We all know working in TV news can mean very long days.
Jose Díaz-Balart puts in about a 15-hour day, give or take, across two networks. For Telemundo, he’s the main anchor of the evening newscast. For sister network MSNBC, he hosts the 10amET hour. Díaz-Balart, the son of Cuban immigrants, and brother of Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL), anchors both shows from Miami.
“Every second that I have the opportunity to work in this calling is a privilege; there’s no sacrifice there,” Díaz-Balart told us during a lunch at Rock Center Cafe.
Since his debut on MSNBC in June, Díaz-Balart has had a mission to use fewer pundits and analysts and put more real voices on the air. In his inaugural hour, during the height of the illegal immigration crisis at the Texas border, he interviewed an undocumented teenager named Maria who’d entered the U.S. illegally after her brother was murdered in Honduras.
“It’s embarrassing that there aren’t more voices [like Maria’s] on the air,” he says. But because all cable news roads lead back to politics, Díaz-Balart says real stories from people like Maria, play right into MSNBC’s wheelhouse.
“Politics is an important part of the American conversation, and we are always talking about how does politics play in this,” he says.
“José has already made a major impression in the couple of months on our air,” MSNBC President Phil Griffin tells us. “When I say he’s one of the best broadcasters on TV, I mean it. The guy is a natural.”
Diaz Balart hopes to make an impression tonight in New York City: his Telemundo program is nominated for two News and Documentary Emmys.