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LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 23: Journalist Maria Elena Salinas speaks during a rally for When We All Vote's National Week of Action featuring former first lady Michelle Obama at Chaparral High School on September 23, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Obama is the founder and a co-chairwoman of the organization that aims to help people register and to vote. Early voting for the 2018 midterm elections in Nevada begins on October 20. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Happy Women’s History Month! This is the 17th blog of a series of blogs called “Women’s History Month Heroes You Should Know”. This series will be a collection of my research into little-known American women who have made history in one way or another (or multiple ways!).

The focus of today’s blog is María Elena Salinas, American journalist and longest-running female network anchor in the United States, as well as the first Latina to receive a Lifetime Achievement Emmy.

This is her story.

L.A. to Mexico City Back to L.A.

According to Vogue Magazine, María Elena Salinas was born in Los Angeles in 1954. She had just turned a year old when her family of two sisters and her parents moved to Mexico City. Salinas grew up there until she turned 8 years old, after which the family moved back to Los Angeles. Her mother worked as a seamstress and her father worked multiple jobs to make ends meet. At 14, Salinas herself helped to earn money for the family doing odd jobs around town.

First Broadcasting Job

After graduating from high school, Salinas attended one of Los Angeles’s community colleges. She enrolled in several marketing classes and applied to work in her very first broadcasting job at Univision’s KMEX-TV. Despite applying for a sales position, they hired her as a news anchor. During this time, she went back to school to study broadcast journalism at UCLA. In 1986, Salinas became the co-anchor of the news program Noticiero Univision in Miami.

Work with Univision

Alongside her co-anchor Jorge Ramos, Salinas became the face of the Noticiero Univision evening news program. She worked there for 30 years, picking up award after award including several Emmys, making her the first Latina to receive the Lifetime Achievement Emmy. About 12 years after the start of her Univision career, she also became a correspondent for the news magazine Aquí y Ahora. After 37 years working with Univision, she decided to leave for a job with CBS in 2017.

Work with CBS

She has since covered the Presidential Election of 2020, starred in 48 Hours, Eye on America, and the documentary called Pandemia: Latinos in Crisis. Salinas is now 66 and has focused a lot of her career on empowering the Latinx community, and promoting voter registration. She is on the board of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and a founding member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. You can read more about María Elena Salinas here.

Source: Vogue Magazine

Read another post from the blog series “Women’s History Month Heroes You Should Know” here.