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Univision News Receives $500,000 Grant to Expand Investigative Journalism

Univision News has received $500,000 in grant funds from the Ford Foundation to support and expand its documentary and investigative units.

The one-year grant from the Ford Foundation’s Freedom of Expression Unit will go toward producing in-depth reports about issues that affect the Hispanic community, including immigration, civic and political participation and access to higher education. Univision will have “absolute editorial freedom and control over the issues and topics that it plans to cover,” according to the network.

“This grant strengthens our ability to continue providing the fastest growing demographic in the U.S. with the quality news and information that Univision is unwaveringly committed to,” Univision president of news Isaac Lee said in a statement. “The grant allows us to offer Hispanic audiences serious, reliable, in-depth investigative reporting that goes far beyond what is currently being presented in the mainstream media.”

More from Univision after the jump. Read more

Grover Anchors The News On Univision

The residents of Sesame Street popped in to Univision’s morning news program “Despierta America.”

As is often the case on serious news programs, the hosts pretended like they were real people, and not puppets.

It was Grover, however, who got to do something special. The blue Muppet put on a suit, tie and glasses, channeled his inner Jorge Ramos, and co-anchored alongside Satcha Pretto. He reported on a dog that can ride a scooter.

Watch the video, after the jump (warning: it starts playing automatically).
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Univision’s Jorge Ramos: Immigration Reform’s Most Powerful Booster

Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos is profiled by the Los Angeles TimesMeg James. Ramos, who began his career in his 20s as a young reporter for KMEX Los Angeles, has now become one of the most powerful voices for Latinos on the country.

President George W. Bush gave the first interview of his second term to Ramos, and the anchor successfully pushed to secure interviews with President Obama and Mitt Romney focusing on Latino issues before the last election.

Now, as the Times notes, he is one of the leading voices for immigration reform, one of he biggest issues Latinos face today.

Ramos makes no apologies for his or Univision’s forceful stance.

“Our position is clearly pro-Latino or pro-immigrant,” he said. “We are simply being the voice of those who don’t have a voice….”

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Univision Names Patsy Loris VP of News

Patsy Loris has been promoted to vice president of news at Univision. In addition to overseeing the network’s news division, Loris will be responsible for hiring personnel and developing show concepts for Fusion, Univision and ABC News’ joint cable channel scheduled for launch later this year.

Loris joined Univision News in 1989 and has most recently worked as the network’s senior news director. She is credited with creating and producing “Al Punto,” Univision’s Sunday public affairs show.

“For the last 24 years, Patsy has helped shape the editorial content of the most trusted and influential news programs on Spanish-language television in the U.S.,” Univision SVP and executive director of news Daniel Coronell said in a statement. “She is a distinguished professional and a consummate leader who has played an instrumental role in the growth and success of Univision News, and we are confident that she will continue to make invaluable contributions to Univision in her new role.”

More from Univision after the jump. Read more

Univision News President: English Networks ‘think getting a Hispanic voice is getting a reporter with a Spanish last name’

The Financial Times profiles Univision as it begins work in earnest on Fusion, the new cable news channel it is building in conjunction with ABC News. Univision News president Isaac Lee plays a big role in the story, not only for his vision of what his news organization should be, but how he views the English language competition.

Lee is withering about English language rivals’ attempts to appeal to Hispanic audiences, saying that they give little coverage to topics such as immigration.

“They think getting a Hispanic voice is getting a reporter with a Spanish last name,” he says. “It is unbelievable how gringos believe they can have a Latino tone. They end up offending the community and patronising them. We are [portrayed] as the gardeners and the maids.”

Univision’s audience is a few decades younger than the average audience for English language news. It is made all the more amazing by the fact that the budget for Univision News is around 1/10th that of, say, ABC News. As the FT notes, ABC has benefited from Univision talent in recent months, as the two companies forge the new channel together.

The TVNewser Twitter Index: The Most-Followed Weekend Network Shows

In this week’s TVNewser Twitter Index, we set our sights on the weekend broadcast shows, including the Sunday public affairs programs.

As with past trackers, we are looking at the Twitter counts of shows, not hosts, so some hosts may be sapping followers from their programs. Hosts will be featured in future indexes.

So, how do the weekend shows stack up on Twitter?

The Sunday public affairs shows:

“Meet the Press”: 109,717

“This Week”: 18,102

“Face The Nation”: 17,785

“Fox News Sunday”: 51,490

“Al Punto”: 41,336

This was surprising. While “Meet the Press” is the clear leader in followers, both Univision’s Al Punto” and “Fox News Sunday” have strong followings too, surpassing both CBS and ABC. We have already established that CBS does not promote its social accounts as much as its competitors do, but it is still a surprising result.

