Cultural Connections

Musings about my experiences, art, and life in Mongolia and beyond.

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Location: Ulaanbaatar, Tuv aimag, Mongolia

Native Chicagoan currently teaching in Mongolia.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Katie Eat Your Heart Out!

In March, I responded to a newspaper ad for one of Mongolia's weekly english newspapers. "Read the news in english", the ad said. I was looking for a part time job and a new experience other than teaching english. I thought they meant editing and that I was interviewing for a part time gig editing the news for the UB Post. It turned out to be one of those "lost in translation" moments that actually worked in my favor in the long run. "Read the news in english on national TV?! Are you serious?" Yes, I've taught, given lectures and presentations in front of large groups of people, but TV was a whole new ballgame...much less journalism. Although I've had a number of friends in the field of journalism, I never expected to find myself doing this. "Can you do it?", the Chief Editor asked. "Yes, I think I can."

I have to say, I give Katie, Diane and all the news people out there a lot of credit. There's a lot going on behind the scenes that the viewer doesn't see. Sometimes it takes me nearly two hours to choose, edit/rewrite the short news stories that I read for a five minute segment. When I arrive at the studio, I have to meet my news director. Then they have to set up the computer, lighting, camera, sound and computer/recording equipment. During my reading, I have to pay attention to many things. For one, I have to control the computer that has the news script I have prepared. So I have to scroll down and read at the same time. I also need to be aware of the pace of my reading, tone of my voice, eye contact and posture. I usually try to practice at home, but I still get nervous at the studio. There's also a lot of activity going on all around me while I'm reading. I also have to be aware of any cues from my news director or the technician. After I read and record my segment, we have to edit it. This also means adding titles, photos or film footage on the computer. That's pretty cool to see and do.

I wish I had Katie or Diane's stylist and assistants too! It's a pain to try and come up with something "newsworthy" to wear in front of the camera. And doing my hair never works - it's always raining, windy or very dry here and no matter how many products I use, I can't do a darn thing with my hair.

The other interesting aspect of doing the news, is sometimes presenting difficult stories - stories about unfortunate happenings or things that you may or may not agree with. On the other hand, I've presented stories about things that friends have done or stories that will educate people about a topic and hopefully make a difference - that's a good thing.

The other unexpected thing that has come with doing the news, and that is a touch of celebrity. Many of my friends have called me or stopped me and said, "Hey! I saw you on TV!" My students especially. One of my young students came running up to me one Monday morning and said, "Julie-teacher, Julie-teacher! I saw you on TV!" "Oh really?", I said. "What was I doing on TV? What did I say?" To which he responded, "Oh I don't know....bla, bla, bla."

This summer, they started posting my newscast to an international news website. You can view it by following the link above. "That's the news for this week. Thanks for listening and have a great weekend."


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