Skip to main content

Catherine Ngai (MSJ11)

Energy Markets Reporter, Reuters News
Catherine Ngai

Why did you choose Medill?

I chose Medill because I had no idea what it meant to be a reporter, and I wanted to learn it at the best place and from some of the best people possible. I'm really glad I did. I met some amazing people in the process, classmates and professors who were relentless in making me think outside my box. I also chose the school because of the opportunities to report not only in the Chicago Newsroom, but also in D.C. and abroad in the Middle East. Those experiences shaped the way I learned to interact with others.

Why do you think Medill is unique?

Medill is unique because it offers a good mix between hands on experience and more classroom, textbook learning. It's a rigorous course that's meant to be fast paced while holding to extremely high standards. I also love the global aspects of the program, including the opportunity to report in other cities.

How has your Medill training helped you in your career so far? Are there skills or lessons you learned at Medill that you still use today?

I remember my first so-called Medill F. It was early in the first quarter, and we had to choose a famous person and write an obituary. I accidentally misspelled the person's last name during one of the mentions and immediately failed the entire assignment. That was devastating! But, I also learned to check all facts and names, even ones I thought I felt confident with. Working at a financial news wire, there's a tendency to move quickly, which can result in a lot of errors. I'm grateful that Medill drilled into me the importance of fact checking and getting things right the first time around.

What advice do you have for someone who might be looking to pursue a degree in journalism?

Journalism isn't for the faint of heart. It's a career that's tough, and the trajectory can be uncertain and unstable at times. But it's worth every moment. If your passion is to learn new things, read everything possible, ask questions and tell stories, this is it.