Guillermo Martinez, a pioneering Cuban-born South Florida journalist, has died at 80
Cuban-born South Florida journalist Guillermo I. Martinez, for decades a prominent and influential voice in both English and Spanish in television, radio and newspapers, has died.
Martinez, a former reporter and editorial board member at the Miami Herald, died Sunday in Miami. He was 80. Friends said the cause of death was cancer.
Equally at home writing and speaking in Spanish and English, Martinez was a pioneering and unifying force in local journalism, bridging the gap between Spanish-language media focused primarily on Cuban exiles and mainstream news outlets like the Herald, which was late in responding to the rapidly changing news audience in Miami.
While at the Herald, Martinez recruited a cadre of Hispanic journalists for its staff, opening the door to mainstream careers in English-language media for many and helping to significantly broaden the newspaper’s coverage of Miami, the Cuban exile and Hispanic community in both its news and editorial pages.
As one of only two Cuban-born reporters on the Herald staff in the 1970s, a time when Cuban exiles were beginning to flex their newfound political and economic muscle in Miami, Martinez complained to the newspaper’s crusty, legendary editor John McMullan that he needed to hire more Cuban-American and bilingual reporters to adequately cover the changing city.