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12 News Anchor Vanessa Ruiz Gets Attention, Backlash For Pronunciation

Published: Tuesday, September 8, 2015 - 7:32pm
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(Photo courtesy of KPNX, 12 News)
Vanessa Ruiz got attention after she told Channel 12 viewers last week she wanted to pronounce Spanish words in Spanish.

A misunderstanding over pronunciations has one Phoenix television news anchor not only reporting news, but also making it.

Vanessa Ruiz admitted she was floored by the attention her story got since she told Channel 12 viewers last week she wanted to pronounce Spanish words in Spanish. 

“I do like to pronounce certain words the way they are meant to be pronounced, and I know that change can be difficult,” she told her audience on a live broadcast.

In the aftermath of her on-air proclamation over pronunciation style, she said she hopes her bilingual message has gotten across to Arizona viewers.

“I am a proud American; I grew up in the country. I grew up watching MTV and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. But at the same time, I love my salsa, and I love speaking Spanish, and I’m very proud of my Latin roots,” Ruiz said.

“Certainly, I would hope that anybody out there that is bilingual, or multicultural, no matter where they’re from, would feel that same way.”

Ruiz, 35, was born in Miami and grew up in Colombia. She said she was surprised by the reaction of some viewers who had complained about how she rolled her Rs and pronounced other Spanish words.

“It’s never been an issue. I’ve been a journalist working in both English and Spanish for 15 years. Yes, in Miami and Los Angeles, not Arizona. But it’s never been a problem before.”

Ruiz, who is bilingual, said the immigration debate and controversial comments made by GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump may have contributed to the fervor.

“Hispanics in this country are feeling a little bit attacked, perhaps a little bit antagonized,” she said. “I feel lucky and fortunate to have lived in places where something like this is just simply not an issue.”

Ruiz, who arrived in Phoenix in July to co-anchor weeknight newscasts, said her television station, KPNX, has been very supportive of her choice of pronunciations.

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