Looking to staff its expanding local news operation, the Telemundo Station Group has launched Telemundo University,
Telemundo University brings experienced TV news people on campus to meet journalism students and to provide them with real life tricks of the trade they may not be learning in academia.
“We needed journalists we could place at our stations and I started looking for pipeline opportunities,” said Ozzie Martinez, senior VP of news, digital and standards for the Telemundo Station Group.
“I started looking around at universities that had solid broadcast programs that we could partner with and really meet students before they graduated and give them an opportunity to meet us as well--and get them place at our stations as soon as they graduated,” he said.
Martinez said Telemundo found many of the journalism students were bilingual. “That’s the direction we’re moving in as a division, so it was a wonderful opportunity and a fit,” he said.
The University of Florida was the first school to work with Telemundo and the University of Texas at Arlington has just signed on and will begin classes in early 2019. Telemundo plans to add a school in the Northeast and on the West Coast next year.
“We want to make partnerships with as many universities in our markets as possible,” Martinez said.
Since 2013, the Telemundo Station Group, has hired hundreds of journalists and newsroom staffers in the 28 markets it covers.
Sessions of Telemundo University are held on weekends and taught by people with a variety of jobs at the stations, including news directors, digital managers, multimedia journalists, producers and technical staffers. Students are educated about on-air presentation, digital media, technical operations and writing/producing.
"It’s been a fantastic experience for the students because they come out of school already knowing tricks of the trade,” Martinez said.
The University of Florida hosted a pilot program of Telemundo University in Fall 2018. Six students graduated. Three now work at Telemundo stations in San Antonio, South Florida.
One of the graduates is Zalome Briceño, now a multimedia journalist at Telemundo station KVDA-TV, San Antonio, where she’s covered the separation of migrant families and the Central American migrant “caravan.”
“I learned about the program in my last year, as a senior. I remember thinking I need a last push before I actually enter the workforce,” Briceño said.
“We were the pilot class, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from the program. However right off the bat, I knew it was going to be an opportunity to network with people actively working in the industry,” she said.
“Later on they taught us different techniques. As a student I think I got out of school knowing the basic skills. But those little techniques that we learned throughout the program, you just learn them with time and experience," said Briceño.
This fall, eight more students enrolled in the program at the University of Florida.
Applications for Telemundo University are accepted from junior and senior journalism students at the participating schools.
This new program is part of a series of development programs created by the NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations division for its journalists, newsroom, sales and marketing professionals