September 4, 1998

Mercedes de Uriarte `Communicator of the Year'

Washington, D.C. — Dr. Mercedes Lynn de Uriarte, journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and long-time crusader for newsroom diversity, has been selected by the Hispanic Link Journalism Foundation as its 1998 recipient of the Communicator of the Year award. The award recognizes communicators of high achievement who through their professional and personal efforts have opened doors for others to gain entrance and success in the communications field.

The award will be presented by Judy Woodruff, Washington Bureau senior correspondent and anchor for Cable News Network (CNN), during a ceremony and reception sponsored by the Hispanic Link Journalism Foundation. The event, leading off Hispanic Heritage month, will be held on Monday, Sept. 14, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

At the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. de Uriarte created the award-winning magazine TEJAS, an initiative that allows scores of students, including many Hispanics and blacks, the opportunity to develop their reporting skills. Two years ago her students, competing against nearly 50 other U.S. colleges and universities, won the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Award for Outstanding Journalism.

Of Mexican heritage, Dr. de Uriarte spent eight years with the Los Angeles Times as a staff writer and assistant editor of the Opinion section. Today, along with her teaching duties, she continues to write an opinion column distributed by Knight-Ridder and the Progressive Media Project. She also writes regularly for professional journals on issues related to diversity in journalism education and in media staffing and coverage.

Dr. de Uriarte has trained a large number of students to write with sensitivity and insight. Former students write:

"The level Dr. de Uriarte demanded prepared me for the quality of work I would need to produce at Berkeley's law school.

Without her training, I know I would have been overwhelmed my first year, and I doubt that I would have been an associate editor for the La Raza Law Journal my third year." — Natasha Mercedes Crawford, Esq.

"As the only Latina journalism professor with a Ph.D. and major mainstream professional journalism experience in the nation, Dr. de Uriarte defines `role model' for me. Because of the scarcity of Latino journalists in major newspapers, Dr. de Uriarte remains my biggest mentor and advocate as I maneuver through my third newspaper job."— Marissa Silvera, sports reporter, San Antonio Express-News.

Previous "Communicator of the Year" winners include Juan González, columnist, New York Daily News (1997); Ambassador (and former White House chief speech writer) Carolyn Curiel (1996); and the late Chicano cultural activist, essayist, muralist and humorist José Antonio Burciaga (1995).

The Hispanic Link Journalism foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization created to provide educational and professional opportunities for Hispanics in the media and to educate the general population on the contributory role of Hispanics in U.S. society. It is based in Washington, D.C.

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