We often hear reports on immigration that focus on policy or events happening at the physical boundary between two countries. But immigration stories extend far beyond the border. NPR reporter Hansi Lo Wang followed one of these stories to Moore, Okla. One year ago he was sent to report on the massive tornado that devastated the city and how the community that emerged in its wake is rebuilding around its changing demographic makeup.
Wang is one of fifteen journalists selected this year for the Institute for Justice and Journalism's "Immigration in the Heartland" reporting fellowship program, which provides training and support for journalists reporting on the distinct challenges facing immigrants and their families. He traveled to Oklahoma earlier this month for the IJJ conference training and to report his piece, which is airing today on Morning Edition.
We caught up with Wang to get the scoop on how he got his start in public radio, and what you'll find him doing when he's not reporting on race, culture, and ethnicity for Code Switch. Enjoy!
My name... Hansi Lo Wang.
Public radio employee since... August 2010, when I was a Kroc Fellow.
Public radio listener since... 2005. My parents hadn't heard of NPR until I started working here, so I was not a backseat listener. I discovered public radio in college, while working on a student-run program that aspired to be an All Things Considered about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
My job is... reporter for NPR's Code Switch, our reporting team on race, ethnicity and culture. I cover a little bit of everything about immigrant communities and demographics — plus the occasional breaking news story, like last year's tornado in Moore, Okla., and the recent West Virginia chemical spill.
When I tell people I work for NPR, they often say... 'I love NPR!' Or I often get a blank stare, which I welcome. It means I have an opportunity to help convert a potential new listener/reader.
When I found I received the IJJ immigration Reporting Fellowship, the first thing I did was... email my editor Luis Clemens. I wouldn't have applied without his encouragement.
I use social media to... keep tabs on breaking news and connect with listeners/readers.
What makes radio a unique medium is... that it allows the story to be front and center. There's nothing quite like the intimacy of the human voice.
I wanted to be... (at first) a singer, (then) an animator, and (later) Peter Jennings ...when I grew up.
If I could share a coffee with anyone, it would be... one of my great-great-great-grandparents.
Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me that... I look younger than I am. I get that all the time.
I can't live without... a good movie once in a while.
On Sunday morning, you'll find me... sleeping in!
Introduction written by Joanna Pawlowska and Caitlin Sanders.