Ruben Salazar: Man In The Middle Is An Important Piece Of Cultural, Journalism History

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS released early this year a documentary centered on Hispanic journalist Ruben Salazar.  The documentary, Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle is a fittingly titled presentation.  That is because it discusses the interconnection of his own personal life and of his life as an influential journalist.  The most important aspect of this program is that unlike so many others of its ilk, it doesn’t waste time going through his entire childhood and his adult life.  Rather, it focuses primarily on his short adult life.  The use of newspaper articles, interviews and video footage to aid the story’s illustration adds another layer of interest to the overall story.  And last but not least, the entire approximately hour-long presentation runs chronologically.  It follows Salazar’s rise through the ranks of the journalism world through his untimely death in 1970.  Each of these factors by themselves provides their own value to this presentation.  Together, they make Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle a feature well worth watching by anyone with any interest in history and in the history of journalism.

Far too often, documentaries on the lives of important and influential figures tend to focus on the entire lives of said figures.  In some cases, going into such depth is necessary to help viewers understand how those figures became who they were and are.  In others, it’s not so necessary.  The case of Ruben Salazar is one in which the subject’s entire life story was not needed.   And thankfully documentarian Phillip Rodriguez realized this, too opting instead to focus primarily on the events that would eventually lead him to become the figure that so many have come to know today. This approach saves plenty of time without losing any of the most important information about Salazar’s importance both culturally and in the business of journalism.

The story of Ruben Salazar’s rise to notoriety and his untimely and still unsolved death is by itself rather interesting both for its cultural value and because of how that cultural importance played into his professional life. The tie in to the civil rights movement of the day makes Salazar’s story even more intriguing. As if that isn’t enough, the inclusion of actual footage and newspapers from the now much discussed events leading up to his death make the overall presentation even richer for viewers. They, along with the interviews with those closest to Salazar and the controversy raised by his allegations against the LAPD make for even more intrigue. They collectively will leave viewers wanting to do even more of their own research, trying to get answers for themselves due to the depth of the information shared by all three together.

The information shared by the included interviews, footage and interviews does an applause-worthy job of complimenting Phillip Rodriguez’s presentation in this program. The positives don’t stop here. There is still one remaining aspect of Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle that viewers will appreciate in the overall presentation. That final factor is the program’s organization. Audiences will note that the events leading up to Salazar’s mysterious death are presented in fully chronological order. Presenting the events leading up to his death in this manner makes the program simple to follow. Believe it or not, there are those documentaries that have a tendency to jump randomly from one point to another through the course of their presentations even today. Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle isn’t one of those documentaries. And because it doesn’t follow that model it makes all of the interviews and the story itself contained on this disc truly valuable as a piece not only of journalism history but of cultural history, too.

Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle is available now on DVD. It can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store at More information on this and other releases from PBS is available online at and To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

PBS, LPB Chronicle Famed Latino Journalist’s Life And Death In New Documentary

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS will release on April 29th, a new documentary for those with any interest in the history of journalism.

Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle will be released on DVD Tuesday, April 29th. The documentary follows the life and mysterious death of pioneering journalist Ruben Salazar. It follows Salazar’s eventual transition from a mainstream reporter to key figure in and supporter of the Chicano movement of the late 1960s. After being killed by a police officer in 1970, Salazar instantly became a martyr for those in the Latino community. Ironically enough, many in the Latino community had lambasted Salazar for his reporting during his life. Even more intriguing is that the full details of his death have been very murky even roughly four decades later.

This new documentary presents Salazar’s life in an objective, unbiased manner through interviews with Salazar’s friends, former co-workers, and family members as well as through his own words collected through personal writings. It is presented in partnership with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB).

Latino Public Broadcasting Executive Director Sandie Viquez Pedlow discussed the release of this new documentary in a recent interview. Pedlow noted of Salazar that so little was known of him or his life until the release of this feature. She went on to note that it was through this story that audiences finally see just how important Salazar remains today as his is more than just one man’s story. It she stated in her interview, Salazar’s is a “very American story about the struggle between ethnic identity and assimilation.”

Joseph Tovares is the Senior VP for Diversity and Innovation at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). He also shared his thoughts on the Salazar’s cultural importance and the release of the new documentary. “Ruben Salazar’s importance in our nation’s history is underscored by the number of schools, scholarship programs and parks across the west and southwest that bear his name,” he said. “CPB support for this program, through our Diversity and Innovation Fund, reflects our commitment to giving voice to storytellers from all across the country and from a wide range of perspectives.”

Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle was directed by filmmaker Phillip Rodriquez, whose most documentary was Race 2012. That documentary aired on PBS on October 16th, 2012. It examined the 2012 presidential election through the angle of a quickly changing racial landscape. He also received the first annual United States Artists Broad Fellow Award in 2006. The award is made by United States Artists (USA) and honors the nation’s finest living artists. Along with all of his other accomplishments and awards, Rodriguez is also a visiting fellow at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.
Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle will be available Tuesday, April 29th on DVD for an SRP of $24.99. It can be pre-ordered now via PBS’ online store at

More information on this and other programs from PBS is available online at and To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at