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Journalism Professor Alex Tizon

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Oregon chapter.

This week I interviewed Alex Tizon, a journalism professor at the UO. On top of being an enthusiastic and inspiring professor, he is currently writing a book to be published at the end of this year, titled “Big Little Man: The Asian Male at the Dawn of the Asian Century.” Tizon has written for The Los Angeles Times, The Seattle Times, and helped contribute to a story on male Asian mail-order brides for CBS’ 60 Minutes. In addition, he has traveled to Indonesia, Singapore, China, and the Arctic Ocean. Pretty accomplished, right?

During my interview with Tizon, I discovered some pretty interesting aspects of being a journalist, and which fancy treat he gives his dog once a week.

HC: How long have you been a journalist?
AT: Since the mid 80s when I started as an intern. The last story I wrote was for the LA Times in 2008.

HC: What is your specialty?
AT: If I had to have a speciality, it would be Asia. That’s what I know.

HC: What is your favorite part of being a journalist?
AT: There are too many parts to like! My favorite part is being able to go out to parts of the world I wouldn’t be able to see on my own. I got to hang out with guys in gangs I would never hang out with on my own. It has given me a way to see the world. It’s like getting paid to play, at its best.

(Photo: Tizon in the Arctic.)

HC: Any struggles?
AT: The hardest thing was to chart my paths so that I could write about what I cared about. When you first start off, you end up doing what your editor wants you to do. The challenge was in trying to carve out a position to enable me to write what I wanted to. I prefer issues related to race, immigration and ethnic groups, anything related to North America or the world of animals.. Asia!

HC: Let’s talk about favorites. What is your favorite music?
AT: That’s really hard. Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, Neil Young
HC: Favorite food?
AT: Japanese – I love it. I love Italian, I also like meat. I’m a carnivore. I know it’s not “fashionable.” Once a week I grill a NY steak for myself and my dog. It’s a treat. His is usually a $13 steak, but when it’s done, it’s a $30 steak you would buy in a restaurant.
HC: Favorite publication?
AT: The New Yorker or The Atlantic Monthly.

HC: What is something most people would be surprised to learn about you?
AT: How much bad television I watch. I watch The Office. It’s not bad, just juvenile. I watch MMA and boxing, wrestling…

(Photo: Tizon in Masaba,Philipines.)

HC: Who inspires you?
AT:  Most of the people who have inspired me are dead. The Gladiator from the movie Gladiator inspires me. I think there’s a primal part in all of us that loves the idea of being able to vanquish our opponents. The woman who runs PETA, Ingrid Newkirk. I’m a total contradiction – I eat meat, but I love animals. Obama, Tolstoy, Rilke, Jane Goodall.

HC: If you weren’t doing journalism, what would you do?
AT: Anthropology. I love the idea of being able to solve crimes and bring justice. A lawyer… something in social justice.

Serena Piper will always be a Southern belle at heart, but for now she is a Senior Magazine Journalism student at the University of Oregon. She is an avid news reader and watcher, loves to bake yummy desserts and watch Sex and the City reruns, has big travel plans for after graduation and would eventually like to work for National Geographic. She wouldn't mind one bit if her life echoed Elizabeth Gilbert's in Eat, Pray, Love. To find out what Serena is up to, check out her blog and follow her on Twitter