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T-Squared: The Trib’s Next Great Reporter

Thanh Tan, a star in the PBS constellation, will join our staff on Monday, Feb. 7, stepping into the multiplatform reporter position that will be vacated in early February by Elise Hu.

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It gives me enormous pleasure to announce that Thanh Tan will join the staff of the Trib on Monday, Feb. 7, stepping into the multiplatform reporter position that will be vacated in early February by Elise Hu.

Thanh comes to us from Idaho Public Television in Boise, where she has built a reputation as that state’s premier practitioner of public interest journalism. For more than two years, Thanh has hosted, produced, booked and written Idaho Reports, the longest-running public affairs program in the West (the hour-long program features original reporting, interviews, field tapings and roundtable discussions with analysts). She has anchored live coverage of major political events in Idaho — the inauguration of state officials, the governor’s State of the State address — and moderated debates between candidates for statewide office. She has covered two legislative sessions and part of a third. She has led the station’s foray into social media. She has enthusiastically adapted broadcast content for an online audience. She has worked closely and collaboratively with Idaho’s public radio stations. For good measure, she has also been an occasional contributor to both the NewsHour on PBS and This American Life on NPR.

For her efforts over the years, Thanh has won a regional Emmy Award, four Capitol Beat Awards (which honor the best statewide reporting), and numerous Idaho Press Club awards and Idaho State Broadcaster Association awards.

Previously, Thanh was a general assignment reporter at KATU-TV in Portland, covering everything from crime to the 2008 presidential election, and before that she was both a general assignment reporter and a political reporter at KBCI-TV in Boise.

A native of Olympia, Wash., Thanh is an honors graduate of the University of Southern California with degrees in international relations and broadcast journalism. During college, she interned for various local TV stations as well as NPR and Nightline. After college, she freelanced for NPR and CNN.

“I’ve wanted to be a journalist since I was a little girl,” she wrote me several weeks ago. “I toyed with other professional aspirations, but something about storytelling always brought me back to the concept of news reporting. I like to know what’s going on — and I like to tell people. It’s as simple as that.”

I must admit that Elise’s departure knocked us back a bit, but meeting Thanh and contemplating her addition to our staff gave everyone at the Trib a feeling of great optimism and got us excited all over again about building the team. We can’t wait to incorporate her high energy and boundless ambition into our emerging journalistic culture. She’s a natural, and she’ll be the latest in a long line of got-here-as-fast-as-she-could types to take the Capitol by storm.

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