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NBC and Telemundo Chicago features DePaul journalism students’ stories

A partnership between Telemundo/NBC Chicago and La DePaulia offers journalism students mentorship and industry exposure


La DePaulia Staff Photo,from left to right: Cary Robbins, Emily Diaz, Alyssa Salcedo, Rodolfo Zagal, Ariana Vargas, Alonso Vidal
Staff of La DePaulia, from left to right: Cary Robbins, Emily Diaz, Alyssa Salcedo, Rodolfo Zagal, Ariana Vargas, Alonso Vidal (Photo courtesy of La DePaulia)
In a pro​file for La DePaulia, DePaul’s Spanish-language student newspaper, student Rodolfo Zagal interviewed campus custodian Maria Arvizo. Caring for students like a mother would, Arvizo brings students tamales and offers words of support. “I love them as if they were my own,” Arvizo said.

Now the story has been republished on Telemundo and NBC Chicago’s websites, thanks to a partnership between DePaul and the news outlets. The outlets have featured the profile and more than a dozen other La DePaulia stories, which appear in English and Spanish, cover the city's diverse Latino community.

“Telemundo is always trying to find talent, and our students are looking for places to publish their work to a wider audience. It just made sense for us to work together,” says faculty member Robin Hoecker, who helped to establish the partnership.

DePaul and the students and faculty who power La DePaulia and Pueblo are building a reputation of excellence in Spanish-language and Latino journalism. After DePaul won the National Association of Hispanic Jouralists’ Student Chapter of the Year Award in 2022, Telemundo reached out to work with DePaul’s student journalists.

Laura Rodriguez Presa is faculty advisor for DePaul’s Spanish-language publications. Together with students, she selects and edits the stories to serve a broader audience before pitching them to be published on Telemundo’s website in Spanish, and on NBC5 in English. “The partnership really focuses on guiding the students through the writing process to learn how to structure their stories and how to understand the audience they’re writing for,” Rodriguez Presa says.

Supporting student journalists

Students are eager to publish their work, which is essential to landing jobs and internships in journalism. “In such a competitive industry, creating a support system that builds up student journalists' portfolios is incredibly important,” says Alyssa Salcedo, editor-in-chief of La DePaulia. The partnership allows students to build relationships with news outlets and journalists.​​

Alyssa Salcedo, Editor-in-Chief of La DePaulia
Alyssa Salcedo, Editor-in-Chief of La DePaulia (Photo courtesy of La DePaulia)

“It’s important to have publications like La DePaulia so students like me can have role models that we can look up to, role models that look like us and have similar life experiences,” Salcedo says.

Rodriguez Presa, a DePaul alumna, agrees. “A lot of times, first-generation students or students of color can be at a disadvantage. We don’t have the same network that other students do or know how to work the system,” Rodriguez Presa says. “The program helps to put our students out there, make those connections, and advocate for themselves so people notice the work that they’re doing.”

In turn, Rodriguez Presa says Telemundo and NBC are getting fresh angles and story ideas.

Serving Chicago’s Hispanic communities

As part of Designing DePaul, the university is on a path to become a Hispanic-Serving Institution, or HSI. “I can’t think of anything more important to becoming an HSI than having visibility in one of the largest Spanish language media publications in the city, showing what kind of work we do here at DePaul,” Hoecker says.

Rodriguez Presa uses her experience writing for the Chicago Tribune to be a mentor and role model to students in the journalism program. Participating in the Telemundo partnership is only one facet of this work. She also teaches a bilingual journalism class, which will be offered again in the upcoming spring quarter. “It’s about showing other institutions that we care, that we are expanding our programs and making sure that the journalism program is not stagnant. It’s strong and growing,” Rodriguez Presa says.

With nearly 30% of Chicago’s population identifying as Hispanic and hundreds of thousands of Spanish speakers, bilingual journalism is key to serving the entire Chicago community.

“Being able to interview in both English and Spanish helps to build relationships with the community and share stories that might have otherwise gone unheard due to the language barrier,” Salcedo says. Giving sources the option to speak the language they feel most comfortable in allows them to share their stories accurately and authentically.

Students do not have to be fluent Spanish speakers to participate in the publications, or to take Rodriguez Presa’s bilingual journalism class. “This program is to help everyone understand how to accurately cover the community, including the Latino community that is such an essential part of Chicago,” Rodriguez Presa says.

Students interested in working with La DePaulia or Pueblo can contact them on their website.

Jade Walker is a student assistant of media relations and communications in University Communications.