Mariana Atencio

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Mariana Atencio
Atencio in 2018
Mariana del Carmen Atencio Cervoni

(1984-04-02) April 2, 1984 (age 39)
Occupation(s)Journalist and Author
SpouseJosé Antonio Torbay (m. 2015; div. 2020)
AwardsPeabody Award, Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, Gracie Award, National Association of Hispanic Journalists Presidential Award

Mariana Atencio (born April 2, 1984) is an American television host, author and motivational speaker who was formerly a correspondent for MSNBC and NBC News. Atencio is a native of Venezuela and holds a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. In 2020, Atencio cofounded GoLike, a multimedia production company.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Mariana del Carmen Atencio Cervoni was born in Caracas, Venezuela to Álvaro Atencio and Diana Cervoni. She is the oldest of three children.

Atencio has a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas.[2] In 2008, she emigrated to the United States after being awarded a scholarship from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she graduated with a Master's degree.[2][3] 10 years later, Atencio received the First Decade Award from Columbia University for her work as a journalist.[4]


In 2009, Atencio started her journalism career as a reporter at Impremedia's El Diario/La Prensa in New York City.[2] She has also worked as an anchor for the Vme-TV network, the only Hispanic public service television station in the United States.

Univision and Fusion (2011-2016)[edit]

Atencio began working as a guest anchor and correspondent for Univision News in 2011. She covered the 2012 presidential election for the network’s morning program Despierta America and its evening newscast Noticiero Univision.[5]

In 2012, she began working as an investigative reporter at Univision.[2] Atencio was one of five reporters who worked on the Peabody Award winning documentary Rapido y Furioso (Fast & Furious) for which they received an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award.[6][7] She also served as a reporter for the network’s Investigative Unit. In 2013 she was part of a five-person reporting team that won Univision's first Peabody Award for "Fast and Furious: Arming the Enemy," an hour-long investigation on the gun-walking scandal known as Operation Fast and Furious.[6]

In 2014, Atencio received a Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media for her work on the Univision documentary, "Pressured: Freedom of the Press," which she reported on and wrote.[8]

Atencio became an anchor for the network’s The Morning Show, a two-hour program featuring a mix of news, feature stories and live interviews. She anchored The Morning Show on Fusion TV channel until its cancellation in 2014.[9] She was the reporter for Fusion's National Headliner Award-winning segment, "Unearthing the Tomb."[10] Her report entitled, “Mexico Massacres,” received recognition from The National Association of Hispanic Journalists.[11]

She has also served as a field correspondent. Atencio led the network’s on-the-ground coverage of the 2014 protests in Venezuela from where she also contributed to ABC News.[12][13] She has covered the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong, and the 2014 Iguala mass kidnapping, where 43 students went missing in Mexico.

In 2015, she was a reporter in McAllen, Texas for ABC News’ virtual town hall with Pope Francis ahead of his first visit to the United States.[14] She interacted with Pope Francis and translated on live television for recent immigrants who wanted to ask the pope questions.[15]

In March 2016, she was part of the anchor-team for Univision and The Washington Post’s debate between Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.[16]

MSNBC and NBC News (2016-2020)[edit]

Atencio made the crossover from Spanish to English-language network news in September 2016 when she became a correspondent for MSNBC and NBC based in Miami. She was the only Latina correspondent on the cable network.[17]

Atencio specialized in covering the U.S. Latino community and immigration, and doing live on-air translations from Spanish.[18] She reported on notable stories such as the Central American migrant caravans, the child separation crisis at the border and the ICE raids across several Mississippi chicken plants that led to the arrest of 680 undocumented immigrants.

Atencio's live interviews with migrant mothers during the Trump administration's family separation policy and her coverage of the border were nominated for two national Emmy Awards.[19][20]

During the 2020 presidential race, the 2018 midterms and the 2016 presidential campaign, she reported on Hispanic voters across the country.[21] In 2019, she was part of a team of NBC and MSNBC reporters, known as Road Warriors, who were awarded the First Amendment Clarity Award for their coverage of the 2018 midterm elections.[22]

Atencio covered major natural disasters including the earthquake in Mexico, as well as the aftermath of Hurricanes Maria,[23] Harvey, Florence,[24] Michael,[25] and Dorian.[26]


