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2008.041.003 Oral History Interview with Ti-Hua Chang

Ti-Hua Chang is a prominent television journalist based in New York City. He has been awarded the Peabody, Edward R. Murrow, and numerous Emmy awards for his investigative journalism. Chang is especially proud of discovering the four witnesses to the 1963 murder of Medgar Evers, which led to the re-opening of that famous case. Chang’s father was a renowned journalist who covered various significant events, including the Hiroshima bombing. Chang decided to follow his father into the journalism profession, despite his father’s advice to become a doctor. However, it was difficult for Chang to land a job in television. His friend, Al Itilson, pointed out to him that his Asian identity was probably hindering his job opportunities. As a result, Chang decided to change his name to increase his chances of being hired. Chang eventually got his first job in Mississippi, where he was able to embrace his full name and identity. He understood the significant impact using his full name has on underrepresented communities. He believes that a journalist’s role is to hold to account the government and give a voice to the people. In January 2009, Chang reported a story on Asian poverty,which highlighted the economic struggles of Asian Americans, particularly immigrants. Chang concludes by emphasizing the importance of journalism for democracy and the need for diverse voices to accurately portray society. He believes that fewer journalists would be bad for democracy and Asian Americans because, to cover the Asian American story, you would need Asian Americans.