In the middle of the 1970s, there were notable changes in the production of television news shows in Puerto Rico. The local daily news shows, like those in much of the rest of the world, were influenced by the production styles United States. Television news production in the United States had begun to become more sophisticated. The format was based on images with impact, dynamic editing and general interest stories. On the island, Channel 11 (WKBM), created in 1960, promoted this new type of television journalism by creating, in 1975, the program El once en las noticias. This daily news show, directed by Nephtalí Rodríguez, created a panel of news presenters, incorporated reporters and integrated the use of visuals to alternate with shots of the anchors in the studio.
This news show began with Carmen Jovet as anchor and Ernesto Díaz González as sports anchor. They were later joined by Luis Francisco Ojeda, Hiram Collazo, Ramón Enrique Torres and Sylvia Gómez, who replaced Jovet in 1978. That year, Pedro Zervigón assumed direction of the news show and integrated more reports and interviews into the production of the program. He also encouraged each reporter to project his or her personality on camera.
During the two years following the creation of El once en las noticias, Channel 2 and Channel 4 made similar changes. In 1977, Channel 2 changed its format from a male anchor and created Telenoticias en acción, directed by José Manuel álvarez. Aníbal González Irizarry was joined by Bruni Vélez, Ramón Enrique Torres, Jorge Rivera Nieves, Raúl Quiñones and Junior Abrahams on sports.
A year later, in 1978, Channel 4, under the direction of William J. "Bill" Pérez, emulated its competitors. It used a panel format consisting of Enrique Cruz and Guillermo José Torres as anchors. Pérez, who was a reporter for the United States network NBC, brought a more dynamic and "American" style to the news show: more people on camera, more commentaries, more reports. Under his direction, Luz Nereida Vélez and ángel Oliveras joined the broadcast team.
As shown by the facts above, it was the middle of the 1970s when women were included as anchors and reporters, posts that had previously been held exclusively by men. Thanks to the feminist movement, in 1969 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) declared labor discrimination against women illegal and from 1971 on, the telecommunications businesses had to report annually on the number of women employed and the roles they performed.
Another innovation, this one technological, contributed to the implementation of the new format for news shows. In Puerto Rico, at the end of the 1970s, film was replaced by three-quarters inch video tape, called ENG (Electronic News Gathering). From that time on, it was no longer necessary to take so much time to develop footage. Video brought immediacy, speed and agility, giving the news shows more flexibility and time. The equipment made possible certain other structural changes, including program interruptions, schedule changes and live transmissions.
Autor: Lourdes Lugo Ortiz
Published: August 31, 2010.