12 News anchor Vanessa Ruiz joins Cronkite faculty at ASU

The bilingual journalist will begin her new rank as professor of practice in the fall

During her early years as a teenager, Vanessa Ruiz’s father helped her come to the realization for her love of journalism when he noticed her early fascination for reading and watching the news.

Ever since then Ruiz never thought twice about pursuing a career in anything besides journalism.

Now, after a 17-year career as a successful bilingual anchor and correspondent in the English and Spanish languages, Ruiz will join the faculty at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in the fall.

“I have been thinking for a few years now that I want to do something different with my life,” Ruiz said. “I can say that my priorities started to change towards wanting to help others, specifically working with young people to hopefully mentor and guide them.”

Ruiz landed her first television news job at 20 years old with the Telemundo Network as an associate producer where she eventually worked her way up to being one of the network’s youngest news anchors.

According to Ruiz, the positive influence that her own mentors had on her at the beginning of her career has inspired her to work with young aspiring journalists.

“To see that someone believed in me and saw something in me when I didn’t think I had it made me feel stronger and made me feel like I could make it,” Ruiz said. “I just hope I can try to convey that to my students at Cronkite, especially now when our business has changed so much.”

Throughout her career, Ruiz has gained experience both nationally and globally as a bilingual journalist, receiving recognition and awards for her work and influence in the journalism industry.

Here's to new beginnings! #Cronkite #ASU #ForksUp

A post shared by Vanessa Ruiz (@vanessaruiz12news) on

Mark Lodato, associate dean of Cronkite, accompanied the Cronkite News team at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro where he first met Ruiz, who was actively reporting for 12 News.

“She was able to work with our students a few different times in Rio,” Lodato said. “It was clear early on that she had an interest in the school and the mission that we have here. I’m excited that it has evolved to the point where she will be joining us.”

Ruiz will lead the Spanish-language newscast, Cronkite Noticias, as well as the Cronkite News borderlands coverage team.

“I think one of our goals, whether we have an open position or not, is to always be on the lookout for top talent that we can bring to the university,” Lodato said. “In Vanessa’s case, her significant experience in both English-language news and Spanish-language news is very unique; that’s a tough skill set to find and to find someone of her caliber to bring into our own newsroom is a tremendous benefit for us.”

According to Kristin Gilger, senior associate dean of Cronkite, Spanish-language media is the fastest-growing media in the United States. As the demand grows, so does the course list for Spanish-language programs offered at Cronkite.

“Vanessa is a great choice for the Cronkite News position for several reasons,” Gilger said. “I just think she’s going to be a really great role model.”

Ruiz has expressed excitement to begin her new position as a professor of practice at Cronkite beginning in August.

“This is not an easy business,” Ruiz said. “It takes a lot of hard work and passion and dedication and we need good journalism now more than ever, and I hope I can be a part of that.”


Reach the reporter at bnwill15@asu.edu or follow @BreeWilliams2 on Twitter.

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