Maria Fernanda Reyes was wrongly identified as Univision reporter at Vice President Harris news conference – The Washington Post

MEXICO CITY — Maria Fernanda Reyes was sitting amongst a crowd of journalists dealing with Vice President Harris at a Tuesday information convention in a Mexico Metropolis resort when she heard her identify referred to as.
“Our subsequent query will come from Maria Fernanda at Univision,” an occasion organizer introduced.
When Reyes stood up, she instantly praised the vp. “For me, it’s an honor as a result of I truly received to vote for the primary time as a nationalized citizen, and I voted for you,” Reyes mentioned.
The second rapidly went viral and sparked a barrage of criticism in opposition to Univision for a reporter brazenly praising Harris and disclosing her political affiliation.
However as Univision rapidly revealed, Reyes was not a reporter and has no affiliations with the Spanish-language community. “Let it’s clear to everybody that Ms. Maria Fernanda Reyes shouldn’t be a part of this media group,” tweeted Daniel Coronell, president of Univision Noticias.
In reality, Reyes is a 36-year-old entrepreneur based mostly in California. So how did she find yourself face-to-face with the vp at a information convention?
A spokesperson for Harris instructed The Washington Put up that she had “misrepresented herself to the Vice President’s workers as a part of Univision’s crew, which was correctly credentialed for the occasion.”
However Reyes denies that. In reality, she mentioned, the incident was an epic misunderstanding pushed by a collection of weird coincidences: a difficult-to-navigate resort, a digital camera dropped on her head and several other miscommunications.
“They went after me with out the information,” Reyes instructed The Put up of critics who mentioned she intentionally posed as a journalist. “They robotically assumed that I went into that assembly as an impostor, and that’s not the case. It was an error.”
In an announcement shared with The Put up early Thursday, a Univision spokesman referred to as the incident a “misunderstanding” on the a part of each Reyes and the occasion organizers.
“Through the information convention, they invited her to ask a query and incorrectly launched her as a member of Univision,” mentioned Jose Zamora, Univision’s senior vp of strategic communications. “Each Maria Fernanda and the person who launched her improperly didn’t make the mandatory clarification, which led to the confusion and misunderstanding.”
A Harris spokesperson instructed The Put up that she underwent “the identical degree of safety screening” as others on the information convention “and was by no means a safety menace to the VP.” The White Home didn’t element why Reyes was admitted to a information convention that was reserved for credentialed press.
Reyes, an entrepreneur, farmer and the founding father of Undertake a Hero, a basis that helps front-line employees and farmers on each side of the border, mentioned she had traveled to the resort in Mexico’s capital as a member of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative to assist coordinate this 12 months’s Girls Financial Discussion board. Earlier than the information convention, she mentioned, some members of the Girls Financial Discussion board privately met with Harris.
On Tuesday, Reyes had simply wrapped up an interview with a Univision information crew about her work when she supplied to stroll the crew members to Harris’s information convention. They have been having hassle navigating the resort’s elevator system to get there on time, she mentioned.
However simply as she was about to go away them on the room, Reyes mentioned, one among them by accident dropped a digital camera from his tripod, hitting her on her head. Harris staffers then invited her into the room to sit down and drink water.
Earlier than she may depart, she mentioned, staffers introduced Harris was about to stroll in and Reyes was caught till the top of the convention. She mentioned she wore a badge figuring out herself as a member of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative the whole time.
Earlier than the vp arrived, two Harris staffers requested if she needed to ask a query, she mentioned. Reyes claims she once more recognized herself as a member of the Stanford group and instructed staffers that she wasn’t feeling properly sufficient to ask something. However when pressed once more, she mentioned, she assented and her identify was jotted right into a small pocket book. Reyes mentioned she didn’t know the occasion was just for journalists and assumed anybody there may ask Harris a query.
Whereas Reyes sat one seat away from the Univision crew, she says she by no means recognized herself as a reporter with the community.
After Harris arrived, reporters have been referred to as on one after the other. When the occasion organizer referred to as on her, Reyes says she was too overwhelmed by the second to note that they recognized her as a Univision reporter. “I solely heard my identify,” she instructed The Put up.
So Reyes stood, praised Harris after which requested, “What would you say to those ladies, these moms and likewise ladies of coloration on each side of the border, farmers, lots of them [whom] I see day by day, as a message of hope, but additionally what is going to you do for them within the subsequent coming years?”
It wasn’t till a Univision reporter confronted her after the occasion — as Twitter was blowing up with condemnations of the community over her admission that she’d voted for Harris — that she realized what had occurred, she mentioned. Reyes mentioned she defined the error to a Harris aide together with the Univision reporter. The White Home staffers thanked her for clarifying the error and mentioned they’d appropriate the occasion’s transcript.
Hours later, she mentioned, “All of it exploded.” Many retailers reported {that a} lady had sneaked into the journalists-only occasion to ask Harris a query and publicly reward her.
On Wednesday, Reyes appeared on Univision’s “Despierta América,” the place she apologized to the community and its reporters for the incident.
However Reyes mentioned she stands by her query and claimed that it introduced wanted perspective from the farmers and the Indigenous communities she commonly visits.
“Once I was given the prospect, which I didn’t ask for, I felt like I may give them a voice within the room,” Reyes instructed The Put up. “Why would I wish to be related as an Univision reporter, and what do I achieve? Nothing. I’m very pleased with what I signify.”



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