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Telemundo’s Marenco Touches D.C.'s Community Every Day

New America Media, News Feature, Naomi Briley Posted: Apr 25, 2007

Telemundo's General Manager in Washington, D.C., knew early on in life that she wanted to serve her community by immersing herself in Spanish language media.

julissa marencoEvery day is different for Julissa Marenco, General Manager of Telemundo WZDC/Washington DC. Whether she’s overseeing the stations nightly newscast, meeting with advertising clients or working on community outreach projects, Marenco directs one of the leading Spanish-language television networks in the Washington, D.C.-metropolitan area, serving over 700,000 people.

Julissa was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in northern New Jersey. Since her childhood, Marenco dreamed of working in Spanish-language media. So when she got to college she followed her passion, studying communications with a concentration in Radio Television and Film at Rowen University in Glassboro N.J. “I took my hobby to an extreme,” she said modestly about her career.

As a first generation Hispanic American, Marenco aspired to address the needs of the growing Spanish-speaking community in the United States. From an early age, Marenco saw television as an instrument for empowerment. “T.V. is an educational tool,” she said, and at Telemundo, Marenco has proven this to be true.

Telemundo’s current series “La Buena Vida” promotes health and wellness, financial stability and educational wealth. La Buena Vida is supplemented with community-outreach programs which show the community how to live “the good life.” In the station’s last event, Telemundo offered health screenings and information on diabetes and obesity.

In addition to local programming, Telemundo WZDC regularly airs programs filmed throughout Latin America. Telemundo provides a certain kind of media that is not available from mainstream stations; diverse programming from a variety of ethnic communities otherwise isolated from major television networks.

Marenco has made an effort to serve the specific needs of Washington, D.C.’s Hispanic community. “We have a very vocal audience,” she said “Our viewers let us know what they want from the station.” "[In the future] I hope that the medium grows so we can invest profits back into the community." said Marenco.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, one in five children in the United States is now Hispanic. According to Nielson Media Research, Hispanic households watch much more television than U.S. households in general and Hispanics also rely most heavily on ethnic television. Around 78% watch Spanish language TV primarily or secondarily.

The Spanish language media market may be more successful than other ethnic media outlets because of its wide-reaching scope. Spanish speakers come from a variety of different countries, so one program can reach Californians from Mexico, New Yorkers from Puerto Rico, or people in Florida from Cuba, all at the same time. Telemundo is already addressing its rapidly growing audience by strengthening relationships with sister stations and working on processing a second edition of news at 11:00 p.m. in addtion to its 6:00 p.m. broadcast.

In the future, Marenco hopes to see Spanish language television reach a wider audience, including non-Spanish speaking Americans, “Some of our viewers watch just to learn the language” she said. As Marenco continues to produce new programming and advertising projects, she is constantly working to deliver media that feeds beneficial information to viewers, honoring cultural traditions while also embracing life in the United States.

In addition to Telemundo, Marenco serves her community through various other projects. She sits on the Board of Directors of the D.C. Advertising Club and the George Mason University Diversity Board. Marenco is an annual faculty member of Howard University's Media Sales Institute. She is also on the Board of Governors for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences-National Capital/Chesapeake Bay Chapter and a graduate of Leadership Washington.

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