On Thursday I spoke with Geraldine Moriba, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for CNN Worldwide. As promised, I reached out to her to learn more about CNN’s decision to shut down CNN Latino.
CNN announced this week that after a year in operation, the programming venture aimed at attracting Spanish language and bilingual Latinos would close its doors by the end of the month.
Moriba confirmed to me that the decision was solely based on CNN Latino’s inability to meet business expectations. She re-affirmed that CNN is committed to best serving the Latino community and that the news network is a champion of diversity in the workplace.
NAHJ is, undoubtedly, disappointed and concerned about the decision. This decision comes on the heels of the closure of NBC Latino. Both of these closures lead to a shrinking landscape of content focused on this increasingly growing community.
Our concern is also for the dozens of employees who work at local affiliates throughout the country including Miami, New York and Los Angeles. Moriba informed me that while she cannot disclose private information, many of CNN Latino’s staff will be absorbed by CNN En Español. This has also been confirmed to me by some of those current employees.
She did not provide details about CNN Latino’s poor performance.
While I share in many people’s displeasure and frustration about the move, it is imperative to understand that CNN Latino like all television programs are business enterprises. Many such projects come and go, driven by the strength of the public’s acceptance.
Moriba and I spoke about the need for Latinos to be represented in the content and in the workplace. She cited the hiring of CNN Denver correspondent Ana Cabrera as an example of that commitment. There are other examples like NAHJ Atlanta chapter president Nick Valencia, who was promoted to national news reporter last year and NAHJ member Cindy Rodriguez, who has been an editor since 2012. NAHJ lifetime member Ramon Escobar also joined CNN in 2012 as Vice President of Talent Recruitment and Development.
Escobar has been key in recruiting and providing invaluable career advice at NAHJ regional and national conferences. The day-long talent training session at the EIJ13 national conference in Anaheim received wide recognition from participants and media partners. Escobar will be leading another day-long session focused on producers at the regional conference in Las Vegas in June.
Moriba also shared with me that an announcement will be made in the next few weeks about another NAHJ member joining the cable network.
I believe in CNN’s commitment to diversity.
The country is changing. We are in the midst of a social revolution unlike any other in our nation’s history. Latinos are redefining what it is to be American by infusing language and culture, flexing economic and political might, and leading racial diversity.
CNN Latino like NBC Latino are experiments aimed at reaching and better understanding this booming community. There is no one sure turn key strategy at accomplishing that goal. Other such projects will come and go. The important thing is for media companies to continue to explore ways to better reflect Latinos in their newsrooms and to be inclusive of their voices in the content they produce.
NAHJ is devoted to assisting them in achieving those objectives.