Broadcast Journalism Class Produces Spanish-Language Newscast
“Buenas tardes te encuentras con Ohemaa Nyanin y Meredith Veloz. Bienvenidos a las Noticias del Distrito.”
With that opening line—“Good afternoon, I'm Ohemaa Nyanin, and I'm Meredith Veloz. Welcome to the News of the District.”—the School of Communication’s broadcast journalism class kicked off its first-ever Spanish-language broadcast.
Each week the 14 students in professor Carolyn Brown’s class produce an English newscast that airs on the class’s Web site. Monday’s edition was special—it was done entirely in Spanish.
“For weeks I had noticed several students in class were speaking Spanish to each other,” Brown said. “I just asked them if they wanted to do a short newscast in Spanish, the following week. They were very excited about this, and jumped on board.”
In fact, five of the 14 students in the class speak Spanish. As in their English broadcasts, the students wrote, reported, and produced the newscast entirely themselves. Brown simply maintains the Web site where the reports air.
“I was thrilled, because this is something I might do in the future,” said Nyanin, a senior double majoring in international studies and foreign language and communication media.
In addition to English, Nyanin speaks Twi, the language of her native Ghana. She began taking Spanish lessons in fourth grade.
“It differed only because the stories we do in English are easier to do in terms of getting interviews,” she said. “But writing it and putting it together was the same. The other anchor, her parents are from Cuba, so we spent a lot of time on the phone with her mother.”
The lead story details Washingtonians’ reaction to the elections in El Salvador. The District has a growing Salvadorian population, and the burgeoning Hispanic population throughout the United States means Spanish-language media is now more important than ever, Brown said.
“Spanish-language media is growing, while a lot of the English media is not,” Brown said. “Our journalism school should acknowledge that. Spanish-language media is mainstream media. In places like Los Angeles, Univision gets higher ratings than any English-language station.”
The Spanish broadcast was such a success, that the class will produce more throughout the rest of the semester, Brown said.
“Diversity is important, and ethnic media is important,” she said. “We cannot ignore a section of the mainstream media.”