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Above, Karen Canela ’20 presents the first Spanish-language news story last week on Beacon Web News.

Beacon Web News Presents First Spanish-language Report

02/22/17

A conversation with Peter Gentile, manager of MCLA’s television station, and an aspiring broadcast journalist led to an opportunity as that freshman presented the campus’s first-ever news story in Spanish last week, on Beacon Web News (BWN).

Karen Canela ’20 of New York, N.Y., who was born in the Dominican Republic, first delivered the story in English, then immediately followed that report with a version she had translated into her native Spanish.

It was especially fitting that the story – about U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), who will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Commencement ceremony – be shared in Spanish, since one-quarter of MCLA’s students speak the language.

Students and professors alike have expressed their excitement with the story, Canela said. Looking ahead to future stories, “I’m trying to find some that are relevant today, and work for both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking students.”

According to Samantha Kniskern ’18 of Milbury, Mass., who is an anchor, reporter and producer for the show, “Beacon Web News is still young and growing, and we have many ideas on where to take this in the future.”

Canela was brought on board because she did well in a TV Production class, “and we saw that she was interested,” Kniskern said. “While she is new to the program, Karen did a great job, and we would like to have her be a part of the show much more often.”

“Ideally this would start with one video package a week in Spanish,” said Dan Wohler ’17 of Methuen, Mass., BWN anchor and reporter. “We would love to develop this into a separate Spanish language program with multiple Spanish-speaking contributors.”

“The idea behind BWN en Espanol is that it will grow organically like BWN has,” explained English/Communications professor Dr. Shawn McIntosh, “and when there are enough people to do a sustainable show, it will be its own entity in conjunction with the English-language BWN. We feel it will be a great opportunity for our Spanish-speaking community of students to have a media outlet like this.”

According to McIntosh, media and communication are ideal for bringing more Latinos and other diverse voices across the campus and in the community together.

“We are hoping that, with Karen’s example, it will show students that they can get involved and put forth their unique perspectives and voices,” McIntosh said. “Especially in today’s political climate, we are hearing too much about how media adds to divisiveness; but media can also be a powerful tool to bring us together.”

Canela is grateful for the hands-on experience and the preparation it’s providing for her future career: “The one thing I always say that I genuinely love about MCLA is it’s a small school, and you get the attention you will never receive at a larger school.”

BWN is shown for three days on campus television screens, including in the Campus Center. The program also appears online through the Beacon’s YouTube channel, and on the online Beacon itself. To view Canela’s story, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCLEhGX6qCw.