Not many of us can say they got to interview Barrack Obama ten days before he won the presidential election back in 2009, or be able to report on 16,000 years old fossils hidden in Las Vegas, Nev.
Award-winning, Emmy-nominated journalist, and member of the Asian American Journalist Association, Hetty Chang, can say that of course. Chang, a Los Angeles native has always been interested in being a newscaster since she was a little girl.
Chang attended UCLA and graduated with a Bachelors in Sociology and Asian American Studies. Initially she wanted to study journalism but unfortunately UCLA does not offer that program so Chang studied Sociology since she was always interested in it.
Eventually Chang pursued her dream career as a newscaster as well as dabbling on Public Relations to fulfill her curiosity for seven months where she quickly realized that PR wasn’t something she wanted to continue doing, but glad she gave it a try.
As a journalist, Chang has worked in Las Vegas for NBC Reno and NBC Las Vegas then eventually made her way back to her hometown and work for NBC LA.
Rafael Ochoa, a San Jose State University journalism alumnus, admires a few television newscasters, which includes Hetty Chang on his top 5 list.
“She does phenomenal work. I remember seeing her on TV, I think it was my senior year in high school, she was interviewing Senator Barrack Obama during the presidential elections. She brought up great questions and Obama had no problem answering them, from what I can remember, that was in 2008” said Ochoa.
Ochoa says that as journalist himself, he understands getting in the news business, it is very hard. Chang has worked hard to get to where she is today. That is one of the most important things Ochoa thinks a journalist should be, determined and be willing to put the time and effort in order to get to where you want to be.
Chang presents in such a way that gets viewers to listen and stay intrigued. The stories are never boring whether they are hard news, informative and so forth. Ochoa says that some journalists might have been all over the place with words when interviewing Obama when he was senator at the time.
“As a journalist myself, I may not be reporting for TV broadcast but I know being a reporter is very time consuming and you have to be able to meet deadlines and get interviews…. It’s not easy but it’s a really great experience and fun job. I think that is what Hetty does on TV, you can tell she enjoys what she does and does it exceptionally well,” said Ochoa.
Chang has tried different career paths and has interned for LA Cityview Channel 35, where she learned many skills by following crew members and watching what everyone would do. She worked hard and was determined to be a newscaster.
“I think that it’s an extremely competitive field. You have to work hard and there are so many spots, so many reporters, you have to keep your eyes the goal… We have to start small or start in a city.”
Staying positive, keep striving for your goal and not letting negativity get in the way is something Chang emphasizes a lot. She cannot stress enough how much time and effort one should put in if they want to be a newscaster.
“Don’t give up, it’s a very competitive field here in Los Angeles. To me, it’s the best job in the world, it’s different everyday, it’s exciting you know. We get to tell stories.”
Working as a journalist is a great thing for Chang. Everyday is an adventure so it never gets boring. Being able to shoot from start to finish, write down the script and be able to complete the package is a great accomplishment in her opinion.
Chang is very passionate about her career and her work never goes unnoticed. She
“I think its very important to gain respect as well as having your work recognized and staying humble about it… and thats what I think Hetty shows. I do my research on journalists whose work I admire and when I read their history, you learn that they’re very humble people, at least the journalists I admire,” said Ochoa.
When Chang was asked if she didn’t work in journalism as a newscaster, where else could she see herself working, Chang said she doesn’t have a plan B. She already gave public relations a try to fulfill her curiosity, that is something many journalists go into and like it.
Chang is glad she gave public relations a try but believes that being a news reporter is the final path for her that she loves to do and wouldn’t change it for the world.