Reporter Across Borders: Journalism Student Wins Reporting Trip to Japan

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As a junior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU, Olivia Richard, 21, already has an impressive reporting resume.  

“I’ve been able to report on the Rio Olympics,” Richard says. “I’ve done the Special Olympics World Games. I’m currently working on a lot of investigative stories.”

She also just won a reporting trip to Japan through the Scripps Howard Foundation’s Roy W. Howard National Collegiate Reporting Competition. Richard left on May 11 for the all-expenses-paid nine-day trip. She’s one of nine journalism students from across the country given this opportunity.

“It’s a competition based on a body of work that you submit,” Richard says. “I submitted a series of radio stories, a couple of video packages and a print story.”

After that came the interview process.  

“It’s a mixture of a study trip and a reporting trip. We’re going to be in Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo,” Richard adds. “We’re going to different media outlets and news agencies to see how the media industry works in Japan.”

Print, television and radio students are embarking on the trip. Richard is in the radio broadcast category.

While the students are in Japan, they’re expected to produce one story. “Personally, I’m hoping to do more than one story while I’m there because this is such an incredible opportunity,” she says.

Richard has come a long way in a short period of time. “I’ve had an amazing experience with journalism, especially for somebody who came into college with no journalism experience… I actually almost switched majors.”

Why? Richard says her peers had so much more experience and she didn’t know if she could compete.

In high school, Richard was interested in journalism, but it didn’t work with her schedule to take classes in the field. She picked ASU since it’s a big university, figuring if she ended up not liking journalism, she could find something else to major in.  

“I really wanted to immerse myself in the journalism opportunities,” Richard says. “That way I could figure out really quickly if it was something I liked.”

“So I volunteered at Cronkite News… I volunteered operating cameras there and I worked at the State Press and I hung out in as many newsrooms that people wouldn’t kick me out of,” she says with a laugh. ”And I just fell in love with it.”

Richard also interned at Arizona PBS, National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ, and KNBC-TV in Los Angeles.

She grew up in Los Angeles and is an only child raised by a single mother.

Her goal after college is to become an international reporter in Europe or Egypt. Richard hopes the trip to Japan will give her a boost in finding a job overseas.  

“You don’t get a lot of opportunities to go abroad and build a resume that shows you have that international experience,” Richard says. “And without that, it’s really hard to get a job as an international reporter.

“So this was an incredibly exciting opportunity for me because not only do I get to go to another country and experience their culture and their customs, but I also get the opportunity to report and do something that’s going to potentially help me get a job I really want. I’ve always been interested in Japanese culture and so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Richard has grown to love journalism because she enjoys meeting “incredible people and learning about so many different cultures.”

“I feel really, really blessed to have this opportunity,” Richard says. “I know there were a number of incredible candidates. To just be one of those students who have an opportunity to go, I just feel really grateful.”

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