From Colombia to NYC at 21: The Sandra Escallón Story

Sandra shares her experience of coming to the US alone and starting her career as a journalist and producer.

Sandra Escallón is a bilingual (Spanish & English) journalist and writer with experience in covering culture, art, and news. 

She was born in Colombia but her dream was always to live and work in New York to connect her two passions: art and journalism.

Renzo: What’s your job right now?

Sandra: I work as a full-time digital producer for Telemundo 47. I’m also working as a freelance video reporter for HispanoPost. I produce stories in shorts videos and I usually record, interview, present and edit the stories. Those videos are broadcasting in HITN TV and HispanoPost.

Also, I collaborate for different media because I really like arts and culture, so when I have time, I write about these stories.

R: What language do you work in?

S: In Spanish most of the time. We write and produce in Spanish because Telemundo and our content is in Spanish. But because Telemundo is part of NBC, we share information and we work in English with NBC teams a lot also.

R: How did you start in media and in production?

S: I was born in Colombia, and I came to the United States when I was 21 years old by myself. Alone. I came here without understanding English at all. So I spent time learning the language. 

I started working in events related to arts and culture. So I work for a few magazine and media networks where I was covering more cultural journalism and my focus was always on Latin audiences.

“When you work hard for what you are looking for, with time, you will see the results.”

R: How was the experience of starting your career in NYC? What did you do?

S: I think when you come from another country, it’s important to collaborate with organizations, even if as a volunteer. You can meet a lot of people and you gain a lot of experience. 

When I came here I wanted to be involved in events that share something good and talk about culture. I went to the Consulate of Colombia and they told me they want to start a Colombian Festival. I really, really love the idea of the exhibition of Colombia’s roots and talent.

So I work for more than 3 years as a Press Officer, working on getting the voice out about what we were doing.

And little by little you get a position. But I think you need to get involved in projects where you can make a network.

R: Why journalism? 

S: I just want to be able to tell stories to impact our community positively. That’s why I started covering cultural events and content to show the other side of our stories.

And New York is a city where people come from all around the world. I always was interested in learning more about it and to share the stories. So, New York is a perfect match to me.

Besides, now I’m working on breaking news which it’s different from covering cultural news. I’m learning more about my community in a different way. And even though a lot of stories are more negative, I try to write more about something good or that can have an impact in a positive way.

Journalism gives me the opportunity to tell stories that can impact the way people see other cultures.

Sandra Escallón with her team at Telemundo 47

R: What are you curious about right now?

S: Right now, I’m studying everything related to my job as a digital producer. 

Knowing your audience is really important in a digital world. It’s a different audience than those who watch TV. 

Also, when you start a new job, it’s so important to ask a lot and look for good mentors to learn as much as you can from. I try to read up on how other media is working and the latest industry trends.

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