A woman who enlivens the morning in Chicago
A woman who enlivens the morning in Chicago
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  • 승인 2007.12.03 00:00
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▲ Ellee Pai Hong at studio 5, where she provides news to Chicago viewers.

             “Good morning. Welcome to Studio 5. I’m Ellee Pai Hong.” A Korean-American woman awakens and greets the viewers in Chicago. Ellee Pai Hong (’92, English Literature) is an anchor of NBC5 Today on weekends, providing not only brief synopsis of what happened around the world overnight, but also a little bit of humor to enliven people’s morning and make them smile.

             Hong found her interest in journalism back in university, while working as a reporter for the Ewha Voice. “I loved journalism, meeting people and having different experiences,” says Hong. Through a senior who was working at Mnet at that time, Hong had a chance to work as a freelancer for two days and this is when she experienced the “taste” of TV journalism. “I was enthused by different elements like video and sound being incorporated to make a story come alive,” she said. Hong decided to study further and attended graduate school at Northwestern University.

             Hong spent her childhood in America, but understanding American culture and having an American way of thinking was still something she had to work for. “I tried to embrace the American culture, so while I was in graduate school, I made sure that I made a lot of American friends,” she said. Since TV journalism requires both English and broadcasting skills, Hong listened to radio and network news all the time to see how journalists would say or present things.

             Since she is now in charge of the morning news, her day starts at 4:00 a.m. But starting her day earlier than others does not bother her. “It is always difficult to get out of the bed in the morning, but I remind myself that the best part of the day is just ahead,” says Hong.

             During the weekdays, she emcees at various community events, including some for the Korean-American community. “I feel great responsibility to be a part of the Korean-American community. I would like to share the difficulties that I had while growing up in America and it is a great pleasure for me to see my experiences or role inspiring Korean-American children,” says Hong.

             Currently, she is only working as an anchor, but she used to work as a reporter as well. Having experienced both jobs, Hong says they each have their own merits. “Reporting allows you to be on the ground level and meet people that you report on. You meet people in all walks of life that you normally would not see. It definitely widens your horizon as a person and your scope on the world,” said Hong. Anchoring, she says, makes her to appear in everybody’s home and have personal connection with them. She says, “One guy who used to stop by at our outdoor studio handed me a box full of newspapers from all over the world, published on the day my daughter was born, when I came back from my maternity leave. I also received knit sweaters from a lot of people. This is what I love about being an anchor: having interaction with the viewers.”

             Despite Hong’s enthusiasm toward the job, her current goal is fulfilling the role of a mother. In fact, she shifted from the weekday anchor position to weekends to spend more time with her daughter. She says, “My husband used to ask me for fun, ‘Which would you choose, family or professional success?’ and I would say, ‘You can always have both.’” For Hong, living a life as a mother and a working woman is a matter of give and take. “You might not find a perfect solution all the time, but you can still keep a balance of both,” says Hong.

             Although she is 10,000 kilometers away with a 15 hour time difference, her passion toward her work can still be felt on the other side of the phone. Her success lies in believing one of the principles that her parents taught her when she was young. “My parents would always tell me ‘You can be whatever you want, a taxi driver, a lawyer or a doctor. But be the best in that field.’” For Ewha students, Hong also shares her own principle that she has learned throughout her life. “Find and do something that you love. Don’t worry about money or honor because they will naturally follow you.”

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