American journalism has lost a pioneer and a champion of diversity in newsrooms with the death of Cecilia Alvear. The former NBC News correspondent, founding member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and member of the NAHJ Hall of Fame also served many years as an ex-officio member of the RTDNA board of directors. She was 77 years old.
"Cecilia was a real woman warrior," said Radio Television Digital News Foundation Trustee Janice Gin. "She was a woman of courage. She was an experienced, award-winning journalist, working tirelessly to bring good meaningful stories to a national audience. As an ex-officio member of the RTDNA Board of Directors, Cecilia provided and important voice to our discussions about diversity and was instrumental in the creation of the UNITY Award, now renamed the Kaleidoscope Awards. Cecilia understood the value of celebrating and honoring journalists who illuminated the importance of cultural and ethnic diversity."
"There aren’t enough words to express how fortunate I was to know Cecilia," past NAHJ president and former RTDNA ex-officio board member Veronica Villafane wrote on her website. "Throughout the almost 20 years of friendship, I've witnessed her kindness, generosity, help and support - not just to me, but to many others."
"Cecilia set the pace for all organizations advancing newsroom diversity, working collaboratively with allies and engaging in dialogue with those who were slow to recognize the need for more journalists of color at all levels of news gathering and management," added David Louie, RTDNA Diversity Committee Chair. "Her imprint on our industry is a legacy reflected in newsrooms across America today and for years ahead."
Alvear worked in newsrooms in the Los Angeles area in the 1970s and early 80s. In 1982, she joined NBC as its Mexico City bureau chief, and stayed with the network until her retirement in 2007.