Shannon Van Sant’s hometown is Atlanta, Georgia, where she moved at the age of 5 after having been born in Tampa, Florida and living for several years in York, Pennsylvania.
Her love of journalism and the news media began before her fifth birthday, when she preferred watching documentaries over the most popular sitcom for children at that time, The Bill Cosby Show. When she began to consider her career opportunities in high school, there was no doubt where she wanted to go.
At the age of sixteen, she began writing for VOX News, a newspaper written by and for high school students. Two years later she managed the VOX Olympic News Bureau during the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, Georgia. Shannon taught high school students from across the state how to write and empower themselves through print journalism. That summer, she contributed stories on the Olympic Games to CNN’s website, CNN.com.
Shannon went on to work for CNN at the 1996 Democratic and Republican National Conventions in San Diego and Chicago, interned in CNN’s documentary unit, and worked for CNN Capitol Hill Correspondent Bob Franken in Washington, DC.
She graduated from Wellesley College, in Wellesley, Massachusetts, with a B.A. in Political Science in 1999. During her college years, she anchored the news for WZLY Radio and started Wellesley’s first
college television station. As President of Wellesley Women in Television and Entertainment, she organized and led a conference on foreign correspondent work in war-torn countries. Journalists like George Esper, who covered Vietnam for the Associated Press, came to speak at the college.
The summer of 1998, Shannon worked as an assistant to ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin, where she assisted with research and compiled files on the presidential candidates for the 2000 political election.
After graduating from college Shannon spent five years at ABC News, where she covered the 2000 presidential election, the aftermath of September 11th, and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. She researched graphics, booked guests during breaking news events, worked in the control room and as an off-air reporter for the National News desk.
In 2004 she joined Maine’s NBC affiliates, WCSH6 and WLBZ2, as a General Assignment Reporter. In addition to contributing stories and live shots, Shannon worked as an editor and camerawoman. She covered a wide range of topics but most of her stories focused on the state’s economy.
Shannon visited Beijing for the first time in December of 2005. Eager to report in-depth on China’s economic development, she called documentary producer Pang Xinhua and asked for an interview. Four months later she joined the staff of “Rediscovering China” and is excited to witness firsthand the economic, social and cultural changes sweeping the country.