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Maxwell Senior Francis Tang Honored by Overseas Press Club Foundation

April 18, 2023

The political science and international relations major hopes to bring ‘meaningful news to readers across the world.’

Francis Tang came to Syracuse University from his home in Chongqing, China, in 2019 to study political science and international relations at the Maxwell School. He says he was drawn to the rigorous teaching and research opportunities, the school spirit and the tight-knit community.

Richard Chang Francis Tang
Francis Tang, a senior majoring in political science and international relations at the Maxwell School, is shown with Richard J Chang ’21 B.A. (PSc), a general assignment reporter for Forbes in New York City. While still a student, Chang was Tang’s editor at The Daily Orange; he accompanied Tang to receive an award from the Overseas Press Club Foundation.  Photo by Will Rowan

Now a senior, Tang says what he has most appreciated, “are the infinite opportunities I could explore.”

Case-in-point: Though he’s never taken a journalism course at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Tang was easily welcomed into the fold at The Daily Orange (D.O.) student newspaper in his sophomore year. He quickly found friends, mentors and a passion for reporting the news. His experiences as a writer and editor over the past two years fueled a career aspiration that if realized will put his Maxwell schooling to excellent use: He hopes to work as an international correspondent.

Tang will soon get a taste of that career, thanks to an honor awarded by the Overseas Press Club Foundation. He recently received the organization’s David R. Schweisberg Scholarship, named for a journalist who established the United Press International bureau in Beijing and two years later delivered important dispatches, under the threat of censorship and arrest, from the Tiananmen Square student uprising.

The scholarship brings membership to the press club and covers travel and living expenses for interns in foreign bureaus at news organizations including the Associated Press and Reuters, and at foreign English-language media companies like the South China Morning Post and Cambodia Daily.

Tang is looking for internship and fellowship opportunities in Tokyo and full-time reporting positions in the U.S. “My dream is to bring meaningful news to readers across the world, and to shed light on global events that could resonate with readers anywhere,” says Tang, who is the first University student to receive an Overseas Press Club award since 1999. “I feel both humbled and honored to be among this prestigious cohort this year, and I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to connect with so many media professionals that I wouldn’t be able to meet otherwise.”

In addition to his work with The D.O., Tang has taken advantage of numerous opportunities to network, gain new experiences and help others. He served as a research assistant for the Syracuse Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Engagement for two summers, volunteered as a student ambassador and peer mentor, was president of Kendo Club and was a senior intern with the office of admissions. He is also a resident advisor and a member of Pi Sigma Alpha.

The experiences have helped Tang diversify the topics he writes about, and he says his political science and international relations majors have helped him to better understand the things he has reported on as a student journalist.

“I'm grateful for the education I received from Maxwell, and so I am thankful for the tremendous support I received from people at Newhouse, other SU colleges and departments,” he says.

He is especially thankful to Margarita Estévez-Abe, associate professor of political science and O’Hanley Faculty Scholar. “She has been my mentor and role model, and she sparked my passion in learning and researching politics of Japan—the country that I want to be covering in the future,” he says.

Tang says he’s also indebted to his former D.O. editor, Richard J Chang, who, in 2021, earned a B.A. in political science at Maxwell and in magazine, news and digital journalism at Newhouse, and is now a general assignment reporter for Forbes in New York City. Chang joined him at the awards presentation this past March.

“Being a journalist is hard, and it's probably even harder for student journalists,” says Tang. “But for me, at the end of the day, nothing else motivates me more than the validation from my peers, my readers and those who had their voices heard because of me.”

By Jewell Bohlinger

Published in the Spring 2023 issue of the Maxwell Perspective

About the Overseas Press Club

The Overseas Press Club is the nation’s oldest and largest association of journalists engaging in international news. Each year, it awards prizes devoted to international news coverage. Its mission is to uphold the highest standards in news reporting, advance press freedom and promote fellowship among colleagues while educating a new generation of journalists.

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