Each of our 11 NBC Owned Television Stations has a Telemundo sister station. These pairs of news stations in the same market with the same owner are called duopolies. Sometimes a duopoly can work out of the same building, or even on the same floor. Although the two stations may have different call letters and audiences, being so close to each other facilitates myriad opportunities for collaboration, regardless of language.
José Díaz-Balart, a bilingual news anchor for MSNBC, NBC News and Telemundo, Telemundo 51 (Miami) reporter Miguel Santiesteban and NBC 5/Telemundo 39 (Dallas) managing editor Lizbeth Licon discuss how local NBC and Telemundo newsrooms work together to report the news.
The following excerpts have been edited for clarity.
José Díaz-Balart: What is the relationship between local NBC and Telemundo stations, and how do they work together and how are they able to blend?
Lizbeth Licon: It all comes down to synergy. It’s important for everyone to know that we are one station, we are one team. And the advantage that we have is instead of having one station with five troops, we have 10, combining both resources and talent out in the streets. It gives us more of an opportunity to be in more places than one, which puts us ahead of the competition… We can have our Telemundo talent, as well as our NBC talent, be on each other’s air.
Díaz-Balart: What about those journalists that have an accent in their second language? Could be someone who speaks primarily Spanish and has an accent in English, or someone who speaks primarily English and has an accent in Spanish. How is that a factor in what you do?
Miguel Santiesteban: That’s a very personal question for me because I came to the United States eight years ago from Colombia. I was born in Colombia, so English is a second language for me, I do have an accent. NBCUniversal is so welcoming to help you better work with your accent. The first year that I started working with NBC Connecticut, they told me, “Miguel, you speak English, so we want you to come and report our story about Hispanic heritage in Hartford.” So that was more personal for me, to be able to report that in English for the community in Connecticut… For students who might be listening right now, and you came from a Latino country and English is your second language, it is possible. You can do it. NBCUniversal, we’ll help you, we’ll get you through it, to work through your accent. We have many correspondents, many reporters across the country, we’re doing it. I am an example. I did it in Hartford, I did it in Boston.
Díaz-Balart: I like to say, it’s important that all of us, regardless of the language or languages we speak, we should cultivate the depth of our vocabulary and perfect our accent in whatever language you’re talking about.