7 NEWS, WHDH-TV
By: Frank Morris Lopez
You can catch her covering breaking news every weekday morning from 4:30 to 10 a.m. She’s Mari Salazar, and she’s a TV news reporter for 7 News Today in New England. Salazar started at the station last year, after launching her TV news career in Texas five years ago.
“I love seeing the passion people have here. It’s a very smart city and it’s alive. People here love it here. They really love their sports, they love their communities, and if something goes awry, they’re vocal about it,” she said.
Salazar is originally from Miami; her parents were born in Nicaragua. “Where my parents are from, freedom of speech isn’t something that exists. People don’t have a voice there,” she said. “To live in a country where you have people who want to fight for the truth for you is a privilege.”
And that’s something Salazar takes seriously. When it comes to the spread of disinformation, “I think if people expanded their news diet, they would find that people like us who are working closely with local leaders, we are your neighbors, we are your friends,” she said. “We want to hear from you. We want to hear what you want to know.”
Being bilingual helps. While many Spanish-speaking reporters find themselves working for the Spanish-language news outlets, Salazar is a rarity in the TV news business. While she reports in English, she’s able to interview members of the Spanish-speaking community throughout Boston, allowing their voices to be heard and shared with English-speaking audiences.
But her Latina identity wasn’t always something she embraced on air, Salazar said. “I think that for a long time, I really tried to repress who I was. I was really embarrassed by my accent. I was embarrassed to correct people when they said my name incorrectly. I didn’t realize how important it was to be bilingual. I felt like I was so afraid to be myself.”
As a first-generation American, Salazar was also a little self conscious of her own Spanish-speaking abilities. “There are some things I say wrong because that’s just the way I grew up … but maybe that’s something I should not have been embarrassed by.”
Salazar said she hopes she can serve as a role model for other young Latinas who are working their way through the TV news business.
“Being yourself means being a Latina and being able to fight,” she said. “We’re firecrackers; we don’t slack in TV work. It’s hard work. And even if you can’t speak Spanish, practice. That’s the only way to get perfect.”