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Kmex's 1st Made-in-u.s. Newscast

January 21, 1987|VICTOR VALLE | Times Staff Writer

The premiere of the West Coast's first nationally broadcast, Spanish-language, nightly newscast this week signals the latest step in the continuing transition of Spanish-language television from foreign to domestic programming.

"Noticiero Univision," produced at KMEX's Channel 34 studios here by ECO Inc., debuted at 11 p.m. Monday, replacing "24 Hours," a nightly news program produced in Mexico City.

The 60-minute program--anchored by Maria Elena Salinas, who also anchors KMEX's local newscast at 6 p.m.--was broadcast to the more than 400 affiliates of Univision, formerly the Spanish International Network, which subscribes to ECO's newscast.

Network officials predict that "Noticiero Univision" will reach about 90% of the estimated 15-million-member Latino television audience.

Significantly, "Noticiero Univision's" first broadcast showed a marked technical improvement over "24 Hours" and placed special emphasis on the celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday and its meaning to United States Latinos, with a feature on the civil rights leader's influence on union organizer Cesar Chavez.

Luis Nogales, president of ECO Inc., and former chairman of United Press International, said that the program's new style is no accident.

"There will be a difference because ('Noticiero Univision') will be produced with a greater selection of news items about U.S. Hispanics," Nogales said in an interview.

He said that the network has tripled its news-gathering resources. "Noticiero" complements the network's existing 6:30 p.m. weekday newscast, which is produced in Miami. A weekend newscast is scheduled to begin Saturday.

Feliz Gutierrez, a USC journalism professor who has written extensively about Spanish-language media in the United States, said "Noticiero Univision" represents "a gigantic step forward" for Spanish-language media in the United States.

Gutierrez noted that the expansion of the network's news division comes in the wake of last week's debut of yet another national Spanish-language news show, "Noticiero Telemundo," a half-hour program broadcast at 6:30 p.m. by KVEA Channel 52 in Los Angeles. KVEA is a member station of the nation's second Spanish-language television network, the Telemundo Group, a Reliance Capital Group venture.

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