You might recognize CCTV News Anchor Neela Eyunni from Asia Today or News Update, the two live shows that she hosts for the network. The American journalist began her Beijing journey in 2006 as a university student studying abroad. After writing for print publications in Colorado and moving back to Beijing, Eyunni eventually landed a position with CCTV as the first foreign reporter on their reporting team. Recently, students from the British School of Beijing, Sanlitun flipped the script as they became the ones to ask the questions and Eyunni sat in the hot seat.
Hannah Thurbon, 10, Australia
Are you ever nervous about interviewing someone?
I get nervous before I interview people all the time, but I don’t think of it as a bad thing anymore. Now I think of it in terms of “I’m nervous because I’m excited.”
Sarina Soleimani, 11, Iran
What does being a journalist mean to you?
It means learning what’s going on around the world and being able to share that information with others. I want to tell meaningful stories and grab the audience’s attention.
Quinn McKissack, 10, Australia
How did it feel to be the first foreign reporter on the CCTV reporting team?
It was nerve-wracking at the beginning. I had to learn a new editing system, how to communicate with the cameraman, and do interviews in Chinese. It was like jumping into the deep end [of the pool]– challenging but very rewarding.
Chelsey Dong, 10, Australia
If you could interview anyone, who would it be and why?
Hillary Clinton would be a good person to talk to, because I’m doing a lot of political news right now and my focus is on international relations.
William Flanders, 10, US
What is your favorite part about being a reporter?
Becoming a temporary expert. My job forces me to learn about things that are really interesting. You really need to understand what’s going on in order to ask good questions and present the news in an intelligent way.
Lucas Taylor, 10, US
What job did you want when you were small?
I wanted to be a doctor but I took a broadcast journalism class in college and changed my mind. My teacher wasn’t actually in the classroom. He was on a live feed from Washington DC. Everyone had microphones and we would buzz in to ask questions. The first three classes, I was so nervous I couldn’t even ask a question. When I finally did, it felt really good and that started my interest to go into broadcast journalism.
Adam Portch, 10, UK
Where do most people get their news from these days?
Most people get their news online, whether it’s websites or social media. That’s really important as a journalist today because news networks and companies want someone who can do it all. For past jobs, I’ve had to write for the blog and the newspaper, and take my own pictures for the website. It’s really important to understand and be able to work in those mediums.
Hadijia Shimbo, 11, Tanzania
Why did you become a journalist?
It started with a love of writing and developed from there. When I first completed an article, I felt really fulfilled and great about it. Also, I’m a really curious person and that’s key for a journalist. If you see something, you have to want to know more and tell the story.
Sandra Arika, 10, Kenya
Have you had embarrassing moments on air?
I make mistakes all the time. One of the first times I was on camera, I messed up the order of the stories so the video and what I was saying was off. They can also be little mistakes, like mispronouncing a word. But I don’t think people focus on your mistakes. You just have to let it go and remember people aren’t watching a robot.
Isaac Scrimgeour, 10, Australia
What was your most interesting interview?
My day-to-day interviews with correspondents. The other day, I was talking to our correspondent in Ukraine and, as I’m asking her if the fighting is over, there was a big explosion. It’s those moments when you really get a sense of what exactly is happening at that place, at that time.
This article originally appeared on p40-41 in the October 2014 issue of beijingkids. To view it online for free, click here. To find out how you can obtain your own copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos by Dave PiXSTUDIO