Vanessa Ruiz recently joined the crew at 12 News in Arizona, and is already facing backlash from her viewers for pronouncing some of her words in ways they may not be used to.
As a bilingual Latina and a woman with the opportunities to travel the world during her journalism studies, Ruiz often pronounces Spanish words the way they were intended to be. For example, she pronounces the city Mesa like “Mess-suh,” while locals say “May-suh” as the station’s director Sandra Kotzambasis reported. Viewers have also questioned why Ruiz rolls her r’s on certain words, filing complaints to 12 News for the inflection.
Ruiz has since then responded to the criticism and in fact has welcomed it, addressing her unhappy viewers with a perfect response, devoid of any pronunciations they so disapprove of. She wouldn’t want to offend anyone with a little R rolling, now would she?
In the video below, you can see Ruiz eloquently defend her on-air decisions, saying “Some of you have noticed that I pronounce a couple of things maybe a little bit differently than what you’re used to… Just so you know, I was lucky enough to grow up speaking two different languages and I have lived in other cities in the U.S., South America, and Europe. So, yes, I do like to pronounce things the way they are meant to be pronounced and I know that change can be difficult, but it’s normal. And I know that, over time, everything falls into place.”
Ruiz also released an opinion piece on the matter writing that she did not intend to come to Phoenix just to do things her way, “however my goal is to stay authentic to who I am while, hopefully, making our newscasts more open and inclusive to everyone, no matter where they come from.”
The out pour of support she has received in the last 24 hours is astounding and uplifting considering the absurdity of the criticisms. As a Latina journalist myself, it is disheartening that an obviously well-educated, beautifully spoken and cultured woman such as Ruiz can be criticized so heavily for pronouncing things properly. Though the accent may come as a surprise to viewers, journalists and news anchors alike are not robots simply reporting the news. They are individuals and if one has a bit a flavor, it shouldn’t be hailed as something she is doing wrong. Her authenticity and professionalism in defending it is inspirational and hopefully she has reached other Hispanics with her message in the process.