FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The answer to your question(s) might be found in one of these interviews with me! If not, read on…
How did you get your start in journalism?
I decided I wanted to be a journalist when I was eight years old because it seemed fun to be out in the field, asking people questions and chasing your curiosities (and wanderlust) for a living. It didn’t even seem like a real job!
I went to undergraduate journalism school at the University of Missouri-Columbia and hoped to end my time there with a Fulbright scholarship abroad. Rejected by Fulbright, I sent out a bunch of tapes (yes, they were VHS tapes back then) and talked my way into a job as a television reporter at the CBS affiliate in Waco. Sexy, I know! From there I went on to work in South Carolina and found my passion in political reporting. The rest, as they say, is my adult life.
RELATED QUESTIONS: What’s the best way to land a job in journalism? | What kind of qualities or skills helped along the way? | What advice do you give journalism graduates? (scroll down for the advice)
How did you become a foreign correspondent?
I didn’t want to live in Washington anymore, I am globally-minded and the timing worked out.
The long answer is: I didn’t think it would be possible in the journalism business today to be sent abroad, financially backed by a large news organization. But I was fortunate to be working at a place that still cares a great deal about international news. I always raised my hand to take assignments, demonstrated good editorial taste and what I hope is a knack for the craft. When NPR wanted to open a new foreign bureau, the bosses came to me.
If you want to do it or get a taste of it, applying for international reporting fellowships and grants is a great place to start.
Should I have children?
That’s a personal question, but I get it more than I expect. The best answer to this that I’ve come across is by Cheryl Strayed, writing as Dear Sugar. I refer you to her.
RELATED QUESTIONS: What advice would you give to others who want to have demanding jobs and small children? | What’s the most valuable thing your mother taught you? | What’s it like to have babies and parent in South Korea?
Can we meet up for my school project / niche website / new podcast?
I respond depending on the specificity of the request. If I am in town or it’s easy for us to connect, then most likely yes! Get in touch.
Where are you from? No, where are you really from?*
Gah! I was born in St. Louis, Missouri but I claim Dallas, Texas, where I grew up. No, really, I am from Missouri and Texas. My father was born in China but defected during the harrowing Cultural Revolution, in the late 1960’s. My mother was born and raised in Taiwan, which is a place full of foodies and food-obsessed people.
*This is a joke question. Don’t ask Americans who appear “ethnic” where they are “really from.”