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María Celeste Arrarás: 1960—: Journalist Biography

Found Career In Television Journalism, Left Univision For Telemundo And Nbc, News Star For Twenty-first Century

The defection of María Celeste Arrarás from Univision, North America's largest Spanish-language network, to the rival Telemundo broadcasting group in 2002 roused industry attention and was heralded as the start of a new era for Hispanic media. Arrarás was given a plum spot at Telemundo, and her arrival coincided with news that the National Broadcasting Company (NBC)'s $2.7 billion acquisition of the Spanish-language news and entertainment provider had just won U.S. government approval. Arrarás, an attractive and admired media celebrity in the Latino world, was to host her own Telemundo show, but would also file English-language reports for Dateline, NBC's top-rated prime-time newsmagazine. Arrarás's hire—and the Telemundo/NBC venture—was seen as a sign of an increased Hispanic presence in mainstream media news organizations, and New York Times journalist Mirta Ojito called the new, lucrative contract for this popular journalist "NBC's first coup in the Latino media."

Arrarás was born in 1960 in the city of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, but spent most of her youth in the country's capital, San Juan. Her father was a university chancellor who became a politician, serving as Puerto Rico's housing secretary and minority leader in the House of Representatives. Arrarás recalled in an interview with Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service reporter Judy Hevrdejs that she and her family were well-known in Puerto Rico because of her father's career. "I hated it. … whatever we would do, we would get interruptions constantly." She told Hevrdejs that as a child she vowed to lead a quieter life, one out of the public eye.

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