VP of Telemundo, Ramon Escobar, speaks to SJMC students

By: Amelia Gutierrez

On April 21, 2011, Professor Jose Alvarado invited Telemundo’s News Executive Vice President Ramon Escobar to speak to his students about his definition of the word journalism. With wit and zeal, Escobar captivated the attention of Alvarado’s students as he defined journalism.

Throughout Escobar’s lecture, he interacted with the students by asking them what they thought was journalism.

“Journalism is a credible source of information,” a student said.

Another student said that journalism was reporting and investigating newsworthy content.

Although Escobar agreed with the students’ definitions, he said that journalism can be defined in one simple sentence.

On the dry-erase board he wrote: Journalism is a current, reasoned reflection of society’s events, needs and values.

For one simple sentence, it took more than an hour to explain his definition of journalism. The sentence was not so simple. He broke down the sentence, to further dissect the true value of the sentence.

The sentence later became a current, logically researched reflection–whether it be in print, television, or online–of society’s events, needs and values.

He stated that needs and values could vary depending on the society, geographical location, gender, sex, religion, sexual orientation, culture, etc.

Escobar stressed the importance of understanding the needs and values of an audience. He stated that the content might be valuable and important for an audience, but without relating the information to the audience’s needs and values, the information would not be beneficial and not as effective.

The class ended with an applause from the students who appreciated his lecture.

Published in: on April 25, 2011 at 10:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Guest Speaker Energizes SJMC Students


By: Paige Johnsen

Students of Professor Jose Alvarado’s Introduction to Journalism class had the privilege to attend a lecture by Roman Escobar, Vice President of Telemundo, on April 21, 2011. 

Escobar decided he wanted to be a journalist when he was a child.

In the 1960s, Escobar’s parents left their home in Columbia and immigrated to New York City.  When they finally settled in Arkansas, Escobar joined the family portrait.  Escobar’s parents learned how to speak English by watching 1960s television sitcoms.

Escobar said, “I realized how importance of the ‘box with wires’, it was a babysitter, educator and entertainer.”

In Arkansas, Escobar stood out with curly hair, a weird last name and no one that spoke like him.  In high school, he achieved the opportunity of a lifetime, he was selected to represent the state of Arkansas in DC by Boys Nation in 1986.   

Before President Ronald Regan’s speech, a reporter asked Escobar, “Hey kid, do you want to be on television?  Ask him what he thinks about the apartheid in Africa.”

The reporter was, Sam Donaldson, a White House correspondent for news.

Escobar hesitated, he wasn’t one of the five selected to ask a question.

Donaldson said, “Of course you can ask a question.  This is America.”

That moment inspired Escobar to do what he wanted to do.  He realized he wanted to be among the sea of journalists and ask the tough questions.

Published in: on April 23, 2011 at 12:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Missing “Why” From The 9/11 Attacks

By: Viviana M. Garcia

CNN. 9/11. Retrieved April 20, 2011.

The mainstream media, during and after the attacks on September 11, failed to report on the reasons behind why Osama bin Laden’s hatred toward the United States. When asked why they chose to abstain from printing stories that would answer that question, they claimed it was due to the fact that they feared to look as though they were unpatriotic in the days following such devastation along with seeming as though they were justifying the attacks through their explanations.

Streitmatter, in his book Mightier Than The Sword , claims that the media failed to answer because its journalists were overwhelmed answering the other critical questions of, who, what, when, and where. It might be said that journalists were justified in not making the motivations of terrorists their highest priority when dealing with such a multifaceted event that had countless repercussions to report on.

Many, including Streitmatter claim that the media did not sufficiently report and comment on whether President Bush was justified in declaring war with Iraq. Many statements made by the President and then Vice President, Dick Chaney, initially propelled strong backing for the war. The two reasons for entering Iraq less than a month after the attacks on the US, where as follows: 1) to weaken al-Qaeda and 2) to weaken the Taliban that condoned the oppression of women.

Iraq was painted as the, “axis of evil,” by the President and this garnered much attention, both in support of his actions and against. It’s up to the American people to ask themselves, however, what for them constitutes an “evil” action and whether 9/11 and the killing of thousands of innocent American lives falls into an evil act.

“Too Little, Too Late,” writes Streitmatter in reference to the length of time it took prominent media organizations to answer the why question, but they eventually did. The New York Times ran a profile on bin Laden three weeks after the attacks, but this was done once war had been declared. It is important to note, however, that bin Laden did say the following, that he felt, “indignation over American support of Israel,” and that he had “grown to hate America that, as he saw it, had used its power to oppress the people of Islam.” Reflection should be practiced by journalists and US citizens to ask themselves whether these statements are problematic and something to be concerned about.

