February 2014, Volume 18, Number 1

Making Their Mark

Making Headlines of Their Own

MDC alumni consistently rise to the top of their industries in all fields, including the fast-paced world of journalism. Here are just a few examples of outstanding graduates dominating the print and broadcast businesses. 

Encouraged to Spread Her Wings

Miami Dade College alumna Myriam Márquez was recently named executive editor of El Nuevo Herald, which boasts the nation’s largest daily circulation for a Spanish-language newspaper.

Márquez said MDC is a big part of her success, especially since it was one of the College’s professors who pointed her toward attending the University of Maryland after MDC.

“He saw that I loved politics and thought I would enjoy being in that environment” in the Washington, D.C.-area, Márquez said. “It was a great idea.”

After completing her degree there, she got a job working for UPI in the Washington bureau, where at first she served as a copy clerk for famed White House reporter Helen Thomas. A month later, Márquez was promoted to general assignment reporter, covering – among other things – Jesse Jackson’s first presidential campaign.

She ultimately returned to Florida, first working at The Orlando Sentinel, where she remained for 18 years in various capacities, including on the editorial board, and then at the Miami Herald.

No matter what she accomplishes, however, she is still grateful to the College.

“Miami Dade gave me an opportunity,” she said. “For the daughter of Cuban exiles, it was an affordable and quality education that set me up for success.”

MDC’s Warm Embrace

Peter Webley, the publisher of Caribbean Today, is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his news magazine – and it may never have happened without MDC.

Webley, who was born and raised in Jamaica, came directly to MDC as a 17-year-old.

“Because of political turmoil, my parents moved the family to America,” he said. “For me, Kendall Campus was the perfect place to transition from another country to the U.S. It was the smartest move my parents ever made.”
Focusing his studies on business, Webley graduated from MDC with an associate degree and made the dean’s list several times. Just as important, he left MDC with many lasting friendships. When he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree, he said he missed the “flavor” of MDC, where he experienced Miami’s magical melting pot.

“At that time, Miami schools had only been desegregated for seven years,” Webley said. “At MDC, we had black Americans, Hispanics who were first-generation in this country and Jamaicans – all trying to find their way in this new culture, this new reality.”

A quarter-century later, Webley’s monthly magazine, which focuses on Caribbean news and entertainment, is going strong, and Webley credits MDC for encouraging him to take chances and seize every opportunity: “The professors there were warm, nurturing and inclusive. They helped create this wonderful future.”

Making a Difference in Her Hometown

A perfect example of how Miami Dade College can help a student find a fulfilling career is as close as your television, iPad, cellphone or anywhere else you watch your local news.

Belkys Nerey, a graduate of MDC’s North Campus, is the main anchor of WSVN-TV 7 and a huge advocate of the College.

“I knew I was interested in journalism, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to focus on newspapers, radio or TV,” Nerey said. “MDC helped me fine-tune what I wanted to do, which was to become a broadcast journalist.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in communications, Nerey soon landed a job at Dynamic Cablevision, where she did everything from shooting video to writing, editing and producing her own stories – in English and Spanish.
Nerey briefly left Miami to work for the ABC affiliate in Connecticut for two years. She returned to Miami in 1994, when she was hired by Channel 7 as a general assignment reporter before becoming the main news anchor in 2003.

“There’s nothing better than doing what I do in my hometown, and Miami Dade College is a big part of helping me make that happen,” Nerey said. “MDC is a great place in our community, helping so many people who need guidance or come from a different country dreaming of a better life. The College gives people that chance.”

On Top of the News

MDC has instilled a passion for the news business in many outstanding journalists, including:

Michael Bulnes, President, Selecta Magazine
Ilia Calderón, National News Anchor, Univision
Johnny Díaz, Media Writer, Sun Sentinel
Jay Ducassi, Metro Editor, Miami Herald
Antonio Fins, Editorial Page Editor, Sun Sentinel
Lisette García, Founder, FOIA Resource Center; Former Editor/Reporter, Miami Herald and Kansas City Star
Manny García, Executive Editor, Naples Daily News
Rick Jervis, Gulf Coast Correspondent, USA Today
Lisett Mari, Anchor and Reporter, Telemundo 51
Mirta Ojito, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist formerly with The New York Times
Gloria Ordaz, Weekend News Anchor, Univision 23
Sandra Peebles, News Anchor/Reporter, Univision 23
Steve Rothaus, Columnist, Miami Herald
Eliott Rodríguez, News Anchor, CBS4
Marybel Rodríguez, News Reporter and Anchor, CBS4
Teresa Rodríguez, Anchor and Correspondent, Aquí y ahora, Univision
Javier Romero, Host, Univision Radio
María Elvira Salazar, Maria Elvira show, CNN Latino
Tony Segreto, Anchor (Retired), WTVJ-NBC 6
Helga Silva, Vice President of News and Content, Telemundo 51
Ana Veciana-Suárez, Columnist, Miami Herald
Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Miami Herald

— WV

More Making Their Mark Articles

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