Alba Mendiola was at the top of her career about seven years ago. As an investigative journalist for Telemundo in Chicago, she had won seven Emmys in 16 years.
It was at that pinnacle that Mendiola decided to leave journalism for another dream — she wanted to be a teacher.
Now the former broadcaster has reached a new milestone as the recipient of the News Literacy Project’s Alan C. Miller Educator of the Year award.
The nonprofit recognized Mendiola for her work at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago, where she created a bilingual broadcast journalism class with a strong focus on news literacy and media ethics. All of the school’s students are bilingual in English and Spanish, and they come from families with limited financial resources.
EdSurge caught up with Mendiola via phone while she was visiting family in Mexico during summer break. She talked about making the leap from journalism to education and why the most tech-savvy generation of students still needs a guiding hand to navigate the media landscape.
EdSurge: You had a lot of success as a broadcast journalist, and you were leading Telemundo Chicago’s consumer investigations unit before you became a teacher. Why did you want a change?