The media and the President both should have done things differently and hopefully with this backdrop of history and example, we will know how to better approach future situations.

Source: Streitmatter, R. (2008). Mightier Than the Sword: How the News Media Have Shaped American Story. United States: Westview Press.

Published in: on April 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Proposed Correct Definition of Journalism

By: Viviana M. Garcia

Telemundo. Ramon Escobar. Retrieved April 21, 2011.

On April 19, 2011, Ramon Escobar, Vice President of Telemundo addressed an Introduction to Journalism class at Florida International University. He touched upon the pillars of journalism and stressed the importance of knowing precisely what journalism is. After posing the question, “what is journalism?” he dissected word for word his response:

Journalism is a current, reasoned reflection of society’s events, needs and values.

The most important part of this definition is the latter part, that of writing about society’s “needs and values.” Many might think that being objective is a journalist’s main responsibility, said Escobar, but in reality, this should not be the main priority, it is instead what you do with that bias that is important.

“Journalism is about discussion,” stated Escobar. We do not write stories to provide society with answers because it is a process to reach an ultimate response to current situation or event.

In his opinion, Escobar believes that the most successful news organizations are going to be those that focus on the needs and values of the people. “This is why,” he says, “Fox news is the number one rated news outlet on cable television.

To the students, he advised that they pay close attention to social media, become a great writer, become a great storyteller, and think critically.

Published in: on April 21, 2011 at 2:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Telemundo Executive, Ramon Escobar, Visits FIU

By: Joeli Prieto

Ramon Escobar. Retrieved April 20, 2011 from http://www.quarkbase.com/people/telemundo.com

On Tuesday, April 19, 2011, Telemundo executive, Ramon Escobar, spoke to our JOU 3003 class. Escobar spoke about his childhood, his motivation to become a journalist and his achievements in his career.

Escobar grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas where as he stated, “No on looked like me.” His parents immigrated to the United States in the 1960s, and both came from Spanish speaking countries.

Escobar’s parents used television as a source of learning the English language and to learn about American culture and society. This was when Escobar realized how influential and powerful television was. It was at this point, which he realized he wanted to pursue a career in broadcast journalism focusing on political journalism.

In 1986, Escobar was chosen to attend a conference in Washington D.C. where he met, at the time, Senator Bill Clinton. At the conference, former ABC correspondent, Sam Donaldson, approached Escobar and asked him to ask the president about South Africa because the reporters themselves could not ask. This confirmed Escobar’s desire to become a journalist, so that he could ask whatever questions he wanted to.

Escobar’s career achievements include: being sports producer at Univision, vice president of MSNBC and launching TV channels such as Animal Planet and TLC. Escobar is currently the vice president of network news at Telemundo.

Published in: on April 21, 2011 at 1:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ramon Escobar addresses FIU journalism class

By: Jonathan Simmons

Ramon Escobar, executive director of Telemundo, addressed Professor Alvarado’s Introduction to Journalism class April 19, 2011. Escobar spoke of his childhood growing up as a Latino in rural Arkansas. Early on, he had been moved by the power of television as a medium for conveying information — he had seen his parents learn about the language and culture of their new country by watching it — and decided early on that he wanted to go into the TV news business.

Escobar defined journalism as “a current, reasoned reflection, published in print, TV or online, of society’s events, needs and values,” and then dissected that definition for the class, explaining, word by word, exactly what it really signifies.

Escobar emphasized that it’s the “needs and values” part of the definition that really defines compelling journalism, and that the news organizations that are successful at dealing with those more difficult issues are the ones most likely to succeed in the future. Many newspapers, Escobar said, were not dealing effectively with these topics, and, “that’s why you’re seeing a lot of newspapers completely falling apart.”

Escobar spoke of the manner in which journalism is evolving away from the world of print, and of the impact of new, cheap technology, such as hand-held video cameras, on journalists’ ability to tell stories that have an impact, while emphasizing the need to use that influence responsibly. “You’re exercising a profession that is a process,” he said. “If you do it right, you will be enriching your society; if you do it wrong, it could be disastrous.”

Published in: on April 21, 2011 at 10:17 am  Leave a Comment  

The media and it’s influence during 9/11

By: Amelia Gutierrez

9/11 was the powerful event that launched chaos, misunderstanding, and more debt than one would’ve ever imagined. It was also an outlet to launch and push careers of Journalists and report stories that informed society the 5W’s. Unfortunately, the case was not so. Americans were misled with false accusations by the President Bush and the Bush administration, as well as the media who didn’t research the attack enough. The misleading information was a result of trying to provide comfort to the American people.

