Lilia Luciano (born October 12, 1984) is an award-winning television investigative journalist, filmmaker and public speaker. She is the investigative reporter at ABC 10 in Sacramento and was the chief investigative correspondent on Discovery Channel's Border Live.
In 2019 she was awarded a Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism as a special commendation for enterprise for her four-part documentary series, Puerto Rico Rises, which she directed and produced for ABC Sacramento, a TEGNA station. In 2018 her coverage of the Northern California Wildfires of 2018 received a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Continuous Coverage. Luciano has won four Regional Emmy Awards. In 2019, she won the Emmy for her special TEGNA series "Crisis at the Border," and for her team's coverage of the Northern California Wildfires. In 2018, she won for California Wildfires coverage and for her documentary Puerto Rico Rises. In 2013, Luciano was also awarded GLAAD's Outstanding Digital Journalism Article media award for her coverage of homophobia in U.S. Hispanic media.
Luciano is the investigative reporter at ABC 10 in Sacramento, California. She is the director and producer of Wars of Others, an HBO Latino documentary film about the consequences of the U.S. War on Drugs on Colombian farmers and the founder of CoInspire, an interview series about entrepreneurship in partnership with Rokk3r Labs. She has worked as a host and contributor at various VICE platforms in English and Spanish. Previously, she worked as a national news correspondent for NBC News's The Today Show, Nightly News with Brian Williams and MSNBC. She is a TEDx speaker and contributing columnist for Huffington Post writing both in English and Spanish about issues concerning the Hispanic community, the War on Drugs and Human Rights. She servers the advisory council of United Nations Foundation's Girl Up initiative. She has served as a moderator at the Oslo Freedom Forum Human Rights conferences since 2016.
As an investigative reporter at ABC 10, Luciano has uncovered patterns of corruption in family court through an ongoing multipart series. She has run investigations on sex trafficking, low teacher diversity, campaign financing, police shootings, including daily coverage of the shooting of Stephon Clark in 2018. Her HBO documentary film, released in 2016 uncovers the social, environmental and health impacts of aerial spraying in Colombia.
As a VICE News host, she investigated the oil and gas industry's impact on Louisiana's loss of coastal land. At VICELAND's Black Market Dispatches, Luciano embedded with a caravan of gasoline smugglers, hiding in a racing car filled with 400 galons of contraband gasoline.
In 2018, Luciano was awarded a Regional Edward R Murrow Award for Continuous Coverage of the Northern California Wildfires. Luciano has been nominated for 5 Northern California Emmys, one in 2017 and four in 2018. The stories nominated include coverage of the California Wildfires, the medical benefits of psychedelics, the rise of the YIMBY movement, and her documentary about colonialism and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Luciano attended Tufts University in Massachusetts to study pre-medicine. In 2003, she transferred to the University of Miami, where she graduated in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in economics and broadcast journalism.
While at the University of Miami, Luciano interned with Telemundo where she produced and anchored a finance and economics segment for Telemundo Internacional. After graduating from The University of Miami, Luciano was hired by Univision Networks as correspondent and co-anchor for evening newscast En Vivo y Directo.
Luciano joined NBC News in December 2010 from Univision network where she served as co-host of a live daily program and as a correspondent for the top-rated show Aquí y Ahora. Previously, she was a co-host from 2006 to 2010 at Escandalo TV (Scandal TV), a spicy Spanish gossip show at TeleFutura Network.
In August 2011 Lilia Luciano covered Hurricane Irene from Nassau, Bahamas for NBC's Nightly News with Brian Williams, Today Show, MSNBC, The Weather Channel, CNBC and Telemundo. She went on to cover the storm's trail of devastation in North Carolina.|
Casey Anthony trial
During the summer of 2011 Luciano covered the Casey Anthony first-degree murder trial in Orlando, Florida for MSNBC and the Today Show. Luciano reported live from the Orange County courthouse throughout the six-week trial. At midnight on July 17, she gave a special breaking news report on MSNBC to announce Anthony's release from prison.
Joran Van der Sloot trial
On January 2012 Luciano was the only national correspondent from the major networks covering the murder trial against Joran Van der Sloot in Lima, Peru for both Today Show, and Telemundo, obtaining exclusive interviews with the victim's family and government authorities in Lima.
University of Virginia lacrosse murder trial
On February 22, 2012 Luciano reported for Today, MSNBC and Comcast Sports on the first degree murder trial against University of Virginia Lacrosse captain George Huguely, convicted in the death of his girlfriend Yeardly Love.
Trayvon Martin shooting
Luciano was one of the national television reporters on the scene in Sanford, Florida covering this story.
On May 2, 2012 it was announced that Luciano had been fired by NBC News, after it was found that the audio portion of the Trayvon Martin 9-1-1 call was edited in a manner that made George Zimmerman look like a hateful racist and had the appearance of George Zimmerman making an unprompted statement that Martin was black and bad instead as his direct answer to the 911 dispatcher's questions. NBC dismissed the producer responsible for editing the piece and also dismissed Luciano for the oversight.
On May 2, 2012, it was reported that Luciano was no longer with NBC News. It was initially unclear if she was dismissed or resigned, but it was reported later she was let go. The unnamed veteran NBC News producer and the local reporter, Jeff Burnside, responsible for editing the piece where the mistake appeared originally were previously fired.
All of Luciano's reports on the Trayvon Martin story which contained the misleading edit were removed from the Today website.
NBC News president Steve Capus told Reuters that the edit, made by a Miami-based producer, was "a mistake and not a deliberate act to misrepresent the phone call." The network claimed that it was done in order to meet a maximum time requirement for the piece, a common pressure in morning television. The producer was subsequently fired and NBC News apologized for the error, though not on the air, stating it was an "editing error in the production process."
On December 6, 2012, Luciano was named as a defendant in a defamation lawsuit filed against NBC by George Zimmerman with regard to the selective editing of Zimmerman's 911 call. Zimmerman's criminal trial concluded with a "not guilty" jury verdict and acquittal on July 13, 2013, allowing his lawsuit to proceed. Zimmerman's lawsuit against NBC and his subsequent appeal were both dismissed in Florida courts.
Since 2013 Luciano has served on the Advisory Board of the United Nations Foundation Girl Up Campaign. She is a Today I am Brave Speaker series.
In 2009, she founded a media campaign named "aprende más!", which seeks to promote education and the importance of reading among children in Ibero-American countries. Luciano also hosts a video blog Una Voz, which tackles current events and issues affecting Hispanics today. Lilia is also the executive editor of Opina Magazine, an annual online publication that promotes the arts.
In 2010 she served as spokesperson to the Univision and Bill Gates Foundation's Education Campaign, "Es El Momento", as well as a supporter and collaborator with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and Walk Now for Autism.
Luciano is the director and producer of Guerras Ajenas, the first documentary film by HBO Latinoamérica.
Luciano married Luis Alayo, a Catalonian banker, on December 28, 2007. The couple divorced 18 months later citing irreconcilable differences.
Luciano is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists In 2010, Cosmopolitan Magazine featured Luciano on their November 2010 cover.
In 2009, People en Español selected Luciano in their 50 Most Beautiful people issue.