Live from Miami, veteran television journalist José Díaz-Balart will begin hosting an hour-long national morning news show on MSNBC on Monday.
“José Díaz-Balart” will air at 10 a.m. weekdays from a downtown Miami studio. The program will feature interviews with world newsmakers, political commentary and daily coverage on an array of U.S. issues as well as bring home the impact of international news from Latin America to the Middle East.
But expect plenty of Miami flavor from this homegrown journalist who looks forward to speaking to two audiences. Díaz-Balart will continue to anchor for Spanish-language network Telemundo, which like MSNBC is owned by NBCUniversal.
“What I very much want to do is continue opening up the voices that are heard on network news, and MSNBC is a leader in this,” said Díaz-Balart, who has guest hosted or appeared on MSNBC regularly over the years. “It’s about adding to what is being discussed and hopefully being able to make a difference in the national discourse.”
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Phil Griffin, MSNBC president, said he’s known and respected Díaz-Balart for 25 years and they’ve talked on and off about doing something like this. But he had to find the right time slot because Díaz-Balart anchors the 6:30 p.m. newscast, “Noticiero Telemundo,” each weekday, and also hosts “Enfoque con José Díaz-Balart” at noon on Sundays. “We want to reflect the nation in the 21st century... We believe José will bring on different faces, some from the Miami area,” said Griffin. “José is a great addition to the team we have built.”
Among the hot-button topics discussed will be immigration, education, voting rights and unemployment. “Those are the issues that fire me up,” Díaz-Balart said. “We can bring to English issues that go beyond what is often discussed on a national level.” For instance, he said, “when we are talking about immigration, let’s talk about Haitian-Americans. ... When we are talking about unemployment numbers, let’s talk about the African-American unemployment, let’s talk about the Latino unemployment numbers that haven’t changed.”
Díaz-Balart, 53, began his career in 1984, reporting for Spanish International Network, now Univision, while based in El Salvador. Since then he has reported on historic events around the world for NBC News and Telemundo, as well as CBS News and WTVJ. He has received numerous awards, including Emmys, the George Foster Peabody Award and more recently, the 2014 Life Achievement Award by the Hispanic Federation. Díaz-Balart is the brother of U.S. Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart and former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart, both Republicans.
The show’s producers are mum about what to expect on Monday, but Miami will play a role. “How do you explain the ... colors, the sounds, the heat, fun, intensity, concern and care and the brotherhood? Being from here and loving it — warts and all — how can I not help but be influenced and affected by South Florida?,” said Díaz-Balart. “And what a great privilege it is to anchor a national news program from here.”