My first shot – the “shot” heard around the world

When ninth grade started, my parents sat me down for “that talk.” They said, “Douglas, in high school, you may have to make intelligent choices about alcohol.”


I do not think they ever considered I might have to duck to avoid an incoming Molotov cocktail. Neither did I.


In the summer of 2019, millions of Hong Kongers took to the street to protest a proposed extradition law. Media organizations from all over the world fixed their attention onto the situation. 


Despite the exciting nature of the summer, I was relegated as an intern reporter at The China Post to translate articles for their travel magazine. Before the internship, I had told the editor-in-chief that I was keen on covering politics Yet, in a sensitive election year, they refused to grant me my request. 


Things changed one evening when my mom told me that there was going to be a protest in Taiwan in support of the Hong Kong movement. Immediately, I contacted the editor-in-chief to see if I could cover the protest. He told me they were unaware of this protest and did not plan on covering the event. To my surprise, he said he would take me to the protest and teach me how to conduct interviews. 


Standing behind microphones from Reuters and Taiwan’s TV networks, I hung on to my editor’s business card as the only “document” that proved I was a member of the press. I elbowed my way through a crowd of reporters to interview prominent Taiwan political activists such as Sunflower Movement leader Lin Fei-fan and Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee who had been detained by Chinese authorities. 


Amidst the frenzy to interview these political celebrities, I met Dickson, a Hong Kong student who had just gotten off a plane from Hong Kong to join the student protests. Dickson added me to the telegram chats Hong Kong protestors were using live in Hong Kong. 


Logging in under the pseudonym of Lonzo Ball, my phone was on fire, with texts and images showing that the first rubber bullet had been fired in the protest. I quickly became the most important person in the office with all the sources even though I was just an intern. The editor-in-chief of the news agency and several high-ranking members came to me for a detailed play-by-play of what was happening. 


Although I have never taken a journalism class at TAS, I realized that the exhilarating and fast paced nature of journalism is something I enjoy. The fact is, in journalism, no day is the same day.


My goal in attending journalism school is unlike that for many. Most of my future classmates are interested in moving directly into broadcast or print, but for me, my goal is to explore and take advantage of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University’s strong curriculum to give myself the tools I need to become a lawyer.  I hope to cultivate my writing abilities to develop a compelling narrative, not only in the articles I write, but also the legal narratives I will develop in the future. 


My goal from day one has been to seek justice by getting to the bottom of each mystery I encounter. Choosing journalism is precisely that stepping stone I need to fight back against injustice in our world and to inspire social change.  


With this in mind, I hope I will never have to write an article about you — yes, you.