The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Will NBC bosses bring more Latino talent to KNBC-TV?

August 12, 2011 |  5:26 pm

A couple of organizations representing Latino journalists have complained that KNBC television in Los Angeles has diminished the role of Latinos on the air in a city where the ethnic group represents about half the population.

A letter from the National Assn. of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) this week follows a similar complaint last week from the CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California. The letters to station management noted that several journalists have been demoted in recent weeks and that Channel 4 has no Latino anchors. L.A.'s other top news stations have at least one Latino anchor.

But NAHJ President Michele Salcedo reported on the organization's website Friday that station management has indicated changes are on the way. Salcedo's said the assurances came from  outgoing KNBC General Manager Craig Robinson, who is being named diversity officer for all of NBCUniversal.

Salcedo said that Robinson told her "it is not his goal to be without Hispanic anchors, and he and station executives are continuing to recruit Hispanic anchors and on-air talent.”

The chief of the Latino journalists group added that Robinson assured her “that the anchor lineup six months from now is not going to look as it does today. We also discussed establishing a pipeline to groom Latino broadcast journalists to fill positions throughout the newsroom as well as executive offices.”

Among the moves that alarmed Latino journalists was KNBC's removal of veteran Ana Garcia from her position as anchor of the 6 p.m. news. She was replaced by Lucy Noland, who was born in Vietnam of a Vietnamese mother and American father. Garcia remains at Channel 4 as an investigative reporter.

“I do think there is a huge problem with fact there is no Latino or Latina in a primary position at the station,” said one KNBC insider, who declined to be named for fear of angering management. “I think that is extraordinary, when you look at the population of Los Angeles. I don’t understand it.”


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Photo: Ana Garcia arrives at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences 63rd Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards this month. Garcia was part of teams that won a couple of the trophies but she lost her spot anchoring the 6 p.m. news at KNBC. She continues to work at the station as an investigative reporter. Credit: Valerie Macon / Getty Images