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[PERSONALITY] Cindy Hsu - NYC Emmy-Awarded Newscaster

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  • madchinaman
    Cindy Hsu - Sweetheart in the City http://www.jademagazine.com/21ae_hsu.html New Yorkers are notoriously hard to please. That s why they say that if you can
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 6, 2002
      Cindy Hsu - Sweetheart in the City

      New Yorkers are notoriously hard to please. That's why they say that
      if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. Especially in the
      field of broadcast journalism, where swimming with the sharks is a
      regular activity, much like riding the subway. But there's no need to
      turn into a shark in order to succeed. Cindy Hsu, news anchor at CBS
      Channel 2, is unofficially the nicest person in New York - and she is
      doing quite well.

      <http://www.jademagazine.com/images/21_cindy.jpg> Since joining CBS
      in 1993, Cindy has won two Emmys. She currently anchors the news
      three times a day during the week, at 12:30, 4:30, and 5:30.
      Miraculously, Cindy also excels at creating a balanced life as a
      whole, including donating her time and efforts as a volunteer to
      various causes, supporting the Asian-American community, and
      competing on the Women in Canoe team in international dragon boat
      races. "My parents brought me up with two strong messages: 'Don't be
      a quitter,' and 'Don't rush to find a husband. Be independent and
      make your own way.'" Cindy explains. "Well, I've taken all those
      lessons to heart. They've always supported the idea of having a
      strong career and always being there for each other."

      In a profession that tends to attract star personality types, Cindy's
      down-to-earth attitude makes her a "rare bird," according to her co-
      anchor at CBS, Michael Pomeranz. "She's just a wonderful, regular
      person who just happens to be in TV."

      The secret to Cindy's success as a reporter is her sincere interest
      in people, and in their stories. Fellow journalist Juri Tatsuuma, at
      News-12 in Westchester, says "What you see is what you get. A lot of
      times in TV, you see these great people with these dynamic
      personalities and million-dollar smiles, and the viewers think this
      person is their best friend because they watch them every night and
      they feel like they know you. I hate to say it, but more times than
      not, when you meet them in person, they're so different. But with
      Cindy -that smile, that warmth, that genuine nice-girl quality -
      she's real!"

      Cindy smiles a lot when talking about work. "The best parts of my job
      are learning something new every day, and the teamwork," Cindy says.
      Her role on the team is the cheerleader of the newsroom. And the
      newsroom, to her, is like a family -- the ultimate compliment.

      When asked about the Hsu family, she says, "We have a blast being
      together and we're all very proud of each other...I'd use these words
      to describe my family: loving, supportive, strong, dynamic, athletic,
      adventurous, responsible and always there for each other."

      The Hsus were a Coast Guard family, so they moved every two or three
      years. Cindy was born in Honolulu and lived in nearly a dozen more
      places as a child. Everyone stuck together and enjoyed each other's
      company. Although her younger brother David recently took over the
      combat dive school in Key West, Florida, he remembers a time when he
      used to rely on his sister for protection from the big kids. "In Oxon
      Hill, Maryland, we lived in a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood
      where there were not a lot of Asians. And I was a funny-looking kid --
      I was tiny! Cindy was always standing up for me."

      As a teenager, Cindy thought about a career as an Army pilot, a
      doctor, and a fashion designer. But thanks to Connie Chung, she
      decided that she wanted to join the news media. "Seeing Connie's face
      on TV let me know that Asians were in the game. It gave me hope that
      broadcast journalism was a realistic option for me."

      Cindy majored in communication studies at Virginia Tech, where she
      interned at a local television station. After she graduated in 1988,
      Cindy took a job in communications for the state Alcoholic Beverage
      Control Board. And on the weekends, she interned, unpaid, as an
      associate producer at WTVR-TV in Richmond. She sent out tapes of her
      on-air performances to stations around the country.

      Cindy's persistence paid off, and she secured a job at WTOV-TV in
      Steubenville, Ohio. She took a 50% pay cut to move to her first job
      in journalism, but she knew that it would be worth it in the long
      run. After two years in Ohio, Cindy moved on to WFRV-TV in Green Bay,
      Wisconsin. In 1993, an agent in New York sought her out and she came
      to New York. She credits mentors such as Carol Martin and Pat Battle
      for helping her to grow and to learn the business.

