America’s first Hmong male TV anchor, Chenue Her zoomed into the Communication Department’s Media Business class on Wednesday morning to talk about his career. He graduated nearly ten years ago with a Media Production degree and worked at TV stations in Oregon, Virginia, and Atlanta. Recently, he made history as the first Hmong TV anchor for the Good Morning Iowa program on the ABC affiliate at KOI-TV in Des Moines on Monday October 4, 2021.
Chenue says he goes to be at 6pm and then gets up at 2am so that he can be at work by 3am. He and his morning show team then goes through all the news and determine which stories to cover for the day.
He told the class that it is very important to be involved in your community and work hard to let your light shine before others. Chenue says, “Your actions will speak more than words initially. Seek to treat people fairly with respect and empathy. You have to do your research so that you understand the many varied voices in your community.”
He added that as a local journalist you are a member of the same community as your viewers and if only care about yourself, the audience will pick up on that. He also says with such polarized and quick to judge world, you have to enter story-telling with an increased sense of fairness. When he gets complaints from both sides he feels like he must be doing something right!
Chenue says it’s vital to stay curious and be quick to listen to others. He believes you can always learn something, even if you don’t share their beliefs, values or, as Chenue discovered early in his career, other media industry skills. He’s talking about the stuff, you think you don’t really need to know. He says that is a huge naive mistake.
Chenue recalled his first days at UNWSP not really being that interested in learning how to shoot or edit film for some of his classes. After all, he was going to be a TV journalist and he would have a cameraman and editor do all that kind of work. However, he still did the all required assignments.
Then came his first job at KEZI-TV in Eugene, Oregon. He was immediately tossed out into the field to cover stories by himself with a camera and audio equipment. No cameraman. No editor. Just Chenue. That’s when he was really glad he knew how to write, shoot, edit and produce his own news stories. It’s then he realized you can always learn something even when you don’t feel like it. He says that his time at Northwestern prepared him and put him way ahead of some of his other peers because he knew how to do all the media basics really well.
The class intended to take picture with him but he had to leave class to do a cutaway news break for ABC’s Good Morning America.