5 Questions With… José Díaz-Balart

By Brian Flood 

coverJose Diaz-BalartCuban-American journalist José Díaz-Balartis among the very rarest of TV news anchors. He hosts shows on two networks, in two languages: in the mornings on MSNBC and in the evenings on Telemundo. Today’s announcement that the U.S. was beginning a process to normalize diplomatic ties to Cuba hits especially close to home for Díaz-Balart. He is the son of a former Cuban politician and has a brother in the U.S. Congress.

We caught up with Díaz-Balart before this morning’s news to discuss his recent interview with the president, his proudest achievements and the best Cuban sandwich available in the United States.

TVNewser: You were very busy last week. Bigger accomplishment: Interviewing President Obama or being congratulated on the House floor?

Díaz-Balart: I so appreciate both: I was surprised at the congresswoman’s recognition of my 30 years in the business. And interviewing the President, my tenth I believe, is always important. Both were extremely rewarding. Plus, I got a chance to catch my eldest daughter singing in her school choir… three great events.

TVNewser: What’s the proudest moment of your career, overall?

Díaz-Balart: Being named anchor of Noticiero Telemundo on December 15, 2009 (this week is my 5th anniversary), and most recently the host of “The Rundown with José Díaz-Balart” on MSNBC. Being able to reach audiences in two languages a day is truly a privilege.

TVNewser: You host shows on Telemundo and MSNBC. Seriously, when do you sleep?

Díaz-Balart: Sleep? I remember that!  Even though my work day is admittedly long (6am-10pm) I can honestly tell you that I love it so much I only wish there were more hours in the day so I could do more!

TVNewser: Best place to get a Cuban sandwich in America? Díaz-Balart: No question about it: best Cuban sandwich in the world is in Miami… but it’s not just Cuban sandwich. Miami is home to the best Elena Ruth Sandwich, Vaca Frita, Congri, y platanos maduros fritos. Come on down!

TVNewser: What do you have planned for the holidays with your family? More importantly, what do you plan to get your two young daughters?

Díaz-Balart: My eldest daughter (10) asked us to forgo presents for her and instead give them to her little sister (7). My youngest daughter said “surprise me,” so we got them each a small camera to help them develop their creative side.