BY TYLER SIPE
Talented journalist and producer. Passionate community volunteer. Dedicated mother to two children. And now a proud U.S. citizen!
Producer Susan Han’s career in local journalism spans nearly 30 years. Her drive to inform the public, engage citizens and generate public debate has never diminished. But it wasn’t until last month, that Susan took the oath of U.S. citizenship. The milestone comes after living and working in the country since 1987. Born in London and raised in Singapore, Susan came to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, where she studied journalism.
A six-time Emmy-Award winning journalist, Susan worked at KING-TV and KCTS9 before joining Seattle Channel in 2007 to produce the weekly public-affairs program City Inside/Out. She also helped launch a special on aging and age-friendly resources and produced Community Stories features about the Tsue Chong Company, the state’s oldest noodle and fortune cookie factory, and Lucy Lopez, the grandmother of Mexican food in Seattle.
Susan opens up about why she finally pursued citizenship and looks back on some of the most meaningful stories she’s told at Seattle Channel.
How did growing up in Singapore shape who you are as a journalist?
I left the United Kingdom as a young child, and Singapore’s press was government-controlled when I was growing up, so that’s how I ended up studying journalism at the University of Washington. I quickly came to appreciate the significance of the freedom of the press in the U.S. and the right to question authority. I think having grown up elsewhere has also given me a broader international perspective and reference point when I look at current events and local issues.
How long have you lived in the U.S.? And what spurred you to get your citizenship after all these years?
I came from Singapore in September 1987 to attend the UW and have been in Seattle ever since! I knew eventually I would apply to become a U.S. citizen, but the current political climate made my family anxious for me to speed up those plans.
What Seattle Channel show or feature are you most proud to have worked on?
Wow, I’m frankly really proud of most of the projects I’ve worked on at the Seattle Channel! I’ve appreciated the opportunity to work on many shows over the last 12 years. Taking on a different topic in-depth every week like we do on City Inside/Out can be tough when we have a such small team. (Susan produces the show with host Brian Callanan and editor/photographer Matt Peterson). But it’s wonderful when it comes together and we can present a show that informs fairly and accurately, in a format that gives more perspective than most television outlets today.
We work really hard to balance out the pro and con views that we present on the show, and it’s always an honor when our interviewees trust us to tell their stories and to represent any given issue fairly. The Emmy we won last year was for a show we did on the controversy over safe injection sites, and we were fortunate that two families – on opposing sides of the issue – trusted us to share their stories of losing a loved one to an opioid overdose.
When you have or host visitors, what is your top Seattle attraction you take them to?
I love bringing our visitors to Pike Place Market for lunch and local souvenirs!
What’s your favorite American tradition?
Thanksgiving! We always host Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends, and it’s a wonderful time to reconnect with each other, cook together and be grateful!