Meet the Fellow: Natalia Aldana

When Natalia Aldana was growing up she often got sent to detention for asking too many questions. As an adult, she realized this was an asset rather than a weakness, and journalism was the perfect vehicle for her curious mind. “I decided I could make a living out of asking questions,” she explains.

Growing up in the Bay Area with Salvadoran parents, Natalia realized the importance of covering Central American communities that are often grouped together.

From starting the first bilingual newspaper in college to heading the Latin America desk at a nonprofit news organization, Natalia has been on a steady track of reporting on Latin American issues.

Today, Natalia works at The Take podcast by Aljazeera in Washington D.C. where she’s been learning the ins and outs of audio reporting.


Why did you choose to focus on your chosen medium (print, audio, video, photo)?

By trade or by practice I’ve been in print and photography the longest and audio is something fairly new. For these stories [in Honduras], working on audio makes more sense because what we’re trying to do is highlight the thoughts feelings of a community that is rarely heard from. I need to serve as the vehicle for people to hear those voices. Indigenous displacement and the lived realities that migrants are facing, should be heard from people who are experiencing it. It’s not up to me to express what they actually feel or re-write it.

Address a challenge that you have been presented with when reporting stories from the field.

The biggest challenge is this current situation of physical insecurity in the city and not really knowing the place for myself or the physical surroundings natively.

Why do you want to report from Honduras?

Why I found this fellowship particularly interesting is because my parents are Central American. They’re Salvadoran and there are a lot of parallels. I think what’s really great about this reporting trip is that I can zero in on one population and one country, where unfortunately, a lot of the stories we are reading about migrants are getting grouped into the category of “the northern triangle.” This shows a pervasive laziness by the media to group them together because of the 24-hour news cycle. While there are similarities, there are nuances to each country and communicates within each country that are not exposed. So this gives me a great opportunity to help do that.

Professionally, I’ve worked within Latin American news contexts for the greater part of my career. While I’ve never worked in Honduras or wrote stories about it, it allows me to cast a wider net into a region that I find so interesting and have built a lot of knowledge on.

– Samanta Helou Hernandez, Adelante Honduras Fellow, 2019