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Charli is one of the few who decided to make a bold move into the world of journalism. She was the former reporter at Asian Boss, a channel covering all kinds of conflicts, stories, bringing people’s voices together and bridging cultural gaps between Asia and the West.
We sat down with Yu Young Jin (Charli) and talked about her past as a Korean-Canadian who moved to Canada, and later worked in several Korean companies in the media industry. Other than that, she expressed her view on international women’s day and gender equality these days.
ASEANYouth: Can you tell a little bit more about yourself?
Charli: I’m currently a graduate journalism student at Northwestern University.
ASEANYouth: Tell us more about your childhood, and did your family have a journalism/media background?
Charli: I moved to the US when I was three years old and spent my childhood there. When I was nine, I moved to Canada. My father studies media, so my career interests sort of followed his. He’s been a great inspiration to me in pursuing my dreams.
ASEANYouth: Does journalism have been something that you always want to do?
Charli: Yes, I’ve always been interested in journalism. I loved to write as a kid and took a notebook and pen with me everywhere I went. I started writing for my high school paper, and naturally, that passion grew into what it is now. I love to write and learn about people. Journalism was the perfect way to combine my interests. I’m finding out new things about the world every day.
ASEANYouth: Back to your college life in UC Berkeley, as a Korean who pursue college in the US, how does that shape you into becoming who you are right now?
Charli: I loved my time at UC Berkeley. There were people from all walks of life with diverse backgrounds, and it made me realize that the world was so much larger than I had known. I think my time made me love learning about different cultures and industries, and I think it was a large stepping stone for my personal growth and maturity as a young adult.
ASEANYouth: Walk us through your first intern experience, Is there any moment that you remember until today?
Charli: I remember at my interview, my boss told me that he liked my creativity from my portfolio and resume. I had never thought of myself as creative, and now that I think about it, that interview gave me a lot of confidence to write or create stories in my own unique voice rather than trying to copy someone else.
ASEANYouth: How about your time in The Korea Times? How did it feel to be a part of one of the oldest newsletters in South Korea? What do you remember from your time in The Korea Times?
Charli: I interned at The Korea Times throughout my last year of college. I absolutely loved my experience there. It was the first time I felt like an official journalist, and to know that I was contributing to a larger community was so rewarding. I had a wonderful boss who gave me a lot of creative control over my stories and I consider her as one of my most respected mentors. The Korea Times was my first experience in a traditional newsroom and I had such a great time there, it never felt like work. I was always so excited to be there.
ASEANYouth: How’s working in Asian Boss? Tell us more about your current position and the work there.
Charli: I actually don’t work at Asian Boss anymore; I officially stopped working there in January to focus on my graduate school studies. But I worked as a writer and reporter for a year, and it was a great eye-opening experience. It was my first time working for a video-based media company, so I got to learn an entirely new set of skills. Everyone worked extremely hard, and each video was a team effort.
ASEANYouth: If you can turn back the time, what skills do you want to learn sooner? And why?
Charli: I would like to learn more about camera work. I know the basics, but am not confident yet to shoot a documentary by myself. I realized that learning to operate a camera is extremely useful in today’s media environment, and it would have been nice to know more about it.
ASEANYouth: Do you feel that the current society has a gender equality mindset?
Charli: I think that while there has been significant progress in identifying gender inequality in today’s society, there is still much work to be done. Unfortunately, change takes a long time, and I think we’re still transitioning to become more educated on this issue. I am hopeful, though, that if enough people share their experiences dealing with inequality or discrimination (not just relating to gender but also race, religion, sexual identity, etc.), then there will be enough momentum to stimulate progress.
ASEANYouth: Is there anything you want to say about International Women’s Day?
Charli: I am all about supporting women in their endeavors and hope that women all over the world will feel empowered on this day. There are so many incredible women doing outstanding work, and they all deserve to be recognized.
ASEANYouth: How do you maintain the motivation to continue your journalism work?
Charli: Like any career, journalism has its obstacles. But knowing that I can share people’s stories and use my voice to shed light on issues, I’m passionate about has kept me motivated. It’s an honor to have a platform and voice to spread awareness to a broad audience. Not everybody has that.
ASEANYouth: What is something that has always been your principal in creating high-quality content across your work?
Charli: People are affected and influenced by what they see on the news or in the media. I would never want to spread fake or unsupported facts and give people the wrong information. I think that this helps me take responsibility in making sure I do my research and produce high-quality content.
ASEANYouth: With these experiences, is there something you want to say to everyone who is currently pursuing a journalism career or chasing their dreams?
Charli: It takes a lot of work and a little bit of luck (for journalism and other career paths). But if you’re doing it for the right reasons, then you’ll find a way to make it work. Take every obstacle as an opportunity to grow or learn something new, and have the confidence in yourself to take risks and go for what you want.
Interview conducted by Juandi
Juandi is a content writer for ASEAN Youth Organization, where he publishes content related to ASEAN country’s relations and events. He was born in the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta, and has lived most of his life there. At 20 years old, he is currently studying at one of Indonesia’s top universities, Tarumanagara University, majoring in Business Accounting. He is currently working for one of the top esports startup companies in Singapore, IMPLS Entertainment.