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NBC News and Noticias Telemundo will team on bilingual reports on Latino community

NBC News x Noticias Telemundo Reports will launch Thursday.
(NBC News)

NBC News and Noticias Telemundo are combining resources on an ongoing basis for reports about the Latino community that will be presented in Spanish and English.

While NBC News correspondents have filed stories for Telemundo, the collaboration announced Thursday is the first formal initiative between the two units since the Spanish-language network became part of NBC — before it was NBCUniversal — in 2002.

Under the umbrella title of “NBC News x Noticias Telemundo Reports,” the stories will air in English across the streaming channel NBC News Now, the NBC broadcast network programs “Today” and “NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt” and various MSNBC programs. Spanish-language versions will appear on Telemundo’s network newscasts which air middays, evenings and in late night.

Upcoming pieces in this series will include contributions from NBC News and Noticias Telemundo’s investigative teams and joint reporting efforts leading up to the 2020 elections.

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NBC News and Telemundo worked together on special event coverage such as the recent Democratic presidential primary debates and share the services of bilingual anchor José Díaz-Balart, who appears on Telemundo and the Saturday edition of “NBC Nightly News.”

The plan for a wider partnership accelerated after the arrival of Cesar Conde, who was named chairman of the NBCU News Group, which gave him oversight of all NBCUniversal’s news operations. Conde moved into the job after heading Telemundo and NBCUniversal’s international businesses, making him the first Latino to head a major English-language TV news organization.

NBCUniversal’s management shakeup Thursday also includes new roles for veteran executives Matt Strauss and Frances Berwick.

“Obviously with Cesar coming over it kind of solidified the connection we had, and we looked for opportunities to do more together,” NBC News President Noah Oppenheim said. “Heading into the election when the Latino community in the United States is going to be one of the most significant blocs in the midst of this pandemic, when Latino Americans are in the front lines of essential workers in so many industries and are being disproportionally hit, it seemed like a good time to combine the resources of the two organizations to do a deeper dive together.”

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“It’s critical we provide our viewers with information that is reliable and factual, in both languages,” Telemundo Network News President Luis Fernández added.

News organizations have been under greater public pressure to reflect the changing demographics of the country and provide more resources and personnel for covering communities of color. Conde told staff in July that he ultimately wants a 50% diverse workforce in his division, up from its current level of 27%.

The NBC News x Noticias Telemundo combination will use bilingual reporters from both networks who can conduct interviews and read copy in Spanish and English.

Correspondents Guadalupe Venegas, left, and Gadi Schwartz in McFarland, Calif., for NBC News x Noticias Telemundo Reports.
Correspondents Guadalupe Venegas, left, and Gadi Schwartz in McFarland, Calif., for an upcoming story for NBC News x Noticias Telemundo Reports.
(Olivia Santini)
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Viewers will see the first collaborative efforts this week as NBC’s Gadi Schwartz and Telemundo’s Guadalupe Venegas report on the use of testing and tracing in agriculture and the food supply chain in California as means to prevent disease outbreaks.

New York-based NBC News correspondent Morgan Radford and Noticias Telemundo correspondent Nicole Suárez will do a series of reports next week on how remote learning during the pandemic will impact millions of Latino families where English is a second language.

The announcement by NBC News comes as CNN is the only major U.S. TV news organization to put its brand name on a Spanish-language service with CNN Español, which occasionally collaborates with the flagship channel. NBC had a Spanish-language news service for several years in the 1990s called Canal de Noticias.

Network executives said discussions about developing NBC News x Telemundo Noticias Reports began before the COVID-19 pandemic and the project is not related to the company-wide personnel cuts across NBCUniversal due to the economic downturn.

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Two prominent on-air news personalities for Telemundo said they learned they were let go Wednesday as part of the cutbacks.

María Celeste Arrarás, host of the program “Al Rojo Vivo,” told her followers on Instagram that she is departing the program. Ana Patricia Candiani, an anchor at Telemundo’s Los Angeles outlet KVEA, is also departing.

The cuts come as NBCUniversal saw a year-to-year 25% drop in revenue in the second quarter due to declines in TV advertising, theme park shutdowns and delays in movie releases all related to the pandemic.

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