Distinguished Alumni Awards

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Aitana Vargas (03C)

Aitana Vargas

The seeds of Aitana Vargas’ award-winning career in journalism were planted while she was still a student at Berry. While anchoring a TV show directed at the Hispanic community in Rome,

Ga., she gained insight into the values, traditions and needs of this community in the United States, and she became determined to reflect this in her reporting. She further credits the critical thinking and analytical skills she gained as a physics major with the incisive approach on display in her work. Internships with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and CNN International followed. In 2008, she received the European Initiative for Communicators of Science (EICOS) Fellowship and worked in Munich, Germany, and Israel.

She later joined Spain’s public TV station (RTVCM), where she worked as a reporter at the foreign desk. She has also worked as a reporter, producer and host at various media outlets that include Univision, Spain’s top national radio station (COPE), Spain’s public radio station (RNE), Spain’s EFE News Agency, Mexico’s Grupo Radio Centro, magazine CNN Expansión, and culture and fashion magazine S Moda.

In 2013, she took first prize for best investigative series at the 56th Annual Southern California Journalism Awards. Her investigative piece delves into abusive conditions for paid audience work in the Hollywood industry. The story was also the only piece written in Spanish nominated for the Livingston Award, also known as the “Pulitzer of the Young.”

She won Argentina’s 2014 Ana Maria Aguero Melnyczuk Award for best investigative journalism for a piece focused on the refusal of Spanish authorities to allow justice and relief for thousands of victims of crimes committed under the rule of dictator Francisco Franco. The story was published in Hoy Los Angeles.

Building on her background as a tennis player, Aitana has been working for several years as a live tennis commentator for DirecTV Sports Latin America and covering various sports events. In 2015, one of her stories about a teenage wrestling champion struggling in high school claimed first place for best sports news story at the 57th Annual Southern California Journalism Awards, hosted by the LA Press Club.

In 2016 she was awarded first place at the Southern California Journalism Awards for a story that addressed the homeless crisis in LA. In 2017, she received a National Arts & Entertainment Award at a gala hosted by the Los Angeles Press Club for a piece showing that Latinos are portrayed as criminals and bad guys in comics.

For the past year, she has worked as an on-air reporter for a show called “Buenos Días, Buenas Tardes” that airs on Spain’s TVE International, HITN TV Network and Spain’s Mediaset Group. In addition to her degree from Berry, she holds a degree from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism.