Miami Herald Photojournalist - ILS Class of 1976
Al Diaz, an award-winning photojournalist for Miami Herald, captures the decisive moment on assignment while covering natural disasters, political campaigns, sports championships, temperamental celebrities, and angry mobs. Diaz is the recipient of the 2015 Humanitarian Award by the National Press Photographers Association and the Associated Press Media Editors Showcase Photo of the Year for helping, then capturing the dramatic CPR rescue of a baby on a busy Florida highway. Diaz is also a contributing member of the Miami Herald news team that won the Pulitzer Prize Public Service award for the newspaper’s coverage of Hurricane Andrew and twice honored the McClatchy President’s Award for Journalism Excellence for team coverage of Puerto Rico: The Forgotten Island in 2018 and for coverage of the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Diaz is an alumnus of the ILS Royal Courier and ILS Signum yearbook. Diaz is a graduate of Miami Dade College. He joined the photography staff at the Miami Herald in 1983 upon graduating from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree and a minor in Visual Arts. Diaz is a Pro Team member for Think Tank Photo and 3 Legged Thing and a lead instructor for Best Buy. Diaz takes pride in always being ready before the moment. He is married to Cindy Seip with two children, Angelika, Bartek, and their dog Amanda Bubbles.
Owner and Producer at Onda Films - ILS Class of 1974
Mercedes Palomo is executive producer and founder of OndaFilms, a film and video production company. Mercy, as she is affectionally known, began her career in Panama during the 1980’s working for the top ad agencies in the country. After the banking crisis shut down Panama’s advertising market, she moved back to Miami and began working as a free-lance producer for local and national production companies.In 1990, she seized upon an opportunity to establish a foothold in Miami’s burgeoning production industry and launched Pigeon Productions that rose quickly to become one of the most sought production companies working in the US Hispanic Market. The company also provided production services to international agencies and production companies.At Pigeon, Mercy managed a roster of award-winning international directors. Additionally, the company created content for television, corporate clients and was one of the leading providers of stock images for Getty Images. Mercy served as the President of the Florida Chapter of the AICP (Association of Independent Commercial Producers), with the distinction of being the first person of Latinx descent to hold that position. Mercedes graduated Cum Laude in Communications from the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Her interests include fine art, travel, real estate as well as mentoring women in the film industry.
Producer/Director - ILS Class of 1976
Maria Bures is a producer/director with vast experience ranging from commercials to documentaries to digital content. She recently co-produced a feature-length documentary Letters to Eloisa on Cuban writer Jose Lezama Lima slated to air on PBS in 2022 and is currently working on a documentary short on Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Maria has produced short films that have been shown at film festivals and art galleries. Highlights of her thirty-year career include helming two award-winning social engagement initiatives at Univision, Health Week and Education Week that integrated broadcast and digital content across all of the network’s platforms; Raising Hope: The Equal Voice Story, a one-hour documentary that follows over a two-year period the Equal Voice for America’s Families campaign, a family-led movement to improve the economic well-being of working class families in America that aired on PBS; Casas, a thirteen-part television series on Latin American architecture and interior design for Discovery Latin America; interstitials for Discovery Health Latin America; and promotional and educational content for a variety corporate and non-profit clients.For over twenty years, Maria worked alongside Mercedes and Luis Palomo executive producing over 500 commercial spots. Maria is a graduate of the prestigious San Francisco Art Institute where she majored in filmmaking and photography.
Journalist/News Anchor - ILS Class of 1974
Eliott Rodriguez is an Emmy Award winning journalist and respected South Florida news anchor of CBS4 News at 5, 6, 7 and 11 p.m.He is the recipient of two Emmy Awards and four Edward R. Murrow Awards for excellence in journalism. Eliott has been named Best News Anchor by Miami New Times, and one of South Florida’s Sharp Dressed Men by Ocean Drive Magazine. One of Eliott’s greatest honors is a Silver Circle Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for 25 years of outstanding South Florida broadcasting.Eliott joined CBS4 in 1999. He previously worked as a reporter and anchor at WTVJ (Miami), WPLG (Miami) and WPVI (Philadelphia). Before his career in television, Eliott worked as a newspaper reporter for The Miami Herald and The Miami News.Eliott’s career has spanned four decades and includes coverage of major news events in the United States, Europe and Latin America. Eliott has traveled to Cuba on numerous assignments, including coverage of Fidel Castro’s death in 2016. He has reported from the Vatican on the Pope’s health, and from Death Row for the execution of a convicted killer. Other important stories include the invasion of Panama, the Mexico City earthquake, Hurricane Andrew, political conventions and elections in Venezuela and Nicaragua.In 2014, Eliott served as moderator for the infamous “Fangate” debate between Florida gubernatorial candidates Rick Scott and Charlie Crist. Eliott kept his composure as the candidates disagreed on live television over the use of a portable fan on stage.A graduate of the University of Miami, Eliott is a member of the Iron Arrow Honor Society.
ILS Class of 1974 and Silver Knight Award recipient
Pupo-Mayo is the founding President and CEO of MGM Networks Latin America LLC. He created and was at the helm for more than a decade of two Spanish and Portuguese language Pan-regional television networks: MGM and Casa Club TV. Previously, Pupo-Mayo established the news division for Telemundo Group, Inc., a U.S. Spanish language television network. As the company's senior vice president of news and public affairs, he was responsible for developing all phases of news and public affairs programming for the television network and station group. While at Telemundo, Pupo-Mayo was the founding president of TeleNoticias, a 24-hour Spanish language cable news network, which he developed and launched in 1994. The network, was acquired by CBS in 1996 and renamed CBS TeleNoticias. Pupo-Mayo also spearheaded the creation of the largest and most successful Spanish-language daily newspaper in the U.S., El Nuevo Herald. He joined The Miami Herald in 1987 to revamp and relaunch the paper’s Spanish-language sister publication and served as El Nuevo’s first executive editor and general manager. Later, as director of international sales and marketing for the Miami Herald Publishing Company, owned by Knight Ridder, Inc., he was responsible for the expansion of the international edition of The Miami Herald throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. From 1984 to 1987, Pupo-Mayo was news director of Univision's flagship station, Miami’s WLTV, where he led the station from last place to first in news ratings, winning numerous Emmy awards along the way. From 1977 to 1981, at Miami's WPBT (PBS), Pupo-Mayo was a key member of the team that pioneered business news on television and created "The Nightly Business Report," now seen on more than 400 PBS stations. In 1979 he also broke ground by producing and co anchoring for PBS the first televised criminal trial ever seen in the U.S. Specialties: Developing and launching international cable
Award-winning Miami Advertising Photography
Fully experienced in professional photography since 1968, Levy possesses a rare combination of a keen eye, a high degree of technical proficiency as well as many years of experience working with some of the best art directors, advertising executives and companies in the world. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Miami in 1968, Levy was trained in photojournalism under the direction of Wilson Hicks, the first photo editor of LIFE Magazine. Levy also had extensive television, film and newspaper experience prior to founding Visual Impact Photography, including Chief Photographer for the Miami Beach Sun-Reporter Newspaper and a film cameraman for a local TV station. Levy has won numerous awards over the years, including a number of the prestigious Addy Awards for excellence in advertising. Equipped to fully handle location and studio assignments in digital high resolution (as well as on film from 35mm through 8x10), Sandy has been in the same fully equipped studio location in the Bird Road Art District since 1989. Levy also now specializes in high-end digital online virtual tours with clients such as Cunard Lines (for the Virtual Tour of the Queen Mary II), Miami-Dade College, the Miami-Dade Resources Recovery Facility, the Florida State College: Florida School of the Arts, and a number of industrial sites, medical, and professional offices. Having wide experience in 3D still photography, Levy currently holds a United States Patent on a 3D viewing process for large display transparencies. Active in a number of professional photographic organizations, Levy is a Life member of both the Professional Photographers of America and the American Society of Media Photographers. Levy has served for many years and continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the South Florida Chapter of The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). Levy is also Membership Chairman of ASMP