Juan Manuel Benítez, CJS Professor of Local Journalism, honored for Excellence in Television

October 24, 2023

On Monday, October 16, the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA)  awarded Columbia Journalism Professor Juan Manuel Benítez its HOLA Excellence in Television Award

He was honored at the 2023 HOLA Awards Gala Benefit, an event that celebrates top Latin and Hispanic talents who have shown excellence and prestige in their field.

"After two decades dedicated to television news, I am deeply honored to receive this award from such a renowned organization focused on highlighting the work of HIspanics in media and entertainment,” said Benítez.

Now the Philip S. Balboni Professor of Professional Practice of Local Journalism, Benítez has worked as a New York City-based bilingual journalist for more than two decades, covering politics, climate change, and the Latino community.

His career was primarily spent at NY1 News, where he launched its Spanish-language sister station, NY1 Noticias. Benítez also hosted a current affairs show, Pura Política, and the weekly podcast Off Topic/On Politics. Both stations are now part of Spectrum News, a network of more than 30 local news and regional sports channels.

Benítez’s local work led him to cover the administrations of New York mayors Michael Bloomberg, Bill de Blasio, and Eric Adams. He also followed countless political campaigns, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s 2008 primary for the Democratic presidential nomination. He has served as a moderator and panelist in many electoral debates. 

Benítez joined the faculty of Columbia Journalism School in 2023, where he teaches graduate students the invaluable nature and necessity of solid local journalism. 

HOLA was founded in 1975 by a group of New York- based Hispanic actors. They aimed to address the inequities created by the casting system that underemployed Hispanic actors and relegated Latino characters to negative stereotypes. 

Today, HOLA is dedicated to expanding the presence of Latin/Hispanic artists in entertainment and media through their development, cultivation, education, empowerment, and recognition.