ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Two University of Central Florida professors said they are seeing success with their new textbook “Latinx Voices: Hispanics in Media in the U.S.” The professors also supervise the Spanish television news program, Knightly Latino.
The book takes a look at the impact, influence, perspectives, and accomplishments of Hispanics in the media, while also exploring topics of history, representation, and diversity.
The authors behind the book, Katie Coronado and Dr. Erica Rodriguez Kight, said they were first inspired to put a book together when they were planning for their Hispanics in Media class, which is part of the Hispanic Media Certificate program, along with Knightly Latino. During last year’s Hispanic Heritage Month, News 6 reported on how the professors started the program to prepare students when they graduate, and also encourage them to work in diverse newsroom settings and cover different communities.
“Being able to work in Spanish and English language media gave me the opportunity to serve as a liaison to the Hispanic/Latino community for many years. From pitching news stories to working closely with colleagues to ensure proper coverage of underserved communities, I identified opportunities to educate our community about the impact of Hispanics in Media in the United States,” Coronado said.
Coronado said she listened to her colleagues and compared success stories to visualize the textbook.
“I also knew it would help open doors for others if more people understood what it has taken for these success stories to come to fruition,” Coronado said.
She said she was also inspired by Cuban-born journalist Cristina Saralegui. Saralegui’s radio show made her question what she was doing with her experience at UCF.
“When Dr. Erica Rodriguez Kight joined [Nicholson School of Communication and Media] at UCF, I asked her if she wanted to work together and write a chapter...she said ‘no, I want to co-edit the book with you.’ So, my friend Erica helped make this dream a reality. We had numerous play dates with our babies while we worked...And the rest is history,” Coronado said.
The duo said the book took several years of planning and researching. They also realized they needed more than just their scholarly perspectives.
“We started weaving in testimonials from people who work in media, pioneers in their field, as well as younger media professionals. This was a largely collaborative process, so we appreciate the contributions from the scholars and professionals who helped us put this together — especially the graduate students who worked some long nights with us to get this done. This was definitely a team effort,” Kight said.
Now the book is being used for their Hispanics in Media course. They said they’re even in contact with several professors at universities throughout the country who have adopted the textbook.
“That’s probably the most rewarding part of all this — knowing that the information in the book is getting out there and that students will learn about the legacy and contributions of Hispanics in media in the U.S.,” said Kight.
As for their Hispanic Media Initiative, they hope to eventually go to Puerto Rico. In the meantime, students are getting the chance to speak with guest lecturers.
“We also speak multiple languages in the classroom, something I am very proud to promote among our students,” said Coronado.
They still also continue to do their part throughout the pandemic. They’ve recently collaborated with Colectivo Arbol to serve the migrant farm-working communities of Central Florida and the Tampa Bay Area. They’re focusing on vaccination events and health and safety campaigns in Spanish.