Future should include Hispanic anchors


Bye-bye, guy-guy.

Modern newscasts largely have adhered to that farewell, mostly ditching the two-man anchor teams of Testosterone TV.

(Hey kids -- i.e., anyone younger than 40 -- get a retro rush on YouTube by checking out NBC's late Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, the ultimate mano a mano news team when dinosaurs ruled TV.)

Often, then, it feels like deja-viewing when Kevin Bolinger of KVVU-TV, Channel 5 sits in on evening newscasts paired with John Huck, when the former subs for Olivia Fierro, as during her extended medical leave.

Given the guy/gal co-anchor norm now, Huck/Bolinger could pass for newsmen the ad men of "Mad Men" would watch, smoke from their Camels or Lucky Strikes curling skyward, sipping their after-work martinis.

Odd to the eye, but cut Fox-5 some slack on their way-back news tack. Limited resources leave them little maneuvering room for on-air shuffles, and both Huck and Bolinger are capable, watchable anchors. (Still, it's ... strange.) Yet these throwbacks get this viewer in flash-forward mode, anchorwise. Male hegemony being the past, gender parity (more or less) being the present, could equitable ethnic representation be the future?

Just spitballing here, but stats seem to scream for an all-Hispanic anchor team on one of our major affiliate newscasts.

Projections by demographers peg the United States Hispanic/Latino population at 25 percent by 2050. Census Bureau figures have Nevada topping that 41 years early, at 26.5 percent last year. (African-Americans comprise 8.3 percent, and Asian-Americans, 6.6. percent).

That math -- and America becoming a "minority-majority nation" -- argue for a bold media move in a state at the vanguard of a coming cultural shift. News departments and the consultants they pay to tell them what they probably already know, probably already know it.

Local stations hire Hispanic journalists in solid numbers, mostly as reporters, but some serve as anchors in nighttime (Fox-5's Fierro), midday/late-day (Denise Valdez of KLAS-TV, Channel 8, Marie Mortera of KSNV-TV, Channel 3) and weekend/fill-in (Chris Saldana of Channel 8), among others.

Yet the marquee anchor ranks here -- Nina Radetich, Steve Wolford, Paula Francis, Gary Waddell, Dave Courvoisier, Casey Smith, Lisa Remillard, Jim Snyder, Sue Manteris, the Wagners -- are Hispanic-free.

Spanish-speaking viewers have turned Entravision's KINC-TV, Channel 15 and its 6/11 p.m. newscasts into a media bedrock of the Hispanic community. Certainly those newscasts are more attuned to its needs, focusing on issues such as immigration, the effect of U.S. policies on Latin countries and local Hispanic neighborhoods.

So it might seem insulting to suggest that Hispanic viewers -- a growing number of whom are bilingual -- would switch from a newscast that's more relevant to them to an English-speaking one simply because it's fronted by Hispanic anchors.

Yet, perhaps unduly idealistic as it seems, a more integrated community begins with venturing outside your cultural cocoon. That invitation is easier to accept when those from your own community hold the door open to that other world.

Suggestions? Perhaps pair Fox-5's Fierro with a promoted reporter such as Diane Tuazon or MaryAnn Martinez.

Minority female anchor team? Hey, just spitballing, hermano ...

Contact reporter Steve Bornfeld at sbornfeld@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0256.

 

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