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Karen Yang: Life on and off the air

Junior Karen Yang is well-known among students as the Northwood Television (NTV) Life host. At the 2014 Orange County Film Festival in early January, she won Best Anchor and received NTV’s award for Best Broadcast as producer of the show. The Howler sat down with her to discuss how NTV has impacted her.

Kaitlyn Xiong: When did you join NTV and why did you decide to join?

Karen Yang: I joined sophomore year and I applied to be an anchor at the end of freshman year when they were scouting. My high school goal was to do more public speaking-related activities, like MUN, so I wanted to apply for anything I could get my hands on. I honestly thought I would try it out just for the heck of it.

KX: What is the best part about being an anchor?

KY: It’s really funny when people say “Oh, look, it’s Karen from Life.” There are students who will randomly say something to me, and I think it’s a really sweet reminder that people are watching our show. Anchoring, like speaking, is something that I really like to do, and filming is also lot of fun—we get to go to a lot of random places.

KX: Is it hard to be an anchor memorizing stuff?

KY: Usually they would have a teleprompter, but in our Life case, we thought it would be fun to do a walking thing. I think it was sort of daunting in the beginning but I think it actually helps in terms of my tone. It’s not so formal and scripted; it sounds a bit more natural because I’m not memorizing something word for word. I just know what I have to say next and phrase it in my own way. I do have to spend a little extra time to memorize it but I think the product is better than what I would have gotten by reading off a teleprompter.

KX: What were some of the thoughts running through your head when you got the award for Best Anchor?

KY: It was really nice because everyone there was so supportive. Everyone knows each other in a super close way, so it’s like winning an award in front of all of your friends. In retrospect, it was super exciting but crazy, because it was the first award that I had won at that film festival.

KX: Are you interested in continuing to do broadcast or film production in college or beyond?

KY: I wasn’t before, but I definitely am now. I think that’s one example of how NTV totally changed my life and where I want to go in terms of college. I’ve definitely been thinking about it—not necessarily being a news anchor, but staying in the media side and doing the production business side of it.

KX: Do you feel that NTV helps prepare you for the future?

KY: Yeah, I feel that we’re very much a workplace environment. It’s so much student collaboration it doesn’t feel like a class at all. I think the experience of working with people is so profoundly helpful in terms of how to deal with people on a professional level and not just as a student. I always thought that it was the best experience I had in high school in terms of preparing me for a job or preparing me for the future. I would not have imagined myself here as a freshman. There’s no way I could ever have thought I would be here, capable of operating a camera. Even the technical side is just so amazing: how much stuff we get to learn and the equipment we’re given to use.

KX: What is the best part about NTV?

KY: The people. Honestly, the filmmaking and what we get to do is amazing, but the people. We spend so much time together. We do random projects like the 24-hour film festival and you’re just stuck with them so much. Especially this year, we have the crazy group of people who are all best friends. I think it’s a really good way to break out friend groups because it’s not academically stratified, its just everyone and it’s so great.

KX: What is something that people would be surprised to learn about NTV?

KY: I think people don’t realize how much stuff we do and how much freedom and independence we get as a class. It really breeds responsibility, and I think that’s really unique in a high school.