Amy Burton

February, 2023

Blog, Gracies Leadership Award

Phoebe Chen’s Experience at the 2022 Gracies Leadership Award

My name is Phoebe Chen, and I’m a senior student at Boston University studying journalism and will be joining Bloomberg News as a Content Producer soon in December. I’m all about storytelling — It’s why I read, why I write and why I love hearing people’s stories. It’s why I’m pursuing a career in journalism. I will stop talking about myself here since all I did was watch, listen, and pay attention to the outstanding women I met on a wonderful afternoon at Tribeca 360.

I was honored to be selected as one of the Google News Initiative fellows to attend this year’s Gracies Leadership Award. It was an amazing opportunity to attend the award as a student, which, I’m not going to lie, was a little intimidating at first. I mean, that was a reasonable feeling for a student sitting with a group of the most influential figures in the media industry, right? But as the award started, my attention shifted to the speakers, who offered life-changing speeches that stayed in my mind for the next few days. What they have achieved in their career and for the growth of the industry are something no words could hold, yet, they were so humble and were still settling for more.

In my opinion, the Asian perspective is immensely underrepresented on the global stage, and I have witnessed how news could make a difference. The advancement of news inclusiveness is one of the main drives of my passion for news production — But before changing the world, we have to make changes from the inside. Noted from the award, according to a study spanning 20 years, “across 114 countries, women comprise only 24% of the people we read about, see, or hear from on television, radio, and in the newspapers.” Despite the disadvantage, we women did not and would not step back but only become motivated — I was touched by all the winners and speakers for their courage, perseverance, and commitment towards inclusiveness in media. The role of women in media is gaining recognition for striving for media freedom, pluralism, independence, and safety. I can never express my gratitude for these great women who paved the way for our generation.

Taking this chance, I also want to touch on what I think will be the most significant innovation in news in the next 10 years. We all know that news is always timely, and it never stops changing. However, the way the news is being reported is also changing — apparently, it is a corresponding effect of the rise of streaming services and our dependence on the Internet. Not everyone watches TV anymore, but almost everyone consumes news on their laptop or cellphone. Thus, I consider digital journalism to be one of the most important tools moving forward for creating positive change in the world and establishing an informed global citizenry. I believe that all of us in the media industry — both students and working professionals — play leading roles in this process.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to attend the award and meet all the outstanding female figures in the media industry — it was a dream come true.

Phoebe Chen is a recipient of the 2022 Google News Initiative Student Fellowship. She is currently a student at Boston University, and we look forward to seeing how she continues to shape the world of media in the future.