My Life in Journalism

Este artículo también está disponible en: Español

This is my full professional biography. For a summation of my career, click here, and for bullet-point highlights, here.

Since I started out in journalism in 1997, my work in Spanish and English has appeared in respected publications in Latin America and the U.S. This is a brief account of my career, which started in my hometown of Posadas, Argentina.

Three months before I graduated from Journalism school at the Universidad Nacional de Misiones, I started working at my hometown newspaper El Territorio on April 13, 1997. A week later, I joined FM Universidad radio station as a producer and reporter. I’ve been making a living in this profession ever since.

Taking photos above Tepoztlan, Mexico - Photo: Amy Graglia.
Near Tepoztlán, Mexico.

At El Territorio, I worked for most of the various desks and after a year I became an editor in charge of a daily section, Page 2, dedicated to short columns, person-on-the-street polls and reader input. Soon I began aspiring to reach the nation’s biggest market, Buenos Aires. This was a risky move, since few journalists from Misiones province had succeeded in the capital’s competitive job market and the nation’s unemployment rate in those years hovered about 10%.

After winning two national contests for young journalists –one in print, the other one in TV as part of a team representing my alma mater–, my chance came when I won a six-month fellowship at Clarín, then the world’s biggest newspaper in Spanish. There, I worked on the crime and general news beats, covering murders in shantytowns and the longest blackout in Buenos Aires history, among other stories. One highlight of my time in Clarín was my coverage of the case known in the U.S. as “The Yosemite Murders” — where one of the three female victims was Silvina Pelosso, an Argentinean teenager on vacation in California. (Ten years later, I followed up on the case with an article about the killer’s life for Brando magazine.)

After that experience, I stayed in the Argentinean capital looking for a job as the country’s economy started taking a turn for the worse. It took me nine months of freelancing to find a full-time position. In the meantime, I wrote about subjects as varied as rock history, information technology and life in the youth divisions in the Argentine soccer league.

In December 1999, I joined Diarios y Noticias, a national wire service, where I was assigned to the night desk as a general and breaking news reporter and also occasionally wrote features.

A 2000 press pass.
A 2000 press pass.

On December 19, 2001, I was eyewitness to the start of two days of riots and a police crackdown when thousands of Argentineans flooded Plaza de Mayo square to demand the resignation of President Fernando De la Rúa. On a day off, I had volunteered for work and then stayed in the newsroom until 5 a.m. As the police and protesters clashed on the streets, tear gas seeped through the eighth-floor newsroom’s windows.

By 2002, I was ready for a change. I found it when I won a Fulbright scholarship and was admitted to the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York. After taking classes like cross-cultural reporting, narrative writing, and online journalism, I graduated with honors in May 2003. My master’s project, “The First Alcalde of New York City,” was a 9,307-word article that explored the possibility of Fernando Ferrer’s becoming the first Latino mayor in the city. I would return to that subject two years later, when I wrote a cover story for Viva New York, a Daily News monthly magazine, on Ferrer’s 2005 mayoral bid.

After graduation, I entered a one-year internship program at The Star-Ledger, the biggest newspaper in New Jersey. My beat was the city of Elizabeth, pop. 120,000, with over 50% Hispanic residents. Among other stories, I took part in the coverage of the deadly Staten Island ferry crash on October 16, 2003 and authored an investigative piece about a fake architect who deceived several families around the state, including that of the coach of the New Jersey Nets.

On leaving The Star-Ledger, I stayed in New York, where I freelanced for magazines and newspapers in Chile, Argentina and the U.S. I became a regular contributor to the Daily News, both for the newspaper and its Spanish-language newsweekly Hora Hispana. I also produced features for public radio, thanks to the training received through the Feet in 2 Worlds program.

In 2006, I went back to school, this time at New York University where I obtained a Master’s degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, concentrating on Latin American politics and 20th century history. My goal was improving my ability to cover U.S.-Latin American relations at every level. As soon as I completed my coursework -and thesis-, I left New York after five and a half years. I moved to Mexico City to take a job as a managing editor at Gatopardo, a much-admired narrative journalism magazine.

In 2008, during the presidential campaign that would bring Barack Obama to the White House, my wife and I drove from New York to Mexico on a 1993 Subaru Legacy, talking to Latinos along the way to find out their thoughts and expectations before the election. Filing on the move through a wireless internet connection, I published their voices, faces and testimonies on a live blog combined with Twitter, Flickr and YouTube accounts. That experience also led to a cover story on Etiqueta Negra, a well-respected literary magazine out of Peru.

Partly as a result of that coverage I became the web editor for Feet in 2 Worlds’ newly launched news website, which aimed to bring the work of journalists from the ethnic press to a mainstream American audience, both on the web and on public radio. Visits increased 700% under my watch and I was also in charge of the website’s redesign that provided a professional platform of delivery to our collective work. I also made guest appearances on “The Brian Lehrer Show” on WNYC, New York public radio, to analyze immigration-related news.

In 2009, I joined The Associated Press as an editor on the World Spanish Desk in Mexico City, where in addition to editing and translating world news and acting as desk editor, I wrote occasional features on Latin American politics and inter-American relations. Later, I became the deputy Sports editor for Latin America.

In 2012, I left The A.P. for Expansión, Mexico’s leading business magazine, where I became the deputy editor. In 2013, I was named Editor in Chief after the selection process that followed the exit of the previous EIC, my friend Adolfo Ortega. The following two years were an amazing learning exercise. I represented one of the most influential titles in the country and was accountable for its content to a highly demanding reader community. The editorial team produced some hard-hitting investigations and on the whole renovated the magazine’s look and focus. I learned a lot about leadership, team building, editorial strategy, and business strategy in an industry in turmoil.

In 2015, my wife and I decided it was time to follow her career path out of Mexico. I parted ways with Expansión, without regrets but with, yes, a bit of pain, after a very exciting period of my life.