On June 11, 2019, HarperCollins published Atencio’s first book Perfectly You: Embracing the Power of Being Real, in English and Spanish. The book is self-help and part autobiography.[27]

Personal life[edit]

In 2020, Atencio became a U.S. citizen.[28] As of 2019, Atencio lives in Miami and New York City.[29]

Atencio has written about her sister Graciela Atencio. In 2014, Graciela was involved in a car accident in New York City. Mariana and her sister went on the air with the story to promote awareness for children with disabilities.[30]

Atencio's father died in February 2018 due to complications from pneumonia after contracting the flu. She chronicled his health crisis in the hospital in Caracas and the lack of basic medical supplies in Venezuela as a result of the humanitarian crisis.[31][32]


  • Atencio, Mariana (2019). Perfectly You: Embracing the Power of Being Real. W Publishing Group. ISBN 9780785228387. OCLC 1080997518.


  1. ^ "Mariana Atencio Leaves NBC News to Launch Her Own Media Empire". People En Español. January 3, 2020. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  2. ^ a b c d "Mariana Atencio". Univision. 27 September 2012.
  3. ^ "La periodista Mariana Atencio comienza un nuevo capítulo en su vida (FOTOS)". Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  4. ^ Columbia Journalism Names Winners of 2019 Alumni Awards. November 29, 2018. Columbia Journalism School.
  5. ^ "Mariana Atencio". Univision Noticias. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  6. ^ a b "Behind the Peabody Award-Winning Univision Investigation of 'Fast and Furious" - ABC News". 2013-03-30. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  7. ^ "IRE Award Winners: Spring 2013" (PDF). Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Fusion's Mariana Atencio Recognized with Gracie Award". Fusion. 28 February 2014.
  9. ^ ""Fusion Live" cancelled, Javier Guzmán leaves network". Media Moves. 2014-12-12. Retrieved 2016-12-27.
  10. ^ "FUSION Recognized with National Headliner Award". FUSION. April 2016.
  11. ^ "Tumblr".
  12. ^ "Venezuelan Opposition Leader's Arrest Intensifies Protests". Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  13. ^ "Fusion CEO Says Network's Partnerships Shone During International Coverage". Huffington Post. 2014-02-24. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  14. ^ "Pope holds 'virtual town hall' with ABC and Catholics in 3 cities". Today's Catholic. September 4, 2015. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  15. ^ "Passion and Purpose". Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  16. ^ "Univision Noticias: un menú digital para seguir el debate demócrata de Miami". Univision. 2016-03-09. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  17. ^ "Mariana Atencio's Next Career Step Is A Book That Challenges Latinas To Live Their Full Potential". Forbes. May 31, 2019. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  18. ^ "Interview with Award Winning TV Personality on Diversity & Activism Mariana Atencio". Naluda Magazine. February 27, 2019. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  19. ^ "Nominees for the 40th Annual News & Document Emmy Awards" (PDF). July 25, 2019. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  20. ^ Nominees Announced for the 41st Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards. August 6, 2020.
  21. ^ "Suburban Detroit voters speak on key election issues". MSNBC. Nov 6, 2018. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  22. ^ "First Amendment Clarity Award". 2018. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  23. ^ "Outside San Juan, Puerto Ricans plea for supplies (video)". 7 October 2017.
  24. ^ "Reporter battered by Hurricane Florence as she walks through 'ghost town' Oak Island, NC". September 14, 2018. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  25. ^ "Florida CFO on Hurricane Michael recovery". MSNBC. Oct 16, 2018. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  26. ^ "A harrowing story of survival from Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas". MSNBC. Sep 5, 2019. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  27. ^ "From MSNBC award-winning news journalist Mariana Atencio". Thomas Nelson. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  28. ^ The Venezuelan-American Vote, From a First-Timer in Florida. Oct. 29, 2020. The New York Times.
  29. ^ "Award Winning Journalist Mariana Atencio". Diversity MBA Magazine. 16 January 2019. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  30. ^ "La familia de Mariana Atencio vive la "discapacidad" de cerca". Univision. December 4, 2015. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  31. ^ "In the chaos of Venezuela, a daughter fights for her father's life". NBC News. Apr 25, 2018. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  32. ^ "MSNBC Journalist Mourns Father's Death and Sheds Light on Humanitarian Crisis in Venezuela". People. February 22, 2018. Retrieved 2020-04-03.

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