Univision’s Ilia Calderón to receive 2024 Paul White Award at RTDNA24


Ilia Calderon

Ilia Calderón, the co-anchor of Univision Network’s flagship weekday evening newscast, “Noticiero Univision,” will be honored as the 2024 recipient of the Radio Television Digital News Association’s Paul White Award. 

The Paul White Award, named for the first news director of CBS, is RTDNA’s highest honor, given annually to recognize a person’s lifetime contributions to journalism.

“Ilia helps set the standard for network news,” said RTDNA Chair Tim Scheld. “She is a brilliant and pioneering journalist, a trusted voice and a role model in our field.” 

Since 1956, honorees have included Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Barbara Walters and Ted Koppel. Calderón will be recognized at RTDNA24, coming June 12-14 to Milwaukee.

“RTDNA is thrilled to be able to honor Ilia and recognize her outstanding journalism,” said RTDNA President and CEO Dan Shelley. “She is fearless in her pursuit of the truth and a true inspiration to all generations of journalists.”

Calderón is a trailblazer. She is the first Afro-Latina to anchor an evening newscast for a major broadcast network in the United States. In September 2023, she co-moderated the first Spanish-language broadcast of a republican presidential primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, becoming the first Afro-Latina to do so. Calderón also made history as the first Afro-Latina to co-moderate a Democratic presidential primary debate in 2020. Additionally, in her native Colombia, she became the first Afro-Colombian to host "Noticiero CMI,” a national news program.

Prior to joining “Noticiero Univision” in 2017, Caldrón was the co-anchor of Univision’s “Noticiero Univision Edición Nocturna”, previously co-anchored “Primer Impacto” and served as co-anchor of the magazine news show’s weekend edition “Primer Impacto Fin de Semana” all on Univision.

Before coming to Noticias Univision, Calderón co-anchored Telemundo’s weekend national newscast as well as Telemundo Internacional. Throughout her career she has interviewed numerous prominent politicians and celebrities, among them President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Colombian president Álvaro Uribe, and singer/songwriter Shakira.

Calderón also drew headlines when she pressed Ku Klux Klan leader Christopher Barker on his controversial positions while she faced racial slurs and threats. After that interview she told Forbes: “As a journalist working for Univision, we have bigger responsibilities now in this country when racism and discrimination are coming to the surface. My role as a black Hispanic immigrant will be to scrutinize who’s in power and to be more vigilant of civil and human rights for all our viewers.”

Born in El Chocó, Colombia, Calderón began her career in 1994 anchoring a local newscast in the country’s second largest city, Medellín. Three years later she became the anchor of a highly respected nightly national newscast and a travel program, roles she held until she moved to the United States in 2001.

As a respected journalist, Calderón has received several recognitions during her professional career, including two Emmy Awards. In 2019, she was named one of Carnegie Corporation’s Great Immigrants Great Americans. In 2002, she was named one of the 100 most important Hispanic journalists by the Hispanic Media 100 organization. She was also nominated for a Peabody Award for the border crisis coverage on Aquí y Ahora.

Calderón also serves as President and Founder of the Jang-Calderon Family Foundation which has a mission to help underprivileged youth and guide them to achieve successful professional careers. She is also a One Young World Counsellor and has participated and moderated several panels during the past annual Summits. In addition, she has also been invited to speak at university and corporate events to discuss topics such as social justice and racism.

In 2020 Calderon published her first book, “My Time to Speak: Reclaiming Ancestry and Confronting Race,” an inspiring, timely, and conversation-starting memoir.

Calderón graduated with a degree in Social Work from Pontifical Bolivarian University. She currently resides in Miami, Florida, with her husband and daughter.