Fernandez redefined Noticias Telemundo’s editorial line to empower Latinos with accurate information. And he’s expanded operations and increased viewership. Adding a midday newscast, creating an investigative reports unit and holding town hall meetings led to unprecedented audience expansion, particularly for the network’s weekend evening newscast among the much-coveted A18-49 audience. “Hispanics represent about 17% of the total population and yet, we are almost nonexistent when it comes to key positions in the media industry,” Fernandez says. “That has to change.”
A February 2018 UCLA study revealed that of the 45 new scripted shows approved for 2017-18 across broadcast, cable and digital platforms, only four were from creators of color, all of whom were black. What is your reaction to this report?
These numbers do not reflect the fabric of this country. Hispanics represent about 17% of the total population and yet, we are almost nonexistent when it comes to key positions in the media industry. That has to change.
What’s a recent example of a step forward for diversity in the industry?
The achievements of figures like Lin Manuel Miranda, Jennifer López, Guillermo Del Toro, to mention a few, are undeniable. Our own José Díaz-Balart became the first and only anchor to present two national network newscasts in Spanish and English every week. He anchors Noticias Telemundo Mondays to Fridays and then on Saturdays is at the front of NBC Nightly News.
In what areas should the industry step up its efforts with regard to diversity and inclusion?
We need more women in positions of power.
What’s your best advice to someone just entering the video content/distribution industry?
Work, passion and humility.
What’s been the most dramatic change in your sector of the business today vs. three years ago?
The change of leadership in prime time in Spanish language television driven by Telemundo which has been driven mostly by the success of a new genre, the Superseries produced by Telemundo Global Studios under the leadership of Marcos Santana.