The words of the president were what the media was following instead of what Osama bin Laden had to say. The American government was not thinking rationally during and after 9/11. America saw Osama as the culprit of the attack and accused him without thinking twice. Society was hearing a America’s account of what happened, not Osama’s story. The country was manipulated and saw Osama as the enemy and President Bush as the hero. The media reported biased and false information without a reputable source. This strategy affected the public tremendously. The President was viewed horribly and the media was viewed as biased information with an agenda. Americans lost trust in the media and the government.

Published in: on April 21, 2011 at 1:25 am  Leave a Comment  

Editor’s Note

By: Amelia Gutierrez

These week our blogs were about government repression or McCarthyism. When a county forces and intimates the inhabitants to attempt any uprising. There are many examples of this in the world today. For example, Libia, Yemen, Iran, and Syria. The people of these countries are fighting to break down the walls of their government’s abuse. Some achieved a successful uprising like Yemen, while other continue to fight. Our bloggers wrote about the forceful government repression in Miami and how it was put to an end, another wrote on how Italy’s Prime Minister Berlusconi was accused of have sex with an underage prostitute, but how she was under his estate.

McCarthyism not only invaded the United States in a powerful way, but it influenced other countries as well such as Argentina, Guatemala, and Mexico. With indecisive decisions and raised suspicions of Argentina following McCarthyism actions, the United States become wary of the country. With the help of the United States, Guatemalan’s could rest easy to know that their country would not become a communist country. For Mexico, journalists as well the residents are being threatened. Any journalists in Mexico are being threatened to not report any news on Narco-violence related violence. At least 11 journalists have been killed, and the death toll continues to rise. The drug lords are controlling the government as well as anyone who steps foot in Mexico.

Read our blogs on government repression to learn more about these countries and many others.

Published in: on April 21, 2011 at 12:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Ramon Escobar: Journalism and the Influence of Television

by: Ana Milanes

Ramon Escobar, a very influential man in the field of communications speaks about his path to television. Growing up in Little Rock, Arkansas, Escobar is the only Hispanic. His parents emigrated to the United Sates in late 1950s due to economic troubles. Escobar explains how he saw his parents learn the language and the culture through television which this made him seek to pursue a communications career.

In 1986, Escobar was selected to be part of “Boy’s Nation” program which selects two students to represent each state at the White House. He met Governor William Clinton who then introduced him to John F. Kennedy and President Ronald Reagan. Instead of being stimulated to be a politician, he was inspired to become a journalist when ABC correspondent Sam Donaldson told him that if he asks questions he could be on television. Escobar claims, he knew he wanted to ask the hard questions that everyone was afraid to ask.

Escobar studied at the University of Missouri and became a political journalist. He worked with large networks such as NBC, Univision and most currently Telemundo. Escobar leaves the audience pondering his definition of journalism; “a current, reasoned, reflection of society’s events, needs and values”.

Published in: on April 20, 2011 at 8:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ramon Escobar visits Florida International University

By Nathaly Duran

On Tuesday April 19, the students of Professor Alvarado’s Introduction to Journalism class had the pleasant visit of Mr. Ramon Escobar, Vice President of Telemundo News. As a way to advise the prospect journalists, Mr. Escobar took the class through a journey starting from his parent’s migration to the U.S., their influence on his decision of going into the TV industry, to a precise description of the concept of Journalism.

His story began in the 1960’s when his parents, running away from racism and poverty in Latin America, came to the United States illegally. Born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas; Escobar experienced the influence of two worlds and remembers how his parents learned about the American society from the TV or as he calls it: “a box of wires”, this was one of his earliest motivations to be in the TV business.

But it was a moment at the White House what fueled his desire to be a journalist, when as a student in the path of becoming a politician; he was banned from asking questions to President Ronald Regan. From that moment on he knew he wanted to be on the side of the road where he could ask questions, as he said, “questions no one says, you can’t ask that question.”

Although Mr. Escobar went over the class period, it certainly was not enough time for him to say all he wanted to say, and for us to learn all we need to learn. Yet, he left us with a broader sense of what journalism is and where it is heading. Mr. Escobar also confirmed the big lesson learned throughout the semester in the Introduction to Journalism class, how journalism and the media’s myriad influence shapes history, by concluding, “Journalism is not an answer but a process, if you do it right you benefit society, if you don’t you destroy it.”

Published in: on April 20, 2011 at 7:17 pm  Leave a Comment