UTA students, alumni honored at 15th annual Lone Star Emmy Awards

Students from The University of Texas at Arlington received recognition from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences during the 15thAnnual Lone Star Emmy Awards in San Antonio on Saturday, Nov. 11.

At the same event, five graduates of UTA News en Español, UTA’s Spanish-language broadcast journalism program, took home 18 regional Emmy awards.

Senior broadcast majors Maritza Esquivel, Alejandro Jimenez and Lariza Moreno and recent UTA graduates Flor Valdes and Viridiana Martinez won a Regional Student Production Award for best newscast. The winning show aired in November 2016 as part of a partnership with KUVN-TV, the Univision affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth. Through the Proyecto U partnership, students receive class credit for producing, anchoring, directing and reporting for Univision 23, one of the most-watched Spanish-language television stations in the nation.

“For our students to win best newscast from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is a tremendous honor and a real testament to the hard work they put in day in and day out to learn their craft,” said Julian Rodriguez, founder and faculty adviser of UTA News en Español and broadcast communication lecturer. “And for our alumni to be recognized with multiple Emmy awards is further proof of the strength of our program. Without question, we have one of the most impressive Spanish-language broadcast programs in the country.”

Esquivel is the current UTA News en Español news director.

“This recognition brings me great happiness,” she said. “At the same time, it is motivation to continue to progress as a professional and strive for greater things after graduation.”

Five alumni of the UTA News en Español program received 18 Emmy awards, one of the most prestigious awards in broadcast journalism. The alumni honored were:

  • Sonia Salas - host, writer, producer, Univision 23 Dallas
  • Raul Solis - host, writer, producer, Univision 23 Dallas
  • Vladimir Flores - producer, Univision 41 San Antonio
  • Angelina Armendariz - reporter, Telemundo 40 Rio Grande Valley
  • Jairo Lozano - reporter, Telemundo 60 San Antonio

“Being part of UTA News en Español was fundamental in my professional career,” said Solis, who took home six Emmy awards. “It gave me the foundation to create good content and put passion and effort into each story. Being recognized with an Emmy award is not only a recognition of the piece of work submitted but the journey of my entire career, and it all started with UTA News en Español.”

UTA News en Español launched in 2010, targeting bilingual students majoring in broadcasting in the Department of Communication in the College of Liberal Arts. The program has a 100 percent graduation rate and most alumni are either currently working as bilingual media professionals or pursuing advanced degrees.

“Julian is an example of the tremendously dedicated faculty I have the privilege of working with in the College of Liberal Arts,” said Elisabeth Cawthon, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “The success of UTA News en Español and its graduates proves Julian’s unquestionable commitment to the professional development of our students. This program continues to reach new heights, and it’s exciting to watch it soar.”

In addition to UTA News en Español’s partnership with Univision, the program also partners with KXTX-TV, the Telemundo affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth. During each spring semester, student-produced news reports air on Telemundo 39 on a weekly basis, with the segments named El Reportero Joven, which translates to the young reporter.

Rodriguez said he believes these special partnerships instill an appreciation for a journalist’s role in a community.

“Spanish-language broadcasters are bridging American political and cultural systems to the Hispanic community,” Rodriguez said. “They are helping educate and nurture this growing community and helping its members prosper.”