The Women of Business News: Q&A With Emily Chang

By A.J. Katz 

TVNewser concludes our Women of Business News series, part of Adweek’s annual Women’s Issue, by chatting with Bloomberg anchor Emily Chang. Chang wears multiple hats for Bloomberg. She anchors Bloomberg West, the network’s weekday technology program airing at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT and broadcast from the San Francisco studio. When she’s not making guest cameos on HBO’s Silicon Valley, Chang also anchors Bloomberg’s interview series, Studio 1.0. We spoke with the Hawaii native and Harvard grad:

TVNewser: Thanks for taking the time, Emily. Talk to us about your career path.

Chang: In college, I got an internship at my local station in Honolulu one summer, and I just fell in love with broadcast news, reporting and storytelling. After college, I started out at NBC and I worked behind the scenes at Today and Dateline. I got my first on-air job in Birmingham, Alabama! I was covering house fires, public schools, homicides and football. It was awesome. I had never lived in the Deep South before and I got to meet such amazing people. The newsroom was filled with amazing, young, hungry people. Then, I went back to Hawaii and I reported there for a while. Later, I went to San Diego, and then London where I reported for CNN. In 2008, CNN asked if I wanted to move to China to cover the Olympics. I moved to Beijing and it was an incredible ride. It was the debut of China on the world stage, and I got to travel across the country. During my time in China, Bloomberg got in touch and asked if I wanted to help launch a show in San Francisco, covering technology and Silicon Valley. At the time, it would have been the only daily news show covering tech. I didn’t really know a lot about tech to be honest, and it was a steep learning curve but I managed to pick it up fast. The experience has been incredible. I get to talk to some of the most interesting people in the world, people who are changing the world or trying to change it.

TVNewser: You’ve interviewed many well-known personalities… Mark Zuckerberg, Bob Iger, Malcolm Gladwell, the list goes on. Who is the most interesting person you’ve interviewed during your time at Bloomberg?

Chang: It’s almost impossible to answer that question because I have had the privilege of speaking with so many people who are doing really cool things. Last year, I got to back to Beijing and speak with Jack Ma (founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group), and that was pretty incredible. Mark Zuckerberg has definitely been a highlight. Sheryl Sandberg was a really important interview for me because I got to talk to her about the work/life balance that we are all grappling with.

TVNewser: Do you have a dream interview?

Emily Chang HeadshotChang: Larry Page (co-founder of Google / CEO of Alphabet Inc.). He hasn’t done interviews for a very long time. For a guy who changed the name of his company to “Alphabet,” buying robots, making really bold bets, investing in self-driving cars and bio-tech. I would LOVE to get into the mind of Larry Page and to find out where all of this is going.

TVNewser: What are some of your hobbies outside of work?

Chang: I wish I had time for hobbies! When I do have free time, I spend it with my kids at the playground, building legos and rocket ships out of toilet paper rolls. That is the most excitement I have in my life right now.

TVNewser: OK, well how about a favorite TV show then? Everyone has a favorite TV show, right?

Chang: Well, I’m going to be completely honest here. Ready for it? My “secret” favorite TV show is The Bachelor. I love The Bachelor and I watch it with my girlfriends. It’s something that we have a built a bit of a community around. I get to see my friends and we gossip about the show. I have to say that I love Silicon Valley too. The first episode of Season 3 was completely hilarious. I got to meet the director, the producers and the cast who are all so funny. They’re doing a really good job, and the actual Silicon Valley has embraced them. I think it’s quite a feat that they have managed to do satire on Silicon Valley and not offend everyone.

TVNewser: Who are some of your mentors?

Chang: Sheryl Sandberg had a big impact on me. When I was pregnant with my first child, I started watching her TED talks and speeches that she had given. It was inspirational for me because I was approaching this big moment in my life and wondering how I was going to still be good at my job and be a good mom too. I emailed her cold and said ‘I just wanted to thank you for putting yourself out there on these issues. I’m pregnant and I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to do it all. Your example has been very inspiring.’ She wrote right back. She said, “Congratulations, is this your first? ‘ She gave me her cell phone number and told me to call her anytime I wanted to talk. I ended up calling her and we had a great conversation where I got to ask her about being a working mom. It was amazing!

In terms of news, I’ve always admired Katie Couric. She is who I grew up watching. She seems like the girl next door and I like how human she is in her interviews. She has a genuine curiosity and you can tell that she is really interested. That’s something that I have always aspired to.

TVNewser: Do you have any advice for young, female reporters who are looking to take that next step? 

Chang: If you want to do this job, you have to REALLY want it because it’s hard. It’s a long road to get here. I moved all over the world, but it’s worth it. I love what I do. I love getting to talk with these people and I feel like I’m learning something everyday. You also have to be a really good listener, which I think is an underestimated skill. When you’re in the middle of an interview, it’s so easy to stop listening and think about the next question you’re going to ask. You can miss that golden moment which might take you in a different direction or a direction you didn’t expect. It’s not easy, but I truly that think being a good listener is an important part of being a good journalist.

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