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Sebastián Castro:
A young
tico at CNN
 ... reporting adventure and humanity.

Speaking with Sebastian is an adventure, in and of itself.  An unusual person with unusual stories.

Sebastian went from being an unemployed graduate in political science and economics to an innovative and promising reporter working for a huge international news channel.  His journey included a bit of chance combined with a lot of determination.

Sebastian Castro is the playful, creative type of person that builds his life one day at a time, step by step. He says yes to opportunities, or simply creates them through calculated risk when they are not directly served up. 

For him, one must not leave causality to chance.
Life is a product that each and every one of us can and should mold into their desired destiny.

Although he is only 24, talking to him and hearing his multifaceted story makes it seem like you’re speaking with someone who has lived several lives.


Following the opportune path…
However, Sebastian’s path to becoming the star iReporter for CNN in Spanish – the youngest face of the leading news network in Latin America – was a long process.
It all started in 2009, when Sebastian – then a student on scholarship in Atlanta, decided to raise funds to help his compatriots affected by the earthquake in Cinchona, Costa Rica.

He said: “A small table and a poster will not work. We need to communicate more about what it’s like day to day, living there, for the affected people. ‘

Thus was born the ‘Tico Tent Project’: In the middle of the winter in Atlanta and in a busy area of ​​the university, Sebastian and his friends set out to live day and night in tents ... just like those who had lost their homes in Costa Rica . No amenities, no comforts – simply living as true refugees.

The signs and various activities surrounding the tents were quite powerful and impacted all those that came across it. Indifference was not an option. By the end of the demonstration they had collected enough to finance homes for three of the families devastated by the earthquake.

The uniqueness of this effort, coupled with Sebastian’s first iReport, quickly got CNN’s attention. Before he knew it, Sebastian was offered an internship at the Economy and Finance program. Sebastian milked the internship for all it was worth, learning as much as he possibly could. Sadly, the internship eventually came to a close, as did Sebastian’s time with CNN.


With a tinge of sadness, but also bounding with the energy and drive that defines him, Sebastian got a job working with FIFA during South Africa’s World Cup. Through this work Sebastian found an opportunity to resume contact with CNN.

Alongside his work with FIFA, Sebastian started to generate and send iReports to CNN, which later give way to a series of video adventures in other African countries.
After the cup, as he was already in Africa he continued traveling the rest of the continent.

His sincere form of reporting and his unique style soon recaptured the attention of CNN. And so, in January 2011 his first formal project with CNN took shape: A two-month journey to the hidden corners of South America, “seeking out and telling a different kind of story – revealing things that few even knew existed.”

And thus, the now famous iReport Adventurer was born ...

Today, a year and a half later, Sebastian Castro has become an icon of CNN’s new-age journalism– and over time has gone on to complete major English reporting assignments for CNN International.
Sebastian broadcast his adventures in big cities or small towns, from the depths of the jungle or from great heights. Reporting on the Superbowl from the middle of Times Square or more recently reporting from the heart of Guanacaste depicting the beauty of the deep ocean.

Sebastian gives us journalism experienced firsthand, from a profoundly human perspective.

How do you view present-day journalism, and the global manner in which information circulates today?

“I think there is a vicious cycle that is simply not good: Old time journalists got used to exposing only calamities and destruction in the news, and over the years people have gotten used to believing that this is all they should expect from the news.


I prefer to look for positive journalism, a form of reporting that encourages people to appreciate life and believe in the future.

I see citizen journalism as a way to integrate new information, as a direct path to innovation, a path to fresh information and fresh ideas. Today technology has democratized and globalized communication, and mass media is evolving based on these new possibilities.

Formal journalism is not going away, but the rules are clearly changing.

At the young age of 24, you have the power to influence millions of people. In general, it appears that there are increasingly more young people in roles relevant to social, economic, scientific, academic and technological realms.
Do you believe this is a short-term anomaly or is our youth filling in a needed gap?

Today’s youth gets it done ... That is very clear and I think it will become more and more noticeable as time goes on. The world today is intense, full of changes and youth epitomizes just that: Energy and adaptability.

In addition to the ease in which youth rapidly absorbs the new technology and knowledge that is available, I also see the youth as more informed, aware, engaged and determined to be a very active part of society.

The intense evolution of worldwide knowledge today has made it less useful to have ‘vast experience’ in any one given field. The ability to learn and adapt quickly far outweighs all of the extensive experience that has accumulated in previous decades  – especially when considering what’s coming in the short term. Young people today have advantages that they’ve historically never had in the past.

Today it is common to see multimillion dollar companies created by ‘boys’ that are only 20 or 25 years old, scientists making a name for themselves before the age of 30 or even prodigious inventors who are still in their teens.

Today the world has a more mature youth that is better prepared for what lies ahead.

Costa Rica is a country of peace, harmony and respect  – a place where people live without major upheavals.

How much of the Tico lifestyle factors into your reports?

Costa Rica ... is a fortunate country, and being tico is a tremendous honor and a wise school for me.  However, I think my journalism is also heavily influenced by my worldview.

In Costa Rica we have had it easier than in many other places, but seeing the world from other perspectives you discover that for many, regardless of nationality, life is a constant uphill battle. It’s important to understand this and appreciate what we have.


CNN en Playas del Coco.

Following Sebastian’s style, we wanted to give a twist to the interview so we invited this intrepid reporter to visit Guanacaste, from where he made a note on the initiation into the world of diving.

We now invite you to read the other articles of this issue on the virtual version of the magazine. 



Visit our latest issue on virtual paper
…or see previous issues in our virtual kiosk
utopia magazine and travel guide

What else would you like to see in Utopia Magazine? 

Things to do in Costa Rica

Golf in Guanacaste 

Tico Glossary Catalinas island 

Barra Honda Caves

Rincón de la Vieja

Diving in Guanacaste


Marina Papagayo Medical tourism

What does Pura Vida means? 

MAPS Ecology   Culture   

Hotels in Costa Rica Birds

watching guide MarineTurtles 

Playas del Coco NationalParks 

Transportation guide 

Humpback Whales 


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