Starting in January, TUTV released a Spanish-language segment to accompany its weekday program, Update Now. The 90-second broadcast, Update Ahora, has been receiving positive reviews and has thrust anchorwoman Janelle Roedán into the spotlight.
“This has always been my passion,” said Roedán, a junior media studies and production major. “I feel like I’m at home in front of the camera.”
Roedán hopes to continue building on the success of Ahora and use the student-run outlet as a launching pad for a future career in broadcast journalism.
THE TEMPLE NEWS: What were the deciding factors that brought you to Temple?
JANELLE ROEDÁN: As I was finishing my last semester at Bucks County Community College, I began to look for schools that had good broadcasting programs and that were close to a city. My first thought was Miami because there are more opportunities there to excel in Spanish broadcasting. I applied to three universities there and I got into all of them but at the last minute I decided to apply to Temple.
I decided that Temple was my best option because it’s closer to my family whom I am very close to and it was more cost effective for me since I am paying for all of my schooling through student loans. I also heard that Temple is a culturally diverse place which I found attractive. Both my mother and father are from the Dominican Republic and my heritage is Dominican and Lebanese.
TTN: How did you get involved with Update Ahora?
JR: One day I was sitting in my media theory class and professor [Murali] Balaji mentioned something about TUTV. Right away I thought about doing a segment in Spanish because our school is so diverse and I thought it would be something that many people would appreciate. I immediately went to the studio and professor Peter Jaroff was very enthusiastic about the idea. After a few months of prep work and training we launched Update Ahora in January. I’m always eager to anchor so I wasn’t apprehensive at all. I hope to graduate from Temple and secure an anchoring job.
TTN: What’s the most challenging part of working with Update Ahora?
JR: My greatest challenge, as with building any new endeavor, has been finding dedicated people who are reliable and comfortable in front of the camera. This does not in any way mean that there is a shortage of talent at Temple. Instead, I attribute it to the youth of the show. As a fellow student, I understand the rigorous demands of a full-time course load, but it is important that we have a passionate team of anchors and production crew who we can depend on. I couldn’t be more pleased with the people we currently have helping with the program. However, we are always looking for more people who are interested in anchoring.
TTN: What improvements would you make to the show, if any?
JR: I absolutely love working with the producers from Update Now. Both Nick Cotruna and Nicole Bernier have been pivotal to our progress thus far. As of now, I’m very happy with how both of the shows are going. With that said, and given the large Spanish audience we have on campus, I would like to see Update Ahora become a 30-minute live show on TUTV.
I will be attempting to drive this agenda forward in the coming months as the reputation and popularity of Update Ahora continues to improve. If we can make this happen, I have a number of great ideas to get even more students involved in the program. I keep getting emails from students interested in being a part of the program, which has been a priority for me. I would love to see more familiar faces in the studio. The goal of the show has always been to give more students the opportunity to get involved in broadcasting.
TTN: How has Update Ahora affected you personally?
JR: I honestly did not think that the school would be so excited about it. I was so ambitious and excited to launch the program that I didn’t initially realize how much positive feedback we were getting. To see people appreciate what we have done makes me extremely happy. My life basically consists of classes and studio time, and I love every second of it. People have come up to me asking, “Are you that girl who anchors the Spanish Update Now?”
My professors have also congratulated me, which is always a great feeling. It is important to note that while this has been a key step in accomplishing my goals, I still have a long road ahead – both personally and with Update Ahora. My family is very proud of my accomplishments. They have always been supportive of my goals.
TTN: In the future, will you pursue bilingual programs or stick to either English or Spanish broadcasts?
JR: I would love to incorporate both in my work. It may turn out that there are opportunities with both languages, but since I grew up speaking both Spanish and English I am open to either. I’m putting all of my time into Update Ahora because it is in its infancy and I’m there Monday through Thursdays – either in front of the camera or assisting with the production and editing. But I am open to other creative ideas that can help us reach the Spanish community not only here at Temple, but in the entire city of Philadelphia. We’ll see what I can come up with next.
Jessica Smith can be reached at email@example.com.