Latino Journalists Caught in Israel Crisis

Media people on a press trip unexpectedly experienced the violent conflict firsthand.

Israeli soldiers (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Israeli soldiers (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Fear, Terror, Helplessness” on Journalists’ Visit

Hispanic journalists visiting Israel at the invitation of a group that offers media figures all-expenses-paid trips found themselves in Jerusalem this week while Israel and Hamas were exchanging missiles and bombs.

Fear, terror and helplessness washed over the group,” Israel Hayom, an Israeli-based online newsletter, reported on Friday. “But some good came of the incident, at least from the Israeli perspective. The foreign journalists got a taste of the war situation in Israel and felt the rocket threat firsthand. Back at the hotel that evening, they translated their experience into articles, radio broadcasts and blog posts that were seen and heard all over the world.”

The story identified only two of the Hispanic journalists, but the host group’s Facebook page identified others. Among those on the Facebook page are Manuel Abud, president of the NBC-owned Telemundo Station Group, Katherine Archuleta, national political director of President Obama’s reelection campaign, and Adriana Grillet, who is chief marketing officer of FDP Radio Network, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Named in the story are Maria Antonieta Collins and Fernando Espuelas. Collins is described as a Mexican-born journalist who lives in Miami, writes for both the Spanish-language media outlet Univision and the Miami Herald’s El Nuevo Herald, and hosts a radio program that is broadcast to 25 large U.S. cities.

Espuelas is “the host of a popular political radio program for Spanish-speakers in the U.S. His program is broadcast to New York, Chicago, Dallas and Miami, among other cities, and on the Internet. During the visit, Espuelas puts up many notes on his Facebook page, which has more than 10,000 followers,” Israel Hayom reported.

Espuelas, host and managing editor of “The Fernando Espuelas Show,” a radio talk show on the Univision America Network, said on his Facebook page Thursday that he was back in Los Angeles.

The story added that Collins, who was on her first trip to Israel, “says she quickly realized that ‘the situation in Israel is absurd and the people here are suffering. After the one-time experience that we had at the Western Wall, I can’t imagine how it’s possible to live in a city that gets hit by thousands of rockets. I can’t imagine what it would be like if it happened on the border between Tijuana and San Diego. Now I admire the people of Israel, who keep on living and coping with this situation.’ “

In a column Tuesday in the Spanish-language El Nuevo Herald, Collins said she had been invited on the trip by Irwin Katsof, director of the New York-based America’s Voices in Israel. Katsof told Journal-isms in January that his 10-year-old organization exists to sponsor such trips and that it was trying to influence the United States’ growing Latino population.