Linda Yu’s incredible journey: “Story by story”
November 22nd, 2016
Linda Yu signs off Wednesday after 37 years in broadcast news in Chicago.
It’s a long time for any career but especially so in the fast-paced world of broadcast journalism. How did she keep going? “Day by day, hour by hour, story by story,” Yu told me during a break from packing up her office.
Media writer Robert Feder describes Yu as “the epitome of grace, poise and professionalism on Chicago television news.”
Yu immigrated with her family from China when she was just 5 and only spoke Mandarin. She would go on to graduate from the University of Southern California and work in smaller markets before landing in Chicago in 1979, becoming the first Asian American news anchor in Chicago. She started at NBC’s WMAQ-Channel 5 before moving to ABC’s WLS-Channel 7 in 1984.
Yu’s been a mainstay, able to handle breaking stories with ease due in part to her institutional knowledge about the city.
She’s also an accomplished reporter. Viewers may remember the series that had her traveling to China to visit her childhood home.
Yu’s mother’s family came from royalty and her father’s side was in Christian ministry. “Had we stayed, I could have suffered because of my family background. I think about how blessed I am to have grown up in this country.” She still tears up at hearing the Star-Spangled Banner.
“It took months to get through the letters people wrote–they wrote then. They were inspired to take their children there,” she says of the reaction to her reporting.
Yu also has focused on issues related to young people. She reported on children in Northern Ireland and playground safety in Chicago.
Yu became a role model to women and Asian Americans, something she values as much as the work she did.
Now she’s looking forward to spending time with her family–she has a grown son and daughter and an “all-but-adopted” daughter. And she’s working on a book (her second), most likely about successful Chinese American women.
“It never occurred to me to stop working,” she says. “But in the last few years, maybe because age catches up or I wrote one book, I just began to realize there are things to do besides work.”