Filipino American Meteorologist Wins Emmy for Report on Plastic Pollution in Ocean
By Carl Samson
August 7, 2019
A Filipino American meteorologist won an Emmy at the 71st Los Angeles Area Emmy for her news story on plastic in the ocean.
Shanna Mendiola, who covers NBC4 Southern California’s weekday morning newscast “Today in LA,” received the Environment News Story award for “Plastic and Our Oceans,” alongside producer, editor and cameraman Andres Fernando Pruna.
Mendiola has been the morning meteorologist since 2017, joining NBC in 2014. She received the award with Pruna at the Saban Media Center at the Television Academy’s North Hollywood, California headquarters on July 27.
“This award actually means a lot because, you know, being a Filipino American girl from the Bay Area, I never thought I could do this,” Mendiola said. “It’s just representation, just to be out there and just show that you can do it, I think is going to inspire a lot of people as well.”
The two-part report, which emerged as a “responsibility to raise awareness for environmental issues that affect our planet,” investigates why 88% of the oceans have plastic debris and why the problem continues to get worse.
“Sadly, you don’t have to go very far to find trash on our washing up on Southern California beaches, or even see it in the water,” she told Asian Journal. “Cities are making small changes like banning plastic straws and bags, but it’s not enough. I hope the story my producer and photographer Andres Pruna and I put together educates the public about the issue and gets more people talking about how we can work together to make a change.”
In a bio video for NBC4, Mendiola shared that she wanted to become a meteorologist since she was 12.
“I knew since I was 12 that I wanted to be a meteorologist. My mom is a nurse. She came from the Philippines. I’m a first-generation Filipino. I kind of give credit to my mom ‘cause she always wanted me to be good at science. I actually enjoyed it.”
She looked up at Al Roker, NBC’s resident weather anchor.
“Growing up in the sixth grade, we would watch ‘Today’ show every single morning in class. I would watch Al Roker, and I said ‘I wanna do what that guy is doing!’ And I actually got to fill in for him one time, so it was an honor to do that.”
This is not the first time Mendiola has taken home an Emmy. In 2016, she was part of a team that won the Education award for the program “El Niño: Currents of Change.”
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