By Erica Sabino
Jorge Ramos, an award-winning TV journalist, is one of the most recognized Latino leaders in America. He was hailed “Star newscaster of Hispanic TV” by Wall Street Journal in 2000 and was part of Time magazine’s list of the “25 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States” in 2005. More recently, he was placed on Fortune’s 2016 list of “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” and was the only U.S. journalist to be included.
Born and raised in Mexico, he moved to the United States in 1983, where he attended UCLA Extension, studying journalism for a year before he started his career as a reporter for KMEX-Channel 14. From that stepping stone, his place in the industry skyrocketed at an impressive speed.
In 1986, at the age of 28, he became the anchorman for Noticiero Univision, a popular Spanish language news program, where he has held the position for the past three decades. He also hosts Al Punto, another Univision talk show, and AMERICA with Jorge Ramos, an English language news program that appeals to millennials. His presence on these shows and many others has expanded his audience significantly among various Hispanic groups and generations.
Ramos’ time in front of the camera has garnered him a large following, particularly among Hispanics. Not only does he report on news currently trending on other big channels, but he also reports on stories that aren’t given much airtime such as updates on Latin American countries like Mexico and Venezuela. He has advocated for the Latino community countless times and touches on topics that matter most to his audience, including his stand on immigration. “As an immigrant, I speak for other immigrants who don’t have a voice,” says Ramos. He has undergone similar challenges and understands what it’s like to move to a country where you’re part of a minority. Never one to shy away from voicing his opinions and concerns, he has publicly questioned powerful leaders like Barack Obama and Hugo Chávez. Ramos draws attention regarding the rise and progress of the Hispanic community, emphasizing their impact in the country. “What you’re going to see in the near future is Hispanics with much more authority in almost every single industry: from baseball and soccer, to food and music, to politics and media. We’re seeing incredible growth for the Hispanic community, both in English and in Spanish,” he explains.
Another significant contribution of Ramos is Despierta Leyendo (Wake Up Reading), the book club he started in 2002 to promote literacy among Latinos. Aside from appearing on television, writing weekly newspaper columns, and providing radio commentary, Ramos conveys his message through his bestsellers. His most recent book is titled Take A Stand: Lessons from Rebels, which was published in early 2016. His books raise awareness and tackle the different issues that affect Latinos in the country. He argues and defends on behalf of them and speaks out against injustices that he believes are not given enough attention.
Ramos’ career has enabled him to witness and cover some of the biggest and most relevant stories of his time. He has been to the front lines of civil wars like that in El Salvador and Iraq and has interviewed powerful figures, including George W. Bush, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and even Fidel Castro. Having been called the “Walter Cronkite of Hispanic news,” Ramos has become quite a notable figure in the media. He has come a long way from when he first arrived in Los Angeles with only the hope of making a difference in a country he had yet to call his own. Now, he is doing just that and he shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. “People ask if I am a journalist or an activist,” Ramos reveals. “The truth is that I am just a journalist who asks questions, but one who does in fact take a stand.”