On Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007, Tom Plate and James F. Paradise discussed their journalistic careers covering Asia as part of the UCLA Asia Institute's quarterly series, Careers in Asia. The forum provides students and faculty an opportunity to hear visiting scholars and professionals associated with UCLA discuss their careers and experiences working in, with, and on Asia.
Plate is a syndicated columnist and director of the UCLA Media Center. Paradise is a UCLA political science doctoral candidate, contributing writer to AsiaMedia and a former reporter for United Press International and Dow Jones Newswires in Tokyo.
Speaking to a room full of UCLA students interested in careers in journalism, particularly in Asia, both remarked it was an opportune time to report about the region. Plate said that while geopolitical dynamics continue to shift, the 21st century would likely be Asia's century.
Paradise asserted that the U.S.-China relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world, and that reporters can help keep the U.S.-China relationship "on even keel" in two ways: putting issues in perspective and looking at issues from China's perspective. He said reporters missed the bigger issue of global product safety in its stories of tainted China exports, and that they must take China's point-of-view in order to understand its actions, without necessarily agreeing with its policies.
Plate advised students to invest in themselves and polish their foreign-language abilities. A graduate of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, he also encouraged students to take advantage of quality education and to continue learning in order to understand complex issues, ask smart questions, and explain what's happening to the public.
"If you want a to get a sense of what's going on now, you need journalism," said Plate. "And for that, we need bright, committed people like you guys. All I can say is it is not a life that's probably going to make you wealthy. It's not a life that I... know is going to make you happy. But if you get it right and do it well, you'll never be bored."
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