Giving a Voice to the News for the Hispanic Community
By Meredith Kay
Photography by David Teran
We are all bombarded with so many messages every single day that it is often hard to know who to trust about what is going on in our community and around the world. San Antonio’s Hispanic culture is what drives our identity as a community, and our Spanish-language television stations continue to produce award-winning content and programming for loyal viewers. At the helm of these Spanish-language television stations, women are the dominant force in the newsroom, and they are inspiring other women to follow their career dreams.
News Anchor at Univision
“Blazing the Trail for Hispanic Female Broadcast Journalists for 50 Years”
Today it is not uncommon to see female sports reporters at the news desks and on the playing fields, but 50 years ago, it was not an occupation open to women. Monica Navarro broke that barrier when she became the first female sports anchor and news reporter in Mexico at the age of 21. Monica grew up in Mexico City and earned her bachelor’s degree in Communication Science and then her master’s degree in Journalism at Universidad Anahuac.
Monica worked hard to prove herself as a professional journalist and quickly became respected, moving up the ranks at Televisa, and earning popularity with audiences. She was approached in 1982 by Emilio Nicolas, Sr., a pioneer in Spanish-language television. Nicholas invited her to move to San Antonio to become a part of the news team at Univision, and after seven months of freelance work for the station, Monica Navarro became a full-time news anchor and reporter.
She credits the community with being her biggest source for news stories, and she has worked very hard throughout her career to stay connected with her audience. Monica says, “I have a very special connection with the people of San Antonio, and it has been an honor to serve the community for so many years.”
Monica’s personality is warm and inviting, and she treats everyone as if they have been friends forever. It is this ability to connect with others that has allowed her to come across as genuine and sincere, a quality that not all news reporters possess. She is very social and friendly by nature and loves to paint and take art classes in her spare time.
As technology has advanced and our attention has been fractured, Monica has adapted to these changes becoming an expert in multimedia journalism, mastering social media and digital reporting, as well as production and editing. She produces her own news stories and covers a wide range of topics. She has won many national and international awards throughout her career and was even named the “Hispanic Journalist of the Year” in 2003 by the Hispanic Media Awards.
Monica has had an impressive and stellar career, and she states, “Without God’s presence in my life, I cannot move. It is my faith and my resilience that has propelled me through my career.”
On August 19, 2022, Monica Navarro recorded her last broadcast at the news desk with Univision and officially retired as an anchor. She is taking some time off to visit her daughter and granddaughters in Guadalajara, but she has plans to return to San Antonio to work on personal and freelance projects, as well as special reports and station events with Univision.
Moana Ramirez Loustaunau
Vice President & Regional News Director for Univision
“Making Important News Accessible Across Multiple Channels”
Most of us don’t find our dream jobs while working as an intern in college, but one local lady took her internship seriously and parlayed it into a lifelong career. Now, Moana Ramirez Loustaunau is leading the news department at Univision for both the San Antonio and Austin markets.
Moana began her career as an intern at KMEX-TV in Los Angeles while attending Cal Poly Pomona. She quickly learned the business and worked her way up from managing the assignments desk to becoming the Executive Producer for the station’s morning news program. She was thriving in her career and raising her sons with her husband, Christian, when the opportunity came up to become the News Director at KWEX Univision in San Antonio in 2014.
After visiting the city and researching the school system for her boys, Moana and her husband decided to embrace the city’s unique culture and headed east. As soon as she became a Texan, Moana hit the ground running. Her energy is contagious, and she can often be seen dancing around the newsroom, encouraging her reporters to dig deep for the perfect angle to a story.
Moana starts her day early with the 5:00 a.m. news so she can get some perspective on what will be coming her way as she meets with her team in the newsroom. Her day is filled with editorial and content meetings with her San Antonio reporters and also with the Univision news team at KAKW in Austin. She strives to make the newsroom family-friendly and states that her inspiration for this comes from her own family. Moana has two sons, Christian (16) and Sebastian (10).
Moana says, “I really want our newsroom to be family focused. Family comes first, and it is so important to find that balance between family and career. We all have different wiring, and I want to be around a team of professionals that respects one another.”
When you ask Ramirez about the challenges she has encountered as an executive woman in broadcast journalism, she will tell you that she has been blessed with mentors who have helped her realize and know her self-worth. She believes, “Women who are in leadership roles need to feed themselves with knowledge so that we can teach others and become more empathetic leaders.”
