Consumer News Reporter for Channel 6 Action News and Vice President of Broadcast for the Philadelphia Chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association Nydia Han spoke to students on March 27 about her “mediocre abilities,” her struggle post graduation and how her determination paid off. “There were many people who said along the way ‘You should quit now. You are never going to make it,'” said Han. These people included her first broadcast journalist teacher at Northwestern University and many potential employers.
One employer, after watching her tape for about 10 seconds, encouraged Han to stop her search now. Another claimed that she had too many wrinkles and was afraid of what she would look like in two years Han said.
Han, herself describes, her abilities as “maybe mediocre.” However, her own determination along with the support of her parents made her keep moving forward.
That same determination allowed Han to cover many incredible stories throughout her career including her most memorable, Hurricane Katrina.
During her time in Louisiana she, along with her crew, lived in an RV and slept on the dining room table.
“It was like nothing I have ever experienced before,” Han said.
When she went back six months later for follow-up coverage very little had changed.
Han spoke of the path that led her to the position she is in at ABC today. She said that she is happy with her job right now and has no aspirations to go to a national position, unless she could retain the same quality of life as she does now.
“Philadelphia feels like home,” she said.
Most of Han’s job positions were attained through contacts or networking events, which is why she strongly encourages students to get internships and meet as many people as possible.
Han got her current position from meeting someone in an elevator at a conference when she was not even looking for a new job.
Han realizes that to find a job in broadcast journalism a person must fit the look that employers have in mind.
“If I would leave ABC they would probably hire another Asian,” Han said.
Although Han likes being the consumer news reporter and says it is “news we can all relate to and understand,” she has filled many other roles in her career. In her first position in Idaho Han was a “one-man show.” She shot, wrote and edited all of her own pieces.
Idaho was a great learning place for Han and it was also the place that Han “realized the power of news,” while covering a flood 24 hours a day for four straight days.
Han said that her gypsy-like existence helped her become familiar with other locations.
“I think I know America better now.” Han said. “I can go anywhere in the country and have a friend.”
Han worked in Idaho, Oklahoma City, and Houston before settling in Philadelphia.
The Asian American Organization (AAO) hosted the event, which was its biggest this semester.
“We are very excited to have Nydia here,” Daisy Ling, Secretary of AAO Daisy Ling said.
For more information about AAO join their weekly meetings on Thursdays at 7:15 p.m. in 254 Sykes.