Natalie Zarowny ’12 is the new host of Hola America, a weekly English-language news and lifestyle broadcast tailored to the Hispanic community in the Quad Cities area of Illinois and Iowa on WQPT-TV, a PBS affiliate.
“A few months ago, I was approached by this guy who runs a bilingual newspaper in town,” Zarowny said. “He knows I’m Cuban, and he knew I’m one of the only people in the media here who is Hispanic. He told me that he was working on this new show…and it was going to be on the local PBS affiliate (WQPT).”
That show, Hola America, has been broadcast in Spanish on KGCW-TV for the last four and a half years. Now, Zarowny hosts the first English-language version of the program on WQPT. The first episode premiered September 20. She continues to report for WHBF.
“[It is] a Hispanic Midwest living show,” Zarowny said. “It’s what’s going on in the area, in the community.”
Now in its fourth week, the show has already garnered a positive response. “I think people are really excited about it because it’s giving voice to a population that’s here,” Zarowny said. “There’s a significant number of people in the Hispanic community here, but they haven’t really had a voice in the mainstream media.”
Zarowny describes a well-rounded Emerson experience in the years before her career began, referencing favorite professors Marsha Della-Giustina, associate professor in the Department of Journalism, and Murray Schwartz, professor in the Department of Writing, Literature, and Publishing.
“My advice for Emerson students is to kind of take your own path, because that’s what I did,” said Zarowny, recalling varied experiences from an internship at the Smithsonian to time spent working on air for Emerson’s WERS-FM.
In 2010, Zarowny won an Associated Press New England Regional Conference Award for her radio coverage of the Massachusetts governor’s race.
“I think it’s more important to be well rounded and do what you’re passionate about than to necessarily follow a certain path,” she said. “Go with what feels right in your gut.”