In an industry that favors youth over experience – at least for women – one longtime reporter and anchor has managed to beat the odds in Spanish-language television.
Mónica Navarro is celebrating 37 years at Univision San Antonio.
She arrived at the Texas station, then SIN (Spanish International Network), in July 1983 and is still going strong, having successfully navigated company ownership and management changes throughout the decades.
“Can you imagine how many experiences I’ve had through all these years? Good ones and bad ones. Ten different General Managers, 7 News Directors, each of them with different mentalities new plans etc, and I survived,” she tells Media Moves. “I successfully filled almost 30 years in the same title position by reporting every day from the field and also being a news anchor. Between the different hairdos, being pregnant and coming back, several decades worth of fashion changes, sometimes with some extra pounds, I can say this has been quite an experience.”
Navarro shares she worked hard and remained focused, despite hardships along the way.
“Sometimes it was very tough, because for many years, I was also a full-time single mother and caretaker for my own mother, who was ill. After every low point in my life, I was able to pick myself back up and remind myself of the resilience and passion I had for my career… with consistency, confidence and effort, I reinvented myself.”
She adjusted to changes in the business, and after leaving the anchor desk, went back out on the field, becoming an investigative and medical reporter and producer at the station, most recently hosting a weekly show called “Healthy Texas.”
“The Industry is in constant change. I decided to become a video photographer and editor of my own stories. Can you imagine a 60+ year-old reporter learning all that technology? It was a big challenge,” she says. “And then, with things like social media, where the amount of followers you have may be are more important than the content you put out there….It is a new era…. It’s been challenging, but also very fun to learn things like finding the right background, hash-tagging, carrying around selfie sticks wherever I go…even doing live shots with the cell phone. Learning to be a “one-man band” has been useful, especially now, with the current pandemic and not being able to go to the news station, and working from home.”
Prior to her move to San Antonio, Navarro was already a broadcast pioneer. She was the first female national sportscaster in Mexico. She spent 9 years at Televisa, where she worked as a sports reporter.
“I feel very satisfied that looking back at my career path, I opened the doors for women in this field in Mexico.”
The multi-Emmy award-winning journalist, who was inducted to the NATAS Lone Star Chapter Silver Circle in 2015, is aware that not many women are allowed to “age” their way to retirement in a newsroom, but keeps a positive outlook.
“Getting older is inevitable, but it is possible to age with grace, dignity, a good attitude and thinking that age is just a number,” she emphasizes. “When faced with obstacles in your professional and personal life, it’s imperative to remain full of faith, resilience, consistency and passion….I’m grateful that Univision 41 has allowed me to continue my career as a journalist in all these different stages of my life for 37 years, and I hope to continue to do it for many more years.”