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Dr. Juan José Rivera Named Chief Medical Correspondent at Univision

Dr. Juan José Rivera is joining Univision News as chief medical correspondent. Rivera is the director of cardiovascular prevention for Mount Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach.

In his new role, Rivera will host two weekly health segments on “Primer Impacto.” He will report on medical news across all Univision’s news platforms as well as contribute to Fusion, the joint Univision-ABC News network that is slated to launch later this year.

“His outstanding medical training and expertise, excellent communication skills, experience in Spanish-language media, and proven dedication to educating the Hispanic community about prevention and other important health issues make him the ideal candidate to lead Univision’s medical reporting efforts,” Univision news president Isaac Lee said in a statement.

Rivera is a former chief medical correspondent for Telemundo and online contributor to NBC News.


ABC Univision Channel to be Called Fusion

As they come together to launch a new network, ABC and Univision have decided on a name for their news and lifestyle channel geared toward Hispanics: Fusion. Fusión, with the same meaning and spelling, but different pronunciation, in Spanish and English, will be based in Miami. The English pronunciation is the one taking hold internally.

TVNewser first reported that “Fusion” was one of the final names being considered back in mid December. Other names under consideration included “Una,” “Powr,” “Vzta” and “Accent.”

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Univision to launch Fusion,” said Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC TV. “Our collaboration will bring unmatched reporting capabilities and understanding of issues and entertainment that resonate with the Hispanic community”

The English-language network will be available at launch in millions of households, including on five of the nation’s biggest distributors: Cablevision, Charter, Cox, AT&T U-verse and Google Fiber.

“Fusion will be the indispensable meeting place for English-speaking Latinos,” added ABC News president Ben Sherwood in an announcement of the name. “Our goal is for this young, vibrant, and media hungry audience to come to Fusion to be informed, entertained and empowered. It will be fresh, fun and optimistic and of great interest to Latinos and non-Latinos alike.”

“Fusion will bring together diverse cultures, voices and viewpoints,” said Isaac Lee, president, Univision News. “We will explore the realities shaping the world, give Latinos a voice in the American conversation and deliver personally relevant local, national and global perspectives.”

The network has hired a CFO and other staffers as it eyes a September launch.

Univision Asks Sen. Menendez About ‘Daily Caller’ Reports of Sex Parties: ‘Those Are Lies Intended to Slander Me’

Univison reporter Lourdes Meluzá got a sit-down interview with embattled New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez yesterday.

Menendez is accused of using his influence in a business deal in the Dominican Republic that benefited a longtime friend and donor whose Palm Beach County office was raided by federal agents in January.

More salaciously, the Daily Caller has been reporting on Menendez’s other alleged activities during trips to the Domincan Republic. And so, toward the end of the three-minute interview (more of which will air on Al Punto on Sunday) Meluzá asked Menendez about it. The original interview was in Spanish. This is Univision’s English translation:

Meluzá: Please, Senator, briefly, if you could state, on camera, your position regarding the accusations made by The Daily Caller and others that say that you went to the Dominican Republic and attended parties at Casa de Campo where prostitutes were present, minors, even. Could you reiterate your position and respond to this, please?

Menendez: This is the last time I’ll do this, the last time I do it. Because it’s gotten to a level where the press, the legitimate press, not the leftist or the right wing press, from the left, from the right or the left, where anonymous faceless and nameless people can make an accusation and the press will ask you this question. I could say something about you and say, “Hey, they’re saying this or that anonymously.” Those are lies intended to slander me, and they’re completely… not only absurd, but completely false.

Jim Avila Moves To White House Beat For ABC/Univision

The ABC/Univision venture continues to staff up, and today’s addition is a big one. Jim Avila, who had been ABC’s senior national correspondent, will join Jon Karl on ABC’s White House team. Once the still-unnamed ABC/Univision cable news channel launches, he will become its first White House correspondent.

He will continue to contribute to “20/20″ and will also become ABCs go-to correspondent for issues related to “Hispanic America, immigration reform, education, politics and other issues vitally important to the Latino community,” the network says.

The hiring is significant, and really underscores how seriously ABC and Univison are taking the new joint venture. The last big cable news JV, MSNBC, borrowed its White House correspondent from NBC News, as it still does now. In Avila, the ABC/Univision channel will have a correspondent who can ask questions directly related to its audience.

In his memo to staff, ABC News president Ben Sherwood also announced a new role for political contributor Matthew Dowd (more on that here). The full memo, after the jump.
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