Her philosophies and her determination are definitely paying off. Moana is very well respected among her colleagues and across the broadcast media industry. KWEX was one of the first Hispanic news stations in the country, and Moana and her team continue to set the standard for what can be achieved when you know your market, hold true to your ethics and focus on your audience.
News Anchor at Telemundo
“Mastering the Work-Life Balance One Story at a Time”
Growing up in McAllen, Jessica Montoya knew that she wanted to be on the air. She started her career early when she became a host for a kids’ radio show that was broadcasting across the border in Reynoso. She really enjoyed this and looked forward to the drive into Mexico every Saturday morning. Eventually, the station gave her the opportunity to host her own radio show at age 15, and she worked at growing her audience until she was 18. She enrolled in U.T. Rio Grande Valley (formerly U.T. Pan American), where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Public Relations/Advertising.
After graduation, Jessica found a position at Univision in McAllen. For eight years, she learned how to run the news department, tackling several positions at the same time since they were such a small market. She learned how to research news stories and became quite adept at tailoring those stories for her McAllen audience. Jessica was an important team player at the station and loved that her job was so versatile, but she felt that she had gone as far as she could in McAllen and started to look toward larger markets to take that next step in her career.
That opportunity came in 2014, and Jessica moved north to San Antonio to take a position as a news producer at Telemundo. However, it was quickly discovered that she was a natural on camera, and she seamlessly moved into an anchor position where she has remained for the past eight years. She says, “As a journalist, I have a responsibility to tell someone’s story correctly and with respect. It is very impactful to relate somebody else’s story to the public, and I take it seriously.”
Jessica reflects on how the story about the Uvalde massacre impacted her as a journalist and how she struggled to keep her composure on the air as the details came in. She said, “It is often difficult to balance your feelings as a caring human being with the professional responsibility to inform the public when something tragic happens.”
With regard to balancing her work life with her personal life, Jessica says that it is important to set boundaries for yourself and practice time management skills in order to achieve a balance that works for you and your family. Jessica has a 5-year-old son named Jose Armando Alvarado and a 1-year-old daughter named Ivanna Michelle Alvarado, and being there for her family is extremely important to her.
“When I’m working, my responsibility is to give my time to my community, but when I’m home, I strive to connect with my family. It is also important to give yourself grace as you figure out what that balance looks like for you personally.”
Vice President of News for Telemundo
“Building a Career by Taking a Chance on an Unexpected Opportunity”
Sometimes the best opportunities present themselves when we least expect them and when we are most unprepared for them. That is how a career was launched for Delines Alonso, Vice President of News at Telemundo.
Delines was born and raised in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and her career in broadcast journalism began while she was attending Sacred Heart University in San Juan. She worked as an unpaid intern at WAPA-TV and learned quickly how the newsroom worked. She was hired as a part-time news director for the weekend news broadcasts and also worked part-time at a local radio station to make ends meet, but her heart was always in TV.
Eventually, Delines was hired full-time with the TV station as a production assistant and was promoted to produce the mid-day news show. During this time, in 2000, she was contacted by Carmen Dominicci, a friend and former news anchor who had recently moved to New York to work for Telemundo. Carmen had recommended Delines for a position as a news producer, and after a whirlwind interview that resulted in a job offer, Delines made the hard decision to leave her family in Puerto Rico and move to New York City.
She took on more responsibility in her job but worried that not being completely fluent was going to impact her ability to grow in her career. She says, “When you are trying to grow in your career in the United States, you must be able to communicate effectively in English with others, even if we are broadcasting in Spanish.”
Delines worked hard at her new position and on her language skills. She also fell in love and married Gustavo Alonso, a co-worker on the production team. The couple lived in New Jersey, and together they have two daughters, Victoria Sophia (11) and Amanda Isabel (10).
Delines thrived in her position at Telemundo and even had the opportunity to work on-camera as a reporter. She says that the experience helped her understand her team on a much deeper level, but her heart was in directing and producing. After seven years, she took a position at Univision as a news producer and manager, where she gained valuable leadership experience that eventually led her back to Telemundo to work as an Executive Producer and then as the Assistant News Director.
In 2019, Delines was hired for a position that had become available in San Antonio as the Vice President of News. Since then, Delines has been the driving force behind the news team at Telemundo, and she credits her success to her networking skills and her desire to help others succeed in their own careers. She is a champion to other women in broadcast journalism, and she advises other women not to be afraid to take risks and to seize opportunities when they present themselves. She speaks firmly when she says that women need to believe in themselves and empower others along the way.