Juju Chang: ‘Horrific Events in Paris Turned Swiftly Into an All Hands on Deck Situation’

By Brian Flood 

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ABC News’ Juju Chang is the co-anchor of Nightline and reports regularly for Good Morning America and 20/20. Chang has filled a variety of roles for ABC News, working her way up from desk assistant to correspondent to anchor. Her upcoming Nightline report Brave Face, which looks at the most extensive face transplant ever attempted, airs on Monday’s Nightline.

“We’re devoting the whole show to a story that highlights how courageous and ingenious and ground-breaking the whole procedure proved to be,” Chang told TVNewser. “It is the culmination of months and months of reporting by a tireless team of producers and editors lead by producer Ben Newman and segment producer Ashley Louszko.”

TVNewser: You’ve worked in morning news and now late night TV. Which do you prefer and how do the different timeslots alter your lifestyle?

Chang: GMA is a thrill ride – but personally, I think I’m much better suited to the Nightline lifestyle. My lovely and talented co-anchors Byron Pitts, Dan Harris and I alternate on the five nights. It frees us up to travel for stories or have the occasional family dinners. Plus, our long-form format allows us to do deep dives on stories. It gives us time for context and nuance and a chance to let a narrative unfold.

TVNewser: How often do you find yourself at the studio until 2 a.m. because breaking news requires Nightline to go live?

Chang: We like to stay on top of major developments that happen after the evening news. Just this past Friday, the horrific events in Paris turned swiftly into an all hands on deck situation. And in order for us to be up to date on the West Coast, we all stayed until well past 3 a.m. … some of us napping on couches til dawn. It’s not the first time I’ve done it and it likely won’t be the last. We like to mix up the topics on Nightline, but our true North is always to provide context and comprehensive coverage when breaking news warrants.

TVNewser: Your husband, Neal Shapiro, runs New York’s PBS affiliate WNET. How does having a spouse who understands the industry help when it comes to making important career decisions?

Chang: He is deeply supportive of the demands of my work. But the longer we’re married (20 years this December), the more I wonder if it’s his keen understanding of our industry or if it has more to do with the fact that I married a ridiculously nice guy. I’m increasingly convinced it’s the latter. That said he also helps me keep perspective on the ups and downs and sideways nature of our business. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

TVNewser: WNET is in the same building as TVNewser. Why don’t you ever visit us?

Chang: That building is super confusing, I get lost trying to find my husband’s office…. I’d need a GPS device or breadcrumbs to find TVNewer’s office. You can visit me anytime at ABC.

TVNewser: You’re very active on Twitter. Who are your favorite people to follow?

Chang: I love following @HonestToddler. It cracks me up. I like stalking, I mean following my smart friends and colleagues on Twitter. I am convinced @WilliamsJon, ABC news’ foreign editor, doesn’t sleep. He is always on top of global events. And I like to follow @GioBenitez because has a knack for details and immediacy. I follow my friend Richard Haas at the Council on Foreign Relations. I follow cool people I’ve interviewed like Shonda Rhimes. I like to follow my colleague Meredith Frost who routinely puts crazy fascinating items on her feed. Of course I follow @Nightline religiously, because I think we offer a solid mix of breaking news and issues of import, but we blend it with moving and provocative and hilarious items with a sense of the absurd —all of which are central to the twitter conversation.

TVNewser: You refer to yourself as a “serial dieter” in your bio. What is the hardest food for you to resist?

Chang: Um. Levain chocolate chip cookies. So Sinful. And Magnolia Banana Pudding. Addictive. And Oh, jalapeño cheddar bagels. Wait, and salt and vinegar kettle chips. See my problem?