Updated: Dec 13, 2020
Sandra Peebles is an Emmy Award winning news reporter. She is so passionate about her job and truly cares about the stories she writes and the people she writes about. Whether she is writing about a terrible accident, or a phenomenal accomplishment, she always tries her best and produces her best work.
From an early age, Peebles knew that she loved the television medium. She knew that she wanted to be an actor, but not in movies; but on television. However, she also wanted to be a journalist due to her love of the television medium.
She was very involved in student government in her high school years. She read the morning news for student government and her junior year of high school she became Vice President and continued to stay involved in student government. She also became very interested in civics.
Later on, when she was in college, she went into political science however, it led her more towards journalism and she realized that journalism was what she really wanted to pursue. She ended up sticking with journalism and not acting because she saw that there weren’t really too many opportunities for acting. She believes that life sets things up for you and she saw that she was given the opportunity to go to college and to gain the experience from being in student government in high school.
“A lot of times in life, life kind of takes you.”
She explains how often times, the interests you have at a young age tend to relate to what you end up pursuing in life.
In college, learning about political science, she learned the process and how things worked. She grew a bigger understanding of how government worked and “a parliamentary procedure”. She gained experience running campaign scenarios and she really enjoyed it, and now, she is still working and using her political science skills. In college, she studied journalism and English. She also graduated with a minor in mass communication and a minor in British literature. She found herself taking these classes because she realized that she loved stories and she loved to tell stories.
She advises that one of the first steps to take is your studies and recognize your interests from a young age.
“When young people have a desire and an inclination to do something, your dreams, it’s real.” states Peebles
She talks about how, being a journalist, you really study the liberal arts and you know “a little bit about a lot” and you are constantly learning new things. You are given a topic and you have to go out and interview and get information and depending on what your topic is, you can learn about different departments of government and how different people in different fields work.
She did television modeling during college and used the money to pay for school. She hosted a show that was called “Aconpaña Me” which was a travel show where they traveled to different countries. It was a small show that aired on Univision 23 in the mornings.
After this she continued to stay on camera. Her first real job as a journalist was when she worked for a cable news company. She carried her own camera and edited her own videos. She was a video journalist/multimedia journalist which was really cutting edge for that time. She had to find a story, record the video, do the interviews (in both Spanish and English), edit the report (in both Spanish and English), and do it all in a day.
“That showed me that I wanted to stay in the business because it’s not easy. You had to carry around those big cameras.” said Peebles.
She emphasizes how she always maintained her elegance. Even though it was hard work to carry around the big camera and load and unload the camera, she always stayed classy and put together. All the hard work showed her that she was dedicated and wanted to do the business.
Following her time doing cable news, she went into weather. She studied meteorology and did the weather in a real news station on Channel 51. But she knew that it wasn’t her thing and that she wanted to tell stories.
She talks about obstacles that she faced. She worked on Channel 51 for two years, and they fired her.
“They say you’re no one in tv unless you’ve been fired three times.”
However, three weeks after she got fired, she was picked up by NBC 6 and she got to be an actual news reporter and was making twice the money. She explains how in the end it was a good thing because she was able to do a lot better and grow. Overall, she says how the biggest challenges and obstacles are political, management, corporate world, and being new and inexperienced.
She goes further in depth about the obstacles with management when she explains how you can easily be promoted or demoted. She explains how she can go from being a news anchor to being a reporter and then someone else, who came in after, can move up.
However, besides all that, you have to keep going and keep working really hard. She explains that one of the biggest and best things you can do is to stay in the game.
“I have to continue doing an excellent job...You have to kind of put your ego to the side a little bit, even if you’re hurt, and just really get things done. And I think when you have that kind of perseverance and you keep going and you don’t take things too personally, you keep going and going and stay in the game.” said Peebles.
She explains how management can easily say ‘that’s it, you’re out’ and how that’s the way it is and that it doesn’t mean that you are bad.
She finds it very rewarding to work for her community and inform her viewers. She enjoys alerting people when there is a big storm coming, and when there are big things happening, and being a part of the news community because she cares about the people.
“Which is why in politics it’s so important for me to be fair and not one side or the other because I know that both sides are there. And I have to respect both sides.” states Peebles.
She adds that even though she has her own opinion, she has to set it aside and acknowledge both sides because they are both important and everyone has their own beliefs.
She then dives into her experience with her first Emmy award. She explains that it took her a long time to receive her first Emmy and how she thinks that’s important and how it shouldn’t come so easily.
"I think the Emmys motivate me to do better work… For me, it’s an inspiration, and I hope to do great stories”
Unfortunately, her first Emmy was for a tragic story involving the murder of a young girl. Peebles expresses an extreme amount of condolence for this story. Peebles found a lot of similarities with the young girl despite them never having met. Peebles explained how she stuck with the story because when they went into the neighborhood, she was the only Spanish speaker, and she really connected with the mother of the girl and developed a relationship with the girl’s mother. She explains how she had to talk to one of the murders. She adds that, looking back on the video, she doesn’t know how she did it, but she was able to sit down and interview him even though it was terrible to hear his responses.
“When it comes time to do it, I’m not nervous. When the moment comes to sit there and do it, that’s it, no more nerves. ”
She adds that she will always remember that story and the young girl and how it was a tragedy in the community.
The best advice she can give is to stay in the game and keep persevering. She explains that maintaining your integrity and never telling a lie is so important.
“The minute that the audience knows that you’re lying, you’ve lost everything. So you could never lie to your public… respect for the audience”
She adds that sharpening your language skills, reading a lot, being able to express things, and being naturally curious really adds to being a reporter.
She feels her biggest accomplishment is having stayed in the game. She adds that she has told many stories, whether they have been tragic or uplifting, but that she wouldn’t consider any one story an accomplishment in and of itself.
“Nothing comes easy and life is a struggle. Life is always a struggle, but if you have a dream and you have the fire in your heart that’s not for no reason.”