Yong Tang, using education to fight poverty and enrich his students’ lives
Having grown up without radio, television, newspapers, or magazines, Yong Tang chose an unlikely profession. His achievement of being named among the top fifty journalism professors in 2012 by journalismdegree.org proves just how far he has come.
Born in a remote village in Sichuan Province, China, the Penn State University Graduate Fellow fought poverty to become an accomplished professor of journalism and mass media law at Western Illinois University. Yong obtained his second doctoral degree in mass communications from Penn State and won the top faculty paper award from the Law and Policy Division of AEJMC (the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication). Before teaching, he worked for more than a decade as an award-winning journalist at the People's Daily, the largest and most politically influencial newspaper in the People’s Republic of China.
From 2004 to 2007 Yong worked in Washington, D.C., as a residential correspondent for the People's Daily. During that time, he interviewed many high-ranking government officials, Fortune 500 company leaders, Ivy League presidents, prominent leaders in academia, media, sports, entertainment, and many other fields. Such face-to-face and one-on-one interviews included: former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Utah Governor and U.S. Ambassador to China Jon M. Huntsman, Washington Post Managing Editor Philip Bennett, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, Yale University President Richard Levin, Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman, and General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner.
Yong believes strongly in the value of education, including the doctoral education he received at Penn State. It was education that brought him out of poverty. It is education that has taken him to different parts of the world. It is education that transformed him from a village boy into a professional journalist and again into an inspiring communications scholar. He wants his students (especially those living in poverty) to be successful in their lives just as he has been.