Danger has always been part of Maria Elena Salinas’ job description.
The broadcast journalist, news anchor, and author has been the coanchor of Noticiero Univision, the flagship evening news broadcast on Univision, since 1987.
She’s been embedded with the U.S. military in Iraq and covered armed conflicts in Central America. Now the Emmy- , Peabody- , and Edward R. Murrow award–winning journalist, who has interviewed world leaders and covered some of the top news, social issues, and human stories of the past four decades, will be hosting her own show on Investigation Discovery.
Salinas told CrimeFeed that her new show, The Real Story with María Elena Salinas, will focus on the longform stories that she has always been hugely passionate about telling. “After working in news for news magazines and doing documentaries, I just felt that the best thing that you can do to give justice to a story is to spend a whole hour telling the story,” Salinas said. “Whether it’s murders, injustice, or false incarcerations, many of the cases are very different from each other, but the one common denominator they have is injustice.”
For her new show, Salinas will dive deep into true-crime cases from the recent past, and use archival footage and re-creations along with one-on-one interviews. She said that she wants to “tell the story of the victims and give them a face” rather than just telling the story of the crime and the perpetrators.
Salinas shared that there was one case in particular that impacted her hugely: the story of a TV executive in Orlando. “Right after I did the interviews that were related to that story, I went into my house, into my daughter’s bedroom, and then into my other daughter’s bedroom. I checked everything,” she said.
“Her aunt had been stabbed, and her uncle was hanging in the garage,” Salinas said. “It’s a gruesome case, but when you hear the backstory, you say, ‘How could this happen?’ There are so many instances when someone could have spoken out, and they didn’t.”
True crime is not too much of a stretch for Salinas, who says that her work as a journalist in Iraq has exposed her to dangerous situations. She does acknowledge, however, that, “As a journalist, at the time you don’t realize the danger because the adrenaline is pumping.”
When she’s not chasing stories, Salinas channels her energy into philanthropic projects. For almost 20 years, Salinas has worked as a volunteer with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), which helps encourage immigrants to vote and participate in the political process.
She is also one of the founders of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and was inducted into the association’s Hall of Fame in 2006.
Salinas also sponsors the Maria Elena Salinas Scholarship for college students interested in Spanish news broadcasting, and sits on the boards of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the International Women’s Media Foundation.
Main photo: via Investigation Discovery