Degree from Michigan: A.B. in Political Science and Communications
Current location: Pasadena, CA
Year graduated: 2016
Student Organization Involvement: WOLV TV, Detroit Partnership, Michigan in Washington Program, Pi Beta Phi, political intern at Gary Peters for U.S. Senate campaign office, social media marketing internship at International Volunteer Programs Association, digital and political intern at ABC News through the Michigan in Washington Program, and intern with Nightly News with Lester Holt at NBC News in LA.
Stacy Chen currently works as a desk/production assistant for ABC National News in Los Angeles. Her position, in which she helps produce daily news stories and content for Good Morning America, has taken her from the red carpet at the Emmy’s to the Women’s March in LA. She also has the opportunity to pitch her own articles, as well as shoot and edit her own videos for ABC News.
KC: What kinds of stories do you get to work on at ABC News?
SC: Since I only started working 4 months ago and am in an entry-level position, I don’t really get to report on breaking news yet. Instead, I look for ways to dive deeper into the bigger stories. I’m Asian-American (I grew up in Taiwan), so I try to pitch angles from an Asian-American perspective. For example, with Trump’s immigration order, I interviewed older Asian-Americans who have faced anti-immigration policies in the past and wrote a story about their previous experiences and current reservations surrounding the Trump administration.
I only get about 2 out of 10 of my ideas approved. My editors have to consider factors such as whether the story is relevant/exciting, if it will capture our audiences, and if there is room in their budget for me to carry out my idea.
KC: How do you feel your education and extracurricular activities at Michigan have influenced your career path?
SC: Michigan doesn’t have a journalism program, but I was able to take some great journalism classes through my major. What Michigan DOES have, however, is WOLV TV. I think WOLV TV is a great resource for students who want to go into journalism, because it allows you to have so much decision-making power. You’re actually delivering ideas, and you get exposure to everything from shooting, editing, interviewing, planning, and transferring and uploading files. WOLV TV was definitely my most influential activity at Michigan.
KC: What originally made you want to go into this field?
SC: During high school, I had a few internships in Taiwan that helped me. I interned for a TV network and shadowed a show producer, so that’s what got me interested in this industry in the first place. Once I got to Michigan, WOLV TV confirmed for me that I love making and sharing stories.
KC: What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of your job?
SC: My least favorite part is the hours. . . they are very rough. Because we work in news and “news never sleeps,” people need to be staffed 24/7. The morning shift is 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., afternoon is 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., and the openers (for which we produce for Good Morning America) are 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.. We have to rotate shifts, so my sleep schedule gets really messed up. But that’s just the nature of the industry.
My favorite part: having a voice and influence is really cool! I’m lucky that I have the credibility of ABC behind me when I’m working on stories; it means people are really interested in being covered. I love that my job allows me to go out in the field and be anywhere from the red carpet to a political protest. I also love meeting and interviewing people that I would otherwise never have the opportunity to meet.
KC: What advice would you give to current students hoping to follow in a similar career path?
SC: Since Michigan doesn’t have a journalism program, it’s VERY important to get internships. My previous work experience was basically the only thing that companies looked at and asked me about when I was searching for jobs. So your work experience is very important. I would suggest joining organizations like WOLV TV since it really helps you to get a head start and see what it’s like to work in this field.
I would also recommend getting an internship in media/journalism through the Michigan in Washington program! However, if you want to work in Washington, D.C., you HAVE to be interested in politics. . . you really can’t escape it in that city. So if you hate politics, look for experiences elsewhere.
Finally, it’s important during internships to keep every email and always keep your eyes and ears open for new opportunities! That’s how I got my job at ABC – I emailed someone I knew from my past internship in D.C., and she connected me to the ABC HR person in LA.