Every year, nine college journalists are selected as winners of the Roy W. Howard National Collegiate Reporting Competition. This year, Xueying Chen ’16, a former Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Wellesley News, was selected by the foundation. For the past 10 years, the Scripps Howard Foundation has awarded the winners of this competition a nine-day, all-expenses-paid study trip to Japan, providing student journalists an opportunity to travel to Hiroshima and Tokyo to participate in a reporting class.
Chen, an Economics and English double major, is studying abroad this semester at University College, London. The Wellesley News reached to Chen for an email interview about her start in journalism, the award and how she expects her experience in Japan will shape her reporting skills.
Chen initially became interested in journalism during her first year at Wellesley while writing for The Wellesley News.
“As I became more involved, I grew more appreciative of the role of journalism in informing communities and encouraging civic engagement,” Chen said. After writing for the News section — first as a staff writer and then as an editor — Chen described that she started to see journalism as a serious career option.
“I heard about the Roy W. Howard fellowship through The Wellesley News and it matches my current interests perfectly,” Chen explained. Roy W. Howard led the Scripps Howard Newspapers from 1922-1953 and was a pioneer in journalism in Asia through two World Wars. Much as Howard pioneered in Asian journalism throughout political transition, Chen said she hopes to report from Asia to chronicle the region’s recent economic growth.
“I think it’s the place to be for business reporting, which is what I want to do.”
When asked about her goals for the study trip, Chen mentioned that she hopes to explore journalism in Asia as a possible career and added that she also hoped to expand her network of college journalists.
“I’m also excited to meet other college and international reporters and geek out about the practice, but also learn from them,” she said. “Other than that, sightseeing and eating are my goals for the trip.”
Chen described the fellowship opportunity as part of a semester spent traveling.
“I reckon this year is going to be the year I travel like crazy since I’m already studying abroad in London and have plans to travel around Europe. Hopefully this won’t be the last time I get to travel a bunch,” Chen said. The Howard opportunity in particular includes travel to four cities in the Kansai region of Japan, including Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe.
“I was born in China, but moved to the States when I was two. I’ve never been back to China or visited Asia since then,” Chen said.
Even though Wellesley does not offer a journalism major, it’s still possible to build up a journalism portfolio as a Wellesley student.
“I think my clips from writing for the Wellesley News helped me get my first production internship last summer in Chicago, which helped me build a professional producer’s reel that I use as a work sample,” Chen said. She found her production internship, at Chicago Tonight, a daily news show hosted by PBS’ Chicago affiliate, through the Wellesley Center for Work and Service Global Engagement program.
Chen offered her own advice to other Wellesley students looking to explore a career in journalism.
“I think networking, publishing professional clips and having a mentor are the keys to the field,” Chen said. She also described how the Wellesley network can be used to make connections in the field: “Even if you don’t know journalists, perhaps someone in your current network does.” Chen will travel to Japan in May.