to receive a Lifetime Achievement Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Salinas was also honored by Broadcasting & Cable/Multichannel News with the Outstanding Achievement Award in Hispanic Television and was part of a Univision News team that received an Edward R. Murrow Award. She has received honorary doctoral degrees from American University and California State University, Fullerton.
Salinas was born and raised in Los Angeles. She studied marketing in college, and in 1981, after two years in radio, she joined KMEX, a Los Angeles television station operated by the company that would later become Univision. Her keen insight into the issues that affected the Latino community in Southern California earned her credibility and paved her way to the top. In 1987, she broke new ground on multiple fronts when she was named anchor of the premiere Spanish-language network news program in the United States.
Throughout her career at Univision, Salinas has covered history in the making. She has interviewed dozens of world leaders, including every past U.S. president since Jimmy Carter, rebel leaders, celebrities and other newsmakers. She has traveled the world covering wars and elections, coups and human rights issues, natural disasters and human-interest stories. In addition to her role in news specials and the popular weekly news magazine “Aquí y Ahora,” Salinas has headlined programs on the issues that most affect the Latino community.
One of her most impactful stories was “Entre el abandono y el rechazo” (“Between Abandonment and Rejection”), a hard-hitting primetime special about the arrival of thousands of unaccompanied minors to the U.S. She crisscrossed Central America and the border, interviewing key figures in the crisis and walking the streets of poor and dangerous neighborhoods to find the roots of the exodus. The investigative piece became the first Spanish-language special to earn several of journalism’s top accolades, including the Peabody, Walter Cronkite, Emmy and Gracie awards.
In 2004, Salinas was a moderator of the first ever bilingual Democratic Party presidential debate and later co-hosted forums with candidates from both parties on Univision as well as a Democratic debate in 2016. Her community outreach work includes promoting civic participation among Hispanics by encouraging them to become citizens, register to vote and take part in the political process. She is a founding member of The National Association of Hispanic Journalists, through which she has awarded scholarships in her name to Latino journalism students. Salinas also is a member of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund board.