Cecilia Alvear, former president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and longtime NBC producer, succumbed to a long battle with breast cancer on Friday and died at the age of 77. Alvear is touted for advocating for Latinos in the newsroom and for being a groundbreaking journalist.
Alvear, born in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, began her career as a production assistant at KNBC in 1971 in Los Angeles. Media Moves reports that Alvear was the first Latina news producer at any of the three major TV networks, when NBC hired her to run their Mexico City bureau in 1982. There she covered wars in Central America, the unrest in Chile, Peru, Colombia and Bolivia, and earthquakes in Mexico City, El Salvador and Ecuador.” She also produced interviews with Fidel Castro in Cuba.
“She was a dedicated journalist, a champion for diversity, and a socially-conscious individual whose generosity of spirit made her a selfless and incredible friend,” Media Moves reports. “Her death is a great loss for those who knew and loved her and for those whose path she helped pave.”
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Alvear was also the first Latina selected for a Nieman fellowship at Harvard University in 1988. In 2007, she retired as a producer for NBC.
“I met Cecilia in 1982 when she was sent, as an NBC producer at the height of the Cold War, to run the war coverage of NBC in Latin America,” Los Angeles Times Latin America reporter Anne-Marie O’Connor said to LA Observed. “At the time it was rare to even meet a female producer, much less an Ecuadorian-born Latina who spoke English with an accent. Cecilia broke the mold.”
Read more about Alvear’s achievements here.
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