Gente de NAHJ: Carolina Guillén went from the sidelines to the center field of sports journalism

Carolina Guillén speaks during an ESPN Deportes panel at the NAHJ 2023 International Training Convention & Expo at the Miami InterContinental Hotel in Miami, Fla., on Friday, May 27, 2022. FABIANNA RINCÓN/LATINO REPORTER

In her first year as a sports reporter in Venezuela, Carolina Guillén didn’t interview a single soccer player. She couldn’t — she wasn’t allowed to.

Guillén said she was given the other assignments, the color, the stories off the field.

It could have been a devastating setback, but instead Guillén used it as motivation. She taught herself everything about the game. She became an expert. Soon, her colleagues noticed, and everything changed.

Guillén began doing on-field soccer interviews more than 20 years ago. She went on to become the first female baseball reporter in Venezuela and the first Venezuelan woman hired as on-air talent at ESPN.

Her story is unique, but Guillén wishes that it wasn’t.

“As women, we’re going to be measured by a different thermometer,” Guillén said. “My goal is for the women to have long careers.”

Guillén, born and raised in Caracas, is used to forging her own way. Her alma mater, la Universidad Católica de Venezuela, didn’t offer a journalism program, much less one that focused on sports journalism. Guillén said she owes her career to her refusal to quit — even when things weren’t going the way she hoped.

In 2004, Guillén began a career with ESPN Deportes, where she has focused primarily on baseball coverage. She is the host of Beisbol Esta Noche and has covered MLB All Star games, World Series and World Baseball Classics. Just before the National Association of Hispanic Journalists conference in Miami this week, Guillén was in Seattle covering the 2023 All Star game.

Now, more than two decades into her career, Guillén is heading into uncharted waters. At 43, she is the oldest woman on screen at ESPN Deportes. Though there are younger Latinas at the station, she has found herself without other women in her peer group.

“I don’t know anyone older than me,” she said. “And that freaks me out.”

But Guillén said she’s nowhere close to finished. She’s looking forward to staying on the field for a long time to come.

Fabianna Rincon is a junior attending the School of Communications at American University. She reports in English and Spanish and aspires to focus on political journalism. Reach her at fabiannarincono [at] gmail [dot] com or on Instagram at @fabianna.rincon

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