I have always been a storyteller, but I became a reporter by accident.
It started with fiction. I recited my own versions of fairytales to my parents’ dinner guests, created my own picture books as a child, and eventually minored in creative writing in college. I loved Disney movies (and still do.) I was amazed by how much a well told story could make me feel empathy for characters that aren’t even real.
The curiosity of what drives human behavior led me to major in psychology at Stanford. I went on to study broadcast journalism at USC Annenberg for my graduate degree, specializing in longform pieces. For my thesis on Taiwanese democracy, I interviewed their former president, Ma Ying-jeou.
As a blogger for Huffington Post during the 2008 presidential election, I found the need to report at a faster pace. I applied to local news jobs and landed in Killeen, TX. There, I was the first to report live from the 2009 Fort Hood massacre. As I moved on to Memphis, TN, I became an expert on local education, navigating the racial and economic tensions of a controversial school district merger. Now in Seattle, I’m crunching numbers and following how city policy is addressing issues of income inequality.
In each place, I look for context to add value to our short sound bites. I look for opportunities to develop empathy for our fellow human beings, because the experiences of loss, struggle, and love are universal, no matter what city or culture we happen to use as a backdrop.