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The Spanish Scoop

Alumna Leads Major Miami Newspaper

By Karen Shih ’09

Myriam Marquez

Myriam Marquez ’83 might run a major U.S. newspaper, but her readership spans the globe.

She’s the editor of el Nuevo Herald, the largest Spanish-language daily newspaper in the country, based in Miami. The veteran Florida journalist and columnist last October became the first woman to be named its executive editor. Now she oversees a publication that reaches more than 1.7 million readers online monthly and nearly 64,000 in print each Sunday.

“It’s really dynamic and so different from English-language newspapers,” says Marquez. “In a community like ours, many people go back and forth because they have a lot of money in business, global trade. That brings a whole different audience.”

Nearly half of her readers come from Europe and South America, and the paper’s coverage reflects that global perspective: Reporters cover Spain, Cuba, Venezuela and more, even bringing in Venezuelan opposition leaders to Miami in July for a forum on the country’s political future. At the same time, she’s careful to strike a balance to engage a large local population of blue-collar workers—an audience she knows well.Spanish Scoop

Born in Cuba to a taxi driver and a schoolteacher just before the revolution, Marquez and her family fled when she was 4 years old, settling in Miami.

“It’s a city of people remaking their lives after oftentimes great tragedy,” she says. “It’s a second Ellis Island… a community of exiles that feels passionately about their rights and human rights.”

It was that atmosphere, amid the Cold War and the Watergate scandal, which sparked her interest in journalism. She came to UMD for its location and program, and as a student, met her future husband, Tony Pipitone ’83, now an investigative reporter for Miami’s NBC 6. She worked for several years in the area—one of her earliest jobs was as a clerk for United Press International, running things over daily to famed White House reporter Helen Thomas—before moving back to Florida to work at the Orlando Sentinel.

There, Marquez became a columnist (“I’m Cuban—we’re very opinionated.”). Though she covered major political and business developments, including the governor’s office, it’s the human stories that have stayed with her. After she wrote about two little kids from Puerto Rico whose mother was dying of AIDS, the community rallied to get them free plane tickets so the family could reunite a final time.

“It didn’t bring down a presidency, but it brought for two children a very important moment in their life,” she says.

Marquez, who’s always been bilingual, started dipping her toes into journalism in Spanish while in Orlando, doing a weekly two-minute segment on Telemundo. In 2005, when she returned to her hometown to work for the Miami Herald, her columns were translated and run in el Nuevo Herald, the Miami Herald’s sister paper.

It was “serendipity” that led her to the editor position at el Nuevo Herald, she says. She ended up following the path of the man who recruited her to the Miami Herald, Manny Garcia, after he left to head the Naples Daily News. Though it wasn’t her plan to go into Spanish-language media full-time, the passionate and engaged readership drives her—the paper has more followers and likes on Twitter and Facebook than any other media organization in its market, including the Miami Herald.

“The power of English is never going to be gone,” she says, “but there is a future in Spanish. We have to embrace, as the Europeans do, different cultures and languages.”

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.