A Day in the Life of Alicia Chang

Alicia Chang is a health and science editor for The Associated Press based in New York. She joined the AP in 2000 and served as the Los Angeles–based science writer for a decade. She is a 2018 Tow-Knight entrepreneurial journalism fellow at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and was a 2015–16 Knight Science Journalism fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was the 2009 recipient of the Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for young science journalists. Follow her on Twitter @SciWriAlicia.

Alicia ChangDamian Dovarganes

Alicia Chang

What I’m working on:

I’m juggling three multimedia projects:

Science Says digs into the latest evidence and understanding about health and science issues.

Genetic Frontiers explores the possibilities and potential pitfalls of gene testing and genetic manipulation.

Overcoming Opioids chronicles efforts to climb out of the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history.


Where I work: 

I recently transferred from the AP’s Los Angeles bureau to the new headquarters in lower Manhattan near the World Trade Center. I ride the free Staten Island Ferry to work. It’s my Zen moment, a time to daydream.

I downsized when I moved back to the East Coast, so my desk is rather sparse. I still have my outdated periodic-table mouse pad and old press credentials.

My workspace is decorated with my toddler’s doodles. It’s important for me to feel at home at work.

I sit near the “fishbowl,” a floor-to-ceiling glass conference room where the morning news meetings are held. When I’m not in the fishbowl pitching stories, I’m eavesdropping.

 

Alicia Chang

 

Daily routine:

I help direct news coverage, shepherd projects, and handle digital presentation and social promotion.

Every day is unpredictable. Some days I’m consumed with line editing spot news. Other days I’m focused on enterprise. I’m fortunate to work with some of the smartest and most creative journalists in the business.

A good day is when I move a story or two on the wire, make progress on a feature, and squeeze in some strategic planning.

Most productive part of my day:

7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Inspiration occasionally strikes after happy hour.

Most essential ritual or habit:

I make French press coffee for my morning commute. There’s nothing more blissful than being on the water sipping hot coffee and catching the sunrise over the Verrazano Bridge.

 

Morning commuteAlicia Chang

Morning commute.

 

Mobile device:

iPhone (not the X)

Computer:

I have a Dell laptop from work.

Essential software/apps/productivity tools:

I can’t live without my reporter’s notebooks. I have one for keeping track of spot coverage and another for enterprise planning. I’m constantly writing reminders to myself on sticky notes (the more colorful the better). And of course, I can’t forget my marker to cross off my to-do list.

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Favorite time waster/procrastination habit:

I like plugging in random destinations in Google Flights and imagining all the places I can go.

My reading habits: 

I read every chance I get. At work I leaf through print editions of the major dailies. I scan Twitter for health and science news. I also read journal articles.

On my ferry ride home, I catch up on magazines or books that I raid from my bookshelf. I’m currently reading Joan Didion’s Salvador. 

I carve out time in the evening to read to my toddler.

Sleep schedule:

Early to bed and early to rise on weekdays; anything goes on the weekend.

 

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