Claudine Wong

I am so grateful to be working as a journalist in what has always been home to me.   I know that sounds a little cheesy but it's true. I was born in Oakland and raised in the Bay Area but I moved around a lot as a rookie reporter. It's how we earn our stripes. 

I met a lot of great and interesting people and that experience has been invaluable but I also know there is nothing like reporting on stories that affect your home, your family, your friends and your community.

I figured out that I wanted to be a reporter when I was at UCLA. I had been doing a bunch of internships and ended up going to Washington DC and interning at Nightline with Ted Koppel. What an incredible ride.  

I remember walking in on my first day only to be told that I would be the only intern because they had fired everyone else.  Yes we all worked for free but if you weren't contributing you were just taking up space.   I refused to just take up space.

  I spent those months researching the big stories of the day, pitching ideas that almost all got knocked down, and soaking in as much as I could.  I loved every minute and this news junkie never looked back.   While I was there, we covered the Oklahoma City Bombing, and even after I left they hired me to help with their OJ Simpson Trial Coverage.

But I didn't want to just work with great journalists I wanted to become one and so the journey continued.

I left Nightline and walked straight into KTVU as an intern where I ran scripts for Dennis Richmond and Elaine Corral. A year later I got my first gig as a working journalist in Klamath Falls, Oregon.  I lugged 70 pounds of gear around for 7 dollars and hour and I loved it. 

From there I moved to the Midwest and covered snowstorms and tornados. I was out of my comfort zone a lot and that taught me some invaluable lessons. I have met people who inspired me and touched my heart and I have met people who have made me so angry I could barely stand to get through the interview.

  Each and every perspective has made me grow as a journalist and I think they are all important. I don't know if you can tell yet but I'm pretty idealistic.

I believe strongly in the First Amendment and while we are not public servants I believe journalists provide a public service. I know viewers turn to us when it matters. Sometimes it's for great joys and celebrations like a World Series or three, and sometimes they turn to us in times of fear like in an earthquake or in storm or a riot.

Sometimes viewers turn to us because there are issues and people that need a voice and it's our job to give them one. I've always respected the fact that viewers have choice and we have to earn their trust.  The job comes down to people, and the community. 

Being a journalist in the Bay Area gives me a chance to see it in a whole new light.

I rode Muni as a kid to school and now get a chance to talk to Supervisors and the SFMTA about what will make it more reliable. I remember Loma Prieta and watching news coverage wondering for hours if my family was okay and now I have the chance to cover the changes that are still happening in its wake.

Standing on the new Bay Bridge with memories of that ground shaking is an unforgettable experience. And how cool is it to start a brand new newscast at the station I grew up watching and the one that helped shaped me when I was just an intern.

What an experience and privilege it has been to launch the new weekend morning show. Don't get me wrong, you gotta have a tough skin in this business.   I often to get criticized for being too serious (yes I take this profession pretty seriously and a lot of the stories give me no reason to smile).  But now I sometimes I get viewers telling me I laugh too much on the weekend (but we do have fun too.)  Sometimes you just can't win. But it's not about that.

I like to shake my world up as much as I can.

Professionally that means looking at issues through a bunch of different eyes. It means embracing all this new technology and all the different ways we can bring the news to you. I have twitter, facebook, periscope, instagram.

Let me know how many other things I am missing and I'll try them.

Personally mixing it up means never being afraid to try new things either which means doing crazy obstacle runs (I've done Tough Mudder more than once and have my eye on that Spartan Race).  It also means not being afraid to put yourself out there.

It's been a pretty incredible a journey so far but I feel pretty lucky.  I married a man I met in high school.  We have three unbelievably great kids and a pretty goofy and awesome dog and yes I get to work as a journalist in the home I have always loved.  Yes pretty cheesy but true.

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