      Though Cindy grew up in an assortment of small towns and suburbs,
      she's adapted extremely well to life in the big city. "Since New York
      is so huge, it's actually more fun being a little fish in a big
      pond." She enjoys the relative anonymity because there's "more
      freedom to do whatever you want, since fewer people stop you in the
      street. In a small town, news anchors are a big deal. In New York
      City, you've got Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones walking
      down the same street. So being on TV is nothing."

      She loves watching foreign films and seeking out hole-in-the-wall
      restaurants. Some of her favorite places to eat are Saigon Grill and
      Empire Szechuan. Another one of her favorite things about New York is
      the variety of cultural influences on everyday life. "The diversity
      here is amazing. Not too many places where you can sit on the subway
      and be surrounded by people reading newspapers in all different
      languages. I love it!"

      Living in such a multicultural environment helps Cindy to focus on
      her Asian heritage. Like so many other first-generation Asian-
      Americans, Cindy actively searches for that crucial balance between
      her American identity and Asian background. "Well, I think I avoided
      my Asian heritage until I came to New York. I'm finally in a place
      where there is a strong Asian community, and we celebrate our
      different cultures. So it's almost like coming home after years of
      feeling like an outsider," she says candidly, "When you're a kid, all
      you want to do is fit in, and that's a tough thing when you're the
      only Asian family around and you have to move all the time to new
      neighborhoods where no one looks like you. I'm now very involved in
      the Asian community, and I'm learning a lot of things about our
      culture that I missed as a child." Her recommendations to Asian
      Americans: 1) support and promote each other, and 2) instill cultural

      <http://www.jademagazine.com/images/21_hsu2.gif> Cindy has been
      involved in the Asian-American community by donating her time in
      several ways. Dr. Alex Tsui, who started APEX (Asian Professional
      Extension), a mentoring program for urban Asian-American youth in New
      York, met Cindy four years ago when APEX asked her to emcee for a
      benefit. "When she found out about APEX, she volunteered to be a
      mentor. She turned out to be really good. She developed a close bond
      wih a student who's now at SUNY Binghampton. They'd bake cookies and
      leave me prank calls on my machine," he recalls, "She taught her
      student how to be an Asian American woman and stand on her own two

      Cindy helps people whenever she can. Juri Tatsuuma recalls how Cindy
      encouraged her when she was starting out as a journalist in 1995.
      There was a national convention for AAJA (Asian American Journalists
      Association) in Hawaii. During the CBS mentor breakfast, Juri
      submitted a tape of herself, made by her on-air coach, to be
      critiqued by news directors, agents, and vice presidents. "I got
      slammed! I was ripped apart, humiliated! Looking back, I can laugh.
      But at the time, I ran to the bathroom and cried. And I don't think
      Cindy was even sitting at my table. But afterwards, she kept saying
      to me: you had a lot of guts to even submit your tape." Juri
      continues, "Because she's in TV, she could come across as
      intimidating. But if she's at a party of VIPs, she'll hone in on the
      person who wants to get into TV, the intern or the waitress."

      Cindy is truly a team player, not just on land but on water. During
      the summer, rain or shine, Cindy and the team Women in Canoe are out
      rowing, either at practices in the local marina, or in regattas all
      over the world.

      They're busy year-round, too. In the off-season, the team stays busy
      at poolside practices and strength-training sessions; and in April,
      there's paddling camp in Florida. "I love the sport because it's all
      about the whole team. One person can't win or lose it for you... we
      have to do it together," says Cindy, "I don't know if the cultural
      element of dragon boating got me started, but I appreciate its
      history. Only three of my teammates are not Asian, which is rather
      unique. When we go to regattas, almost all the other teams are

      During dim sum in Queens, after practice, the coach, Elaine,
      says, "CBS did a story on us when we were training for the last
      Worlds. Cindy was on the show. And then we had practice. So right
      when the show was over, she took off her makeup, ran out of the
      studio, got on the train. She's committed!"

      What's next for Cindy? Stay tuned. While Cindy is focused on enjoying
      the present, Juri says, "She has so many better things down the pike
      that she hasn't even fulfilled...there are bigger and better things
      for her that are yet to come. She has staying power. she deserves all
      the success she has...